Clean and wash the rice and dhal. Soak together in water just enough to cover them, and set aside till required. Drain before use.
Mince onions, ginger, curry leaves and basil leaves and set aside. Dice the tomatoes. Cut the green chilli into small pieces. Mince the cinnamon piece, crush the cardamom.
Heat a pan and add the oil (I fry everything right in the cooker itself and then add the rice and dhal).
Add mustard and let it sputter, add jeera (cumin seeds), sauté for 10 secs. Add the clove, cinnamon, cardamom and bay leaf. Sauté for 10 seconds. Add and scald the green chilli pieces (scalding is to let them discolour without becoming black or getting charred).
Add the curry leaves (they will crackle and sputter, if fresh) and then the onions.
Sauté onions till they are translucent, about 1 minute. Meanwhile, drain the rice and dhal mixture.
Add ginger, sauté for 20 seconds. Add the tomato and then the turmeric. Sauté for just 20 seconds.
Set the pressure cooker on the stove, warm it and transfer the fried items into it.
Add the drained rice and dhal, stir the mixture. Add salt, pepper and basil leaves.
Pour 4 to 5 times the volume of water as the total volume of rice and dhal. This is your secret ingredient!
Cover the cooker and let it cook for 3 whistles.
Don't open the cooker till its ready to be opened, as the cooking process will continue.
Meanwhile, break the cashew into pieces, and fry in ghee for a few seconds till the colour begins to darken. Drain and remove quickly from the pan before the cashew begins to burn and set aside.
Keep the ghee you used for frying the cashew, ready for use.
Once the cooker is opened, stir the khichdi briskly, transfer to a serving dish and pour the hot ghee over it. Add the fried cashew and garnish with the cilantro leaves.
Serve piping hot with roasted pappad.