Rice and Lentil Porridge (Kichidi)
Kichidi is a rice and lentil dish best known as a protein-packed comforting cure-all for those feeling under the weather. To this day, if I complain of a tummy ache, my mom will suggest a light and nutritious meal of kichidi and a side of plain yogurt. In India, this rice and lentil porridge dish is also a common choice for older people and babies, both of whom need light meals that don’t require chewing, go down easily and are light on the stomach. I introduced this dish to my daughter as a baby when she started eating solids, and now as toddler, she still enjoys eating this for lunch or dinner. I often make a pot of it for my daughter's school lunch, and she brings homes an empty lunch box! Depending on the amount of water added, kichidi can be cooked in different consistencies, from thin to porridge-like as I do here, to a thicker, dryer form. But remember, you don’t have to be sick, a baby or an elderly person to enjoy kichidi and yogurt…you can have this light meal anytime! Kichidi is usually made with a lesser expensive variety of plain white rice, as my grandmother would have used, because this dish is a simple porridge – not worthy of the beautiful long grains of Basmati rice or its special flavor, but you may use it if you wish!
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes + 5 minutes to rest
Refrigerator life: 3 days
Freezer life: 1 month
Reheating method: Place the refrigerated or defrosted kichidi in a microwave and stir periodically. Or, place the kichidi in a saucepan, and warm over medium-low heat, stirring periodically.
½ cup (100 g) dried, skinned and split green lentils (dhuli mung daal) (see note below) ½ cup (90 g) uncooked white Basmati rice or any plain medium to long-grained white rice 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 4 cups (1 liter) water 1 teaspoon salt
1. Place the lentils on a plate. Sift through them and remove any grit. Place the lentils and rice in a small bowl. Rinse three or four times by repeatedly filling the bowl with cold water and carefully draining off the water. It’s okay if the water is not completely clear. Pour the rice and lentils into a sieve to drain.
2. Pour the oil into a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. When the oil is heated, add the cumin seeds and let brown, about 10 seconds. Do not let the cumin seeds burn and turn black. Immediately add the lentils and rice. Stir thoroughly until all the lentils and rice are coated with the oil.
3. Add the water and salt. Stir to combine. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat. It is okay if the water gets frothy.
4. Stir and reduce the heat to medium. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover the saucepan. Simmer until the lentils are soft, while stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. The dish should have a mushy porridge-like consistency.
5. Turn off the heat. Stir and cover. Let rest for 5 minutes on the warm stove. Keep covered until ready to serve or let cool to room temperature and refrigerate or freeze for later. Enjoy!
Note on Lentils - When the whole green lentil (called mung or moong daal in Hindi) is skinned and split, it is yellow and called dhuli mung/moong daal in Hindi. It may be found at organic grocery stores and may also be called "petite golden lentils."
Recipe and photo from "Entice with Spice, Easy Indian Recipes for Busy People" by Shubhra Ramineni. Reprinted with the express permission of Tuttle Publishing. www.enticewithspice.com
Copyright 2011-2016 Shubhra Ramineni. All rights reserved.