Friday, December 12, 2014

Khichuri or Khichidi (Rice and Moong beans)

This is stick-to-your-bones kind of Indian comfort food that can easily be made on a busy weekday or if one can manage a healthy breakfast! It's vegan but packed with nutrients, protein and low-fat!

I feel blessed to be Indian, due to my inclination to vegetarianism. Though I like occasional chicken or seafood dish, its vegetarian that I crave for. Being vegetarian in India is probably the easiest than any other country. Your options go way, way beyond salad, meat substitutions or bread. All that without needing non-vegetarian broths or flavorings! 

Back to Kichidi or Kichuri, this is mildly spiced rice and mung beans dish that is ideal for a wintry day or evening! Finish it with a cup of Chai, you can rub your belly with joy! :)

The ingredient list for this is simple:
  • 1 1/2 cup Basmati or Sona Masoori rice
  • 3/4 cup Yellow mung dal (mung bean - without the green skin and halved, available in Indian grocery stores).
  • 10 cashew halves
  • 1 tbsp Jeera/Cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp black pepper corns
  • 1/2 tsp Hing or asafoetida
  • one or two sprigs Curry leaves - leaves separated
  • 1 inch ginger chopped
  • 1 - 2 cups mixed vegetables (optional)
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala powder (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 tbsp ghee for taste and flavor

Procedure to make:
  1. Wash and soak rice and mung dal for an hour. Keep aside. Though soaking is optional, the rice and dal cook well and soft if soaked.
  2. Heat oil in a 5-Quart cooking pan on medium-high heat, add hing, jeera and black pepper corns. Fry for few seconds and add cashews, curry leaves and ginger. Saute for 15 seconds and add mixed vegetables and little salt. Saute for 3-4 minutes and add about 4.5 cups of water (hot water preferred). If rice and mung dal are not soaked, use 5 cups of water.
  3. Cover and let the water boil. Uncover when the water is about to come to a boil. Let it cook for couple of minutes on medium heat.
  4. Drain rice and dal and add to the boiling water and increase heat to medium-high. Add Garam Masala powder and mix well and let it come to boil again. Reduce heat to medium and let it cook until most of the water is absorbed. 
  5. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 10 -15 minutes. Switch off the stove and wait another 5 minutes before you open the lid (the flavors need to marry and settle :))
  6. Kichuri is best enjoyed hot with either some Indian mango pickle or simply yogurt!


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Mejadra/Mujaddara/Mudadara/Mid-Eastern Lentils and Rice

From Ottolenghi and Tamimi's cookbook "Jerusalem"

You will need basmati rice, green/brown lentils, onions, all purpose flour, cumin & coriander (cilantro) seeds, all-spice, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper powders, cinnamon stick, star anise, sugar, salt to taste, oil to fry and cook.

Cook lentils in water. Bring the water to boil and then cook for about 12 minutes. Keep lentils aside.
Meanwhile, slice onions somewhat fine. Mix salt and all purpose flour to coat onions.

Heat enough oil to fry onions.  Fry onions to brown on medium heat in batches. 

Drain the onions in colander lined with paper towel.

In the same pan, take enough oil (remove if excess), fry the whole spices, add rice, powder spices, salt, sugar. Mix well to coat the rice well.

Pour hot water.

Cook until most of the water is absorbed, add drained lentils.

Cover and cook on very low flame

Serve the rice & lentils with chopped cilantro and the fried onions.:)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Oats vegetable pulao

Start with heating 3 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp ghee, add about 10 cashew halves, 5 cloves, 1 inch cinnamon stick, 4-5 cardamom pods, 1 star anise, 1 tsp jeera. Fry until aroma comes out of the spices. Add 2 cups steel cut oats, mix well and fry until oats leave nutty aroma. Add 2 cups of mixed vegetables - including onions, 5 whole green chilies (optional)and green pepper pieces, salt to taste, mix well and cook for 5 minutes. Add 1 tsp each garam masala, coriander seed powder and red chili powder (reduce quantity of red chili powder if less spiciness is preferred)

Meanwhile, bring 3 -4 cups of water to boil.  Water quantity depends in how dry the pulao is desired.

Pour the heated water over the oats and vegetables. Mix well, adjust salt, bring down the flame to low and quickly cover the pan. Cook for 10-12 minutes.

Mix gently, serve with chopped cilantro sprinkled, and any yogurt raita.