Brown Paper Packages Tied up With String…
You’re almost singing it aren’t you? No? Well you must be less than 40 years old. I do get asked about my favourite things, food-wise, quite often. A nicely cooked khichari for breakfast would have to be one of them.
A M wrote:
“I came upon your nice web site while doing a Google search. One thing I cook up quite often when I’m tired, or just in the mood for simple, good food is khichari.
I agree with what you say on your web site about it being one of the most economical, simple, and nutritious meals to prepare. But I am used to making khichari with rice and dal only. I have seen khichari made with lots of veggies. Could you send me a recipe?”
Well you know you can just add any vegies you like to khichari and it really shines. My favourites are peas, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, tomato, sweet potato spinach and my favourite, broccoli. Here’s a recipe of mine:
Hearty One-pot Melange of Mung Beans, Rice & Vegetables (Khichari)
Khichari (pronounced “kitch-eri”) is such an important dish for vegetarians that I have included a different recipe for it in each of my cookbooks. The flavoursome, juicy stew of mung beans, rice and vegetables is both nutritious and sustaining. It can be served anytime a one-pot meal is required You can practically live on khichari, and in fact, some people do. I eat it accompanied by a little yogurt, some whole-wheat toast, lemon or lime wedges and topped with a drizzle of melted ghee. Bliss! Serves 4-6.
½ cup split mung beans, washed and drained
6 cups water
1 bay leaf
1.5cm (½-inch) chunk ginger, chopped fine
1 small green chili, seeded and chopped
½ teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 cup Thai rice, or other long grain rice of your choice
1 packed cup each broccoli, potato cubes and quartered Brussels sprouts, or vegetables of your choice
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1½ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons ghee or oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
small handful curry leaves
½ teaspoon yellow asafetida powder
½ cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
wedges of lemon, some chilled yogurt, and extra ghee for serving
Bring to a boil in a saucepan the mung beans, water, bay leaf, ginger, chili, turmeric and coriander, then reduce to a simmer, and cook, partially covered, for about 15 minutes, or until the beans start to break up.
Add the rice, vegetables, tomatoes and salt, increase the heat, and stirring, bring to a boil, then return to a simmer, covered. Cook, stirring occasionally, for another 10-15 minutes, or until the rice is soft.
Season: heat the ghee in a small saucepan over moderate heat. Sprinkle in the cumin seeds, fry until a few shades darker, and add the curry leaves – careful, they crackle. Sprinkle in the yellow asafetida powder, swirl the pan and empty the fried seasonings into the khichari. Stir the seasonings through, then return to a simmer and cook for another 5 minutes or so, or until the rice is fully swollen and soft. If you desire a moist khichari, add a little boiling water now.
Serve: fold in the fresh coriander, and serve the khichari piping hot with a drizzle of warm ghee, a big bowl of karhi and/ or the accompaniments suggested above.