Khichuri (Rice and lentils dish)

    Khichuri (Rice and lentils dish)

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    About this recipe: This is my mum and dad's recipe, which is an old Indian favourite very popular in West Bengal during monsoon. It is traditionally eaten as warm comfort food on dark rainy days. Very easy to make and goes well with most things, including chips! Although you can make it with white rice, I use brown as it's healthier and suits my dietary requirements. The timing is not exact but it will take however long it takes to cook depending on the type of rice used.

    London, England, UK

    Ingredients
    Serves: 4 

    • 180g rice (preferably brown)
    • 190g split red lentils
    • 1 scant teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 2 fresh green chillies
    • a drizzle of oil (olive, sunflower or vegetable)
    • 1 teaspoon panch phoron (Indian five-spice mix)
    • 1 fresh red chilli
    • Optional additions
    • chopped carrots, small cauliflower florets, okra, diced potatoes, etc.
    • pinch of jeera (cumin seeds)
    • 1 sprig of fresh coriander per plate
    • naan bread or poppadoms to serve

    Method
    Prep:15min  ›  Cook:45min  ›  Ready in:1hr 

    1. Wash rice and lentils in water several times to get rid of dust and starch until water runs clear.
    2. Fill a pan with fresh water to cover the rice and lentils by about 1-2 inches. Put on heat to bring to the boil.
    3. While cooking, add 1 small teaspoon of salt, 1 small teaspoon of turmeric, the green chillies and any veg you want to add to the pan. The turmeric will give the dish its traditional vibrant yellow colouring.
    4. When boiling, turn down the heat a fraction and let simmer until the rice and lentils are soft and mushy. This may take about 20 to 30 minutes depending on the rice. Use a spoon to skim off any foam that appears on the top of the pan whilst simmering.
    5. In a separate frying pan put some oil in and 1 teaspoon of panch phoron (5 spice mix with mustard, fenugreek etc, which you can find in any Indian grocer). Add the red chilli too and cook until hot. This creates a type of simple sauce (or "sambar") for additional spicy flavouring.
    6. Add the panch phoron/chili mix to the saucepan and stir in. When the dal and rice are soft and mushy turn off the heat - this won't take long with white rice but may take slightly longer with brown.
    7. At the same time, start preparing your accompanying pieces eg: fry some chips and/or okra in a pan with some oil, salt and jeera, until done, (or steam some asparagus as in the photo).
    8. Serve up a big plateful of Khichuri with a mix of the chips and fried okra on the side and a crunchy poppadom or two. (My dad adds Walkers crisps to his plate!) Add a sprig of coriander on top for decoration.

    Other ideas

    Although this dish is veggie, there's no reason you can't add small cooked prawns or a seafood mix to the pan with the veg for a bit of interest (though I have not tried this yet).

    Serving suggestion

    This dish will make a nice starter to an Indian meal, or can be served as a main meal for lunch or casual dinner with friends.

    Make it healthier

    I have labelled this dish as "anti-candida" and "sugar-free". This is when it's used with brown rice, (not white).

    Other ideas

    If you don't like mustard seeds or the panch phoron mix you can leave it out. It will make it less spicy but no less nice to eat.

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    Reviews (1)

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    Found this recipe quite bland even though I added more spices, onion, garlic etc. - 29 Sep 2013

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