Khichari

Khichari (KITCH-er-ee), a nutritious and traditional Indian food for soothing diets, is simply rice and lentils cooked so thoroughly together that they make a creamy stew. This recipe makes a satisfying soup for an evening supper or a light meal, as well as a nourishing food to serve to new mothers and convalescents. If doubling the recipe, do not increase the salt, ghee, or spices. If you are using spice combinations other than the Vata Churna, it is important to include a pinch of hing (asafoetida) with the spices to aid in the digestion of the lentils. The total cooking time is about 1/2 hours.

Serves 2 to

2?/4 cups water

1 cup mung lentils, cleaned and washed 1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Vata Chuma or a blend of other spices

(such as ground coriander, licorice root powder, and ground fennel seeds), and a pinch of hing 1 cup rice

3 tablespoons ghee

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed saffron threads (optional, but omit for Pitta)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1. Bring 1/2 cups water to a boil in a 4-quart pan. Add the lentils, the salt, and the Vata Churna or other spices. Cover and bring back to a boil, then reduce the flame to very low and simmer for about an hour.

2. Add the rice, 2 tablespoons ghee, the remaining water, and the saffron. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil again. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer for half an hour. Stir frequendy to avoid sticking and add more water if it becomes too thick. Khichari should have the consistency of thick gravy. When ready to serve, heat the remaining ghee in a small pan with the cumin and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds pop, stir the spices into Khichari and serve.

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Flavour of the Week: Khichari with Chicken
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