Kichadi is essentially a dish made with rice and lentils. There are so many versions of this dish and it is comfort food in a way – because it is simple, easy to prepare and so creamy. Incidentally kichadi is one of the first solid foods babies eat. My version, of course is a spicy one and makes for a very convenient, one pot dish.
300 grams Basmati rice, rinsed well
100 grams mung dhal, rinsed well
150 grams onions, peeled and finely sliced
300 grams medium potatoes, quartered or into eighths
200 grams carrots, peeled and cut into 4 centimetre batons
5 centimetres ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 -2 green chillies slit (optional)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 stick of cinnamon, bashed lightly or cut in half
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ to 1 teaspoon chilli powder
Salt to taste
Using a mortar and pestle, make a paste with ginger and garlic.
Select a large sauté pan, preferably non-stick with a lid. Heat ghee on medium heat. When hot, add the cumin seeds, cinnamon and cloves. Stir to prevent burning and when cumin seeds crackle, add the onions.
After about three minutes of frying the onions, add the ginger and garlic paste along with the green chillies, if using. Fry for a few minutes until you start to smell the aroma of the spices. Stir in the turmeric and chilli powder adjusting the heat so as not to burn the spices.
Mix in the rice and mung dhal and fry for a further three minutes until the rice is coasted with the spices. Add the vegetables, salt and pour in 600mls of hot water from the top (45 – 50 degrees). Stir, cover with a lid and let it cook gently on low heat for 15 minutes.
At the end of cooking time, remove lid to assess if the rice has been fully cooked and blossomed fully. The rice should not be al dente or chalky. If it is, return to the heat, sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of water and let cook for 3-5 minutes.
Once you are satisfied with the doneness of the rice, let it rest for 5-6 minutes before lifting the lid again to serve.
Serve hot with plain yoghurt or a cucumber raita. Serves 4 as a main meal.
You can use brown basmati instead of white basmati.
You can also use the orange lentils instead of mung dhal.
If you wish to make this vegan, you can use coconut oil (odourless) instead.