Khichari (Soothing Dal and Rice)
PJ has been cooking a lot lately, just because he wants to. The fact that he wants to cook, after a 10-12 hour day at work, says a lot about the kinda guy I married. He made us khichari the other day, not because anyone was sick. He just wanted to give it a try. Khichari, like PJ, is a keeper.
Khichari is Indian chicken soup. It is very nutritious, easy to digest and apparently cures just about everything. This recipe is adapted from Heaven’s Banquet, Vegetarian Cooking the Ayurveda Way by Miriam Kasin Hospadar.
We decided to leave the mustard seeds out in the future. They disturb the smooth texture by adding a bit of grittiness; not to mention leaving black spots which disturb our five year old’s aesthetic sensibilities. Plus if you reheat the khichari in the microwave, the seeds seem to burn and create a distracting–although not entirely unpleasant–smoky flavor. (It’s probably counterproductive to microwave an ayurvedic food but oh well, microwaving is a way of life in this household.)
Dal and Rice
1 cup rice (basmati is called for but we are all about Uncle Ben’s converted rice)
2/3 cup moong or toor dal (easiest types of dal to digest)
5 cups water
Bring the rice, dal and water to boil. Cover, reduce heat and summer until dal is tender, all water is absorbed and mixture resembles a thick porridge (about 30 minutes with converted rice, one hour with basmati.)
2 tablespoons ghee or oil
pinch of asofoetida
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1&1/2 teaspoons cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon ground fenugreek
1 teaspoon turmeric
salt to taste
sugar to taste
optional heat: cayenne
optional garnishes: chopped fresh cilantro, green onions, minced garlic, shredded ginger
Heat the spices in ghee. Pour over the rice/dal mix and stir thoroughly. Add salt and sugar to taste. Garnish with whatever appeals. Serve to the sad or sickly. Call the doctor in the morning– if there is a need. Or just eat it because it tastes good.
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