Creamy Lentils and Rice (khicheri) Recipe

Another Anjum Anand recipe – shocking, isn’t it?

In my Internet travels this morning, I discovered Is My Blog Burning? made a massive overhaul to the site design. It’s so much easier to use when finding blog events and now offers forums/foodie search engine. I noticed Cook Sister! is hosting this month’s Waiter, there’s something in my … food event and it’s focused on Pulses (i.e. legumes). It reminded me of an Anjum recipe I wanted to try, so I decided to whip it up for lunch today and to submit it for the food blog event.

The dish is called Khicheri and is a common Indian dish, a porridge-like dish made of rice and lentils. It’s healthy and easy on the digestive system, often used for both the elderly and young, as well as part of a detoxification diet. Eating this dish as every meal for 3 days is said to cleanse and purify your body.

The recipe can be found on the BBC website and I’ve posted the ingredients below with my instructions.

Khicheri
35g/ 1 1/4 oz white basmati rice
35g/ 1 1/4 oz mung beans/lentils
1 rounded tsp ghee (or butter)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 green chilli, whole
1/2 tsp chopped fresh ginger
1/2 garlic clove, minced
salt, to taste
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
400ml/14fl oz water
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Begin by rinsing your rice and lentils until the water runs clear. Cover with water and soak for 30 minutes, then drain. I buy my dried legumes in bulk and when I have only a small quantity left, I throw them into a common jar. It creates a mixed lot of legumes that I eventually toss into a soup. I dipped into my jar for this dish and used a mix of lentils and split peas.

Heat a pan over medium heat and melt the ghee/butter. Add cumin and toast for 20 seconds or until they begin to change color. Add onion, garlic, ginger, and chilli (just toss the whole chilli into the pan). Cook until onions begin to turn translucent. Add water and turmeric, simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

The ingredients will thicken as the rice and lentils cook to form a risotto/porridge-like consistency. Stir in garam masala and pepper to finish. Makes 1 serving, about 1 cup.

Since the peas have a slightly longer cooking time than lentils, they were a tad al dente but I didn’t mind. Adding a bit more water and cooking for a few extra minutes would have resolved this.

I served with a bit of fresh cilantro and an extra pinch of garam masala on top. The kicheri is creamy and wonderfully flavorful. The chilli pepper adds a nice spicy heat that fills your mouth. I found it to be a pleasant level of spice, not too much but enough to warm things up! It made for a perfect sized lunch, filling yet not too heavy. I always feel satisfied after eating food with plenty of spice.

I can see how khicheri could be used to detoxify the body. While I realize a single serving may not erase my poor eating habits this past week, I certainly hope it’s enough to negate the 1/2 roll of Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies I had for breakfast :-)



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7 comments

  1. I’m really enjoying this whole series you’re doing on Indian cooking Allen. This looks wonderful anad I like the creamy consistency of the dish.

  2. “I always feel satisfied after eating food with plenty of spice.”
    Are, you are like me then!

    This is great! I’m not intimidated at all by the ingredient list (‘cept the garam masala… again). Thanks also for the substitution with mung beans. I don’t think I’ve seen lentils outside a health food shop here. (unless they have a different name I’m not aware of.)

    Excellent tip with the collective bean jar! I can imagine you serving it to your guests. “Tonight we’ll be having surplus bean soup!”

  3. Peter G: Glad you’re enjoying it – more to come.

    Peter M: Thanks – I love creamy textured foods too.

    Manggy: Haha — ‘surplus bean soup’ … that’s pretty much what it is :-) I like things when they’re a mix and not all uniformly the same. The split peas added a nice bit of color to the dish.

    Clare: Thank you!

  4. Oh that looks wonderful – creamy and indulgent yet wholesome! Beautiful pictures too – thanks so much for participating in WTSIM this month :)

  5. Mmmmm, khicheri, the ultimate comfort food! I love it with a spoonful or two of mango or lime pickle.

    We usually throw a potato and a few brown mustard seeds into our khicheri too.

    -Elizabeth

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