Rediscovering a wonderful ceramic oven dish with lid, it was put to use cooking another kitchari, this time made with red rice. Most Indian and some Asian groceries will stock red rice. Red rice is a very healthy rice – I use Rosa Matta rice from Kerala, but there are several different varieties.
This kitchari originates from Korea, but I have made it more Indian than Korean. It is not a traditional Indian kitchari, but is very tasty, and can be cooked on the stove top, in the oven or in a slow cooker.
Kitchari is made in different ways in different parts of India, sometimes it’s made thin and soupy, sometimes a little thicker like a porridge, in some parts it’s made almost like a pulao. It depends on the rice used, and also amount of water you add, the cooking time and the amount of water that can evaporate from you cooking pan whilst cooking. Also different lentils can be used in kitchari, although the most common is mung dal as it is the most digestible dal.
In homes in South India, mostly a short grained rice is used, like sona masoori, is used to give a porridge like consistency, but Ayurveda has adopted the long grained basmati rice, as it is a more digestible rice. Long grained rice is also more common in North India, and gives a more pulao-like result. This recipe uses a red rice. You can vary its cooking time and method to be more like a pulao, but can also be cooked to be porridge like or soup like.
Urad and Red Rice Kitchari
I use my favourite Rosa Matta Rice but any red rice or lightish brown rice will do. Cook it on the stove top for a couple of hours or so, adding water as required. Or cook it in the Slow Cooker for 8 – 10 hours.
An alternative method is to cook it in the oven – use boiling water on the rice and Dal, then cooked it at 125C for around 2 – 3 hours. Added salt to it, stir, put the lid back on and let it sit for 20 mins. Urad Dal is best with a soupy consistency, so you can keep this Kitchari thin and soupy – although I quite like it cooked to a little thicker consistency also.
To make a tadka, heat ghee in a small pan or wok/kadhai. Add the mustard seeds and allow to pop. Add the remaining ingredients in the order given, allowing just a moment between adding each one. Then pour the ghee and spices onto the dish.
Gorgeous for breakfast or any time. It can be garnished with coriander leaves and some grated coconut.
Remember that a cup of rice makes a lot of kitchari. Halve the recipe if you are not feeding a crowd.
The Matta rice loses its red colour on cooking and takes on the colour of the turmeric.
Use either whole or split Urad. Stick to white whole or split for a pale colour. Unhulled urad in either form will darken the kitchari.
Add finely diced tomatoes to the kitchari.
I added grated ginger and curry leaves to the tadka.
The final consistency can be anywhere from thin and soupy to thick – it is your choice. Just add water and mix until your desired consistency is reached. The kitchari will also thicken on standing.
With left over kitchari, make a chickpea flour batter, grate some parmesan and mix it in, then mix in the left over Kitchadi. Put large tablespoons of the mixture into a pan and left them to sizzle.
They make great fritter-patties, crispy on the outside with rice goodness yummy in the middle. A can of creamed corn and some finely chopped herbs could be added. With a salad its a great meal.