Making rice with veggies is so easy, and can be made with whatever is in the fridge. This is my general method for making Kitchari with cracked wheat and vegetables. Today the vegetable is roasted cauliflower. The cauliflower melts into the kitchari, leaving a beautiful creamy texture and flavour.
This delicious variation on kitchari is made with rice, burgul (broken wheat) and Mung Beans with roasted cauliflower.
Cauliflower, Mung Bean and Broken Wheat Kitchari
First, roast some cauliflower. This can be done either in the oven, or on the stovetop. Cut half a cauliflower into bite sized pieces and toss with some oil. For the oven, place in a large pan in a single layer and roast at 200C for 30 mins or so until just roasted and still a little firm. For the stovetop, place the cauliflower in a large pan over medium heat. Put the lid on loosely and allow to cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 – 25 mins until just roasted and still a little firm.
Next, cook your kitchari in a large rice cooker or on the stove top. For the rice cooker, place about 3/4 cup rice, 1/2 cup split mung dal and 1/2 cup burgul. Add your roasted cauliflower, as much as you want. Add sufficient water according to your rice cooker instructions then add a little more for a kitchari result – for mine this is 5 cups for this amount. Add a little ghee to the rice, about 0.5 Tblspn.
If making the kitchari on the stovetop, add the ingredients with 6 cups of water to a large pan.
Add your spices and flavourings. I suggest a cinnamon stick and a little crushed coriander seed with a dried red chilli. But it can be more complex. See some examples below.
If you can, let the rice and dal soak for 30 mins or an hour before turning it on. If you are in a rush you can skip over this step.
Turn on the rice cooker, or simmer the kitchari on the stove for 35 – 40 mins until the rice is very soft and the water is mostly absorbed. Check the water level half way through and top up with boiling water if necessary. Apart from this one time, do not life the lid at any other time until the kitchari is cooked.
When the rice is cooked, add a tablespoon of ghee and stir through the kitchadi. Taste for salt and add as necessary. Cover the rice cooker or saucepan again and let it sit, keeping warm, for 10 mins.
Garnish with lots of chopped green coriander. Serve and enjoy. Maybe add some pickles on the side.
recipe notes – spice and flavouring alternatives and variations
Add, if you wish and have it at hand, a little garlic-ginger paste. Add some spice -a little home made spice mix, or use garam masala or some sambar powder. Alternatively, if you care to, add a bay leaf and some black cardamom.
Add some dark chilli jam if you like to increase the spice. I also added one home-dehydrated lemon slice (I am in love with these slices!), or a squeeze of lemon juice.
Or saute in ghee and add to the rice: 1 tspn cumin seed, 1/2 tspn ajwain seeds (if you have them), 1/2 tspn fenugreek seeds and 1/4 tspn fennel seeds. When the seeds are beginning to brown, add a pinch of asafoetida, a dried red chilli (broken in 2) and 6 or 8 curry leaves.
Or simply leave as it is, it is gently flavoursome and delightful.
variations to add after cooking
Add 1 small spring onion (scallion), sliced, and perhaps a finely choppped, juicy tomato.
Or if you want a non-traditional-Indian result, leave out all of the spices and add grated cheese and stir through.
Forgo roasting the cauliflower and add the raw cauliflower directly to the rice cooker or saucepan.
Leftover roasted cauliflower can be used in salads.