Buttery Steamed Kitchari | Khichuri

Steaming brings a different characteristic to kitchari

You can make kitchari in many ways – in a slow over overnight, in a rice cooker, using a pressure cooker, in a thermos too indeed, in a normal manner on the stove top in a saucepan. You can even steam it.

Yes, Kitchari can be made by steaming. Reading Vasant Lad’s book on Ayurveda for Self Healing this morning, I thought I might make some kitchari as we are eating very lightly for a week. The results are amazing – buttery and divine.

It takes a while to cook, so put it on early, while you are pottering around, doing yoga or catching up on ironing. It can be made in your Rice Cooker if it has a steam setting. Using the rice cooker that I have, it takes 2.5 cups water (more, if you like a soft, moist kitchari) and I cook it for 2 hours. Ponni rice is another alternative to Sona Masori (both available at Indian groceries), or use any commonly available short grain rice or use basmati.

Similar recipes include Moraiya Kitchari with Yoghurt, Ven Pongal, and Cracked Wheat and Mung Kitchari.

You can browse all of our Kitchari recipes here, and our Rice recipes. Explore our Ayurvedic recipes. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Indian Essentials: Explaining Common Indian Ingredients and Techniques

There are several Indian ingredients and techniques that you might not be familiar with.

Bazaar Dal Makhani | Heat in The Kitchen

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Indian Essentials: Why Ghee Should Not be Called Clarified Butter in Recipes

Technically, ghee is a type of clarified butter. But it’s not just any old type of clarified butter: all milk solids (including lactose) and moisture must be removed before it can become ghee. Clarified butter that still retains some moisture and milk solids is not ghee.

Often Indian recipes will call for clarified butter when ghee is required. This is misleading – let me explain why.

Although technically Ghee is a type of clarified butter,  much confusion arises from equating ghee with clarified butter. This is because the term clarified butter is broadly associated with the French version of the same which is clarified for seconds (whereas ghee is clarified for 10 – 20 minutes). If we read the need for clarified butter in a recipe, we assume the French version, beurre clarifié, which is utterly tasteless compared with ghee, and is different in colour and in medicinal properties. Ghee is cooked longer until the milk solids to brown and all moisture has evaporated. The resulting flavour is more nutty and toasty compared to that of clarified butter. It also means ghee contains no water, so it’s almost spoil-proof – it will last about a year.

Beurre Noisette or brown butter is closer to ghee than clarified butter. Brown butter is heated until the milk solids separate and toast. If the butter is not mixed during and after cooking it will separate into 2 layers, the top layer is close to ghee, the bottom the toasted brown milk solids. But ghee takes this clarification process much much further driving off all water and cooking the solids until very dark. Only the oil is left.

Note that the three butters mentioned here – ghee, beurre noisette and beurre clarifié – are not interchangeable. Tastes vary considerably.

You might also enjoy reading What is Ghee and How to Make Ghee.  If you are exploring cooking with ghee you will enjoy How to make a Tadka.

Are you looking for recipes that use Ghee? Try Buttery Steamed Rice, Kampung Ghee Rice, and Mung Dal with Ghee (Neyyum Parippum). Check for others here.

All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here.

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Kampung Ghee Rice | Malaysian Village Rice

A warming, fragrant, beautiful rice for cool days.

Ghee and rice go together so well. Ghee Fried Rice is a Malaysian dish that is often called Kampung Ghee Rice. Kampung refers to its rustic village origins. This is a wonderfully fragrant rice, lighting up your whole house with its warm spice fragrance. I was first introduced to the recipe by my friend and cook extraordinaire Franz. Thanks Franz.

You might like to browse our rice recipes here. Our favourite is South Indian Coconut Rice. Or explore the S. E. Asian recipes here. And find inspiration in our Spring recipes here.

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Neyyum Parippum | Mung Dal with Ghee | A Favourite of Kerala

Mung dal laden with ghee. Delicious, and a dish suitable for Ganesha Chaturthi.

Mung Dal with Ghee is a gentle dal, sweet and delicious, and a particular favourite in this house. It is a dish from Kerala, and I had eaten it often there.

Are you looking for similar Mung recipes? We recommend Mung Dal with Coconut, Mung Dal with Ghee and Spices, Mung Dal with Cumin and Spinach and ISKON Mung Dal. Also try Mung and Red Lentil Dal.

Are you looking for recipes from Kerala? Try Cooking in Kerala, Olan, Ladyfinger (Okra) Masala, and Carrot Thoran.

Explore all of our recipes using Mung, and all of our Kerala dishes. Ghee features strongly in these recipe.  You might like to browse our Indian recipes. Be inspired by our Early Spring recipes.

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Indian Essentials: What is a Tadka? | Indian Spice Tempering

A tadka is a mixture of spices fried off in ghee or coconut oil.


Almost every savoury dish in India is tempered – that is, spices bloomed in oil are added either at the beginning of the cooking or more usually at the end of cooking. A little oil or ghee is heated and then the relevant spices are added and cooked until they change colour, pop or crackle. Sometimes small amounts of lentils such as channa dal or urad dal are added for flavouring and texture.

How is this tempering done? By heating an oil – usually ghee in my kitchen – and adding the relevant spices, one by one, until they change colour, crackle or pop.

Although the basic concept of tempering is the same all over India, each region, every family, and every dish, has its own distinctive set of spices that are used and the method used, and of course each family claims that theirs is the best way to temper food! And of course, it is.

Different areas have different names for tempering, e.g. Tadka / Talimpu / Chaunk.

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Indian Essentials: What is Ghee?

Ghee is butter that has been so well clarified that it can even be used for deep frying.


Ghee is butter that has been so well clarified that it can even be used for deep frying. It no longer contains milk solids, and so refrigeration is not necessary. To make it, put 500g unsalted butter in a pan over low heat and let it simmer very gently until the milky solids turn brownish and cling to the sides of the pot or else fall to the bottom. The time this takes will depend on the amount of water in the butter. Watch carefully towards the end and do not let it burn. Strain the ghee through a triple layer of cheesecloth. Homemade ghee can be stored in the fridge but is equally as good on The Kitchen Bench.

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Indian Essentials: How to Make Ghee | Nature’s Fabulous Food

Ghee is said to be the essence of a cow – first the cow produces milk, then cream is made from the milk. The best of the milk is extracted to make butter and then the best of the butter extracted to make ghee. How close to “essence of cow” is that!

I have been making ghee for myself and others since around 2000. It does take a few practice attempts to perfect, but once you have done it you will never buy ghee again. It is quite different.

All it requires is butter and mindfulness – it does need to be watched continually. The end point tricky to judge the first couple of times that you make it. But after that, you are a pro. It takes about 30 minutes all up. The amount of time that it takes depends on the amount of water in the butter, and different brands of butter will take different times.

Feel free to browse our Indian recipes here. Or try recipes using ghee here. Our Spring recipes are here.

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