As you know, I am a sucker for a good kitchari. The best known kitchari dishes are made with rice and mung dal, but in fact it can be made with any grains and lentils cooked together. You can see a range of different ones here. Today’s version uses the delicious Urad Dal with some Red Rice.
As an aside, kitchari is often called risotto by some recipe writers/sharers. This is not accurate – kitchari might be closer to a congee even tho that also is not a great analogy. Read here to see the differences between kitchari and risotto – including that risotto is perfectly cooked rice, just a little al dente, and kitchari often over-cooks the rice to form a gorgeous porridge-like texture. This is especially true in the South of India. In the North, it can be closer to a pilau or pilaf – still a long way from a risotto.
Any red rice can be used in this recipe. I am using a Wild Red Rice (labelled Forbidden Rice in the supermarket), but red Basmati can be used or a Keralite or Sri Lankan red rice. I have also made it with an equal ratio of Urad Dal, Pongal Rice and Wild Red Rice. In a pinch, make it with any white rice in place of the red rice.
Keep in mind that urad dal has a great affinity for ghee/butter and cumin seeds. Tomatoes also. Best not to skimp on these ingredients.