Vegetable Kitcheri

Kitcheris (kitch-ehr-ees) are a mixture of rice and lentils cooked together. This kitcheri includes vegetables as well.

Serve Vegetable Kitcheri with any amy, or with a yogurt salad. Moong, tur and masoor dhal are available from most Indian food stores.

4-6 SERVINGS

2 teaspoons salt

8 oz. long-grain rice, washed, soaked for

30 minutes and drained

3 oz. moong dhal, washed and drained

1 oz. tur dhal, washed and drained

1 oz. masoor dhal, washed and drained

2 ½ oz. butter

2 medium-sized onions, sliced

2 green chillis, finely chopped

1-inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tablespoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon turmeric

4 oz. potatoes, weighed after peeling and cubed

4 oz. carrots, scraped and cubed

1 aubergine , cubed and degorged

4 oz. fresh green peas, weighed after shelling

½ small cauliflower, broken into flowerets

2 large tomatoes, blanched, peeled and chopped

16 fl. oz. boiling chicken stock or water

1 oz. melted butter

Half-fill a medium-sized saucepan with water. Add

½ teaspoon of the salt and bring the water to the boil over high heat. Add the rice, bring the water to the boil again and boil the rice for

3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and drain the rice. Set aside.

Half-fill the same saucepan with water again. Add

½ teaspoon of the remaining salt and bring the water to the boil. Add the dhals and bring the water to the boil again. Boil the dhals for

5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, drain the dhals and set aside.

In a large frying-pan, melt 2 ounces of the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the onions and fry, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes or until they are golden brown. Add the chillis, ginger and garlic and fry, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Stir in the coriander and turmeric and fry for 1 minute. Add the potatoes, carrots, aubergine , green peas, cauliflower, tomatoes and the remaining salt. Stir well to mix, Cover the pan, reduce the heat to moderately low and cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender but still retain their shape.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to very cool 275 °F (Gas Mark 1, 140°C). Grease a large, flameproof casserole with the remaining tablespoon of butter.

When the vegetables are cooked, remove the pan from the heat. Make layers of the dhals, vegetables and rice in the casserole in that order, until all the ingredients are used up. Pour in the boiling stock or water. Place the casserole over high heat for 1 minute. Cover the casserole and transfer it to the centre of the oven. Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the rice and dhals are cooked and all the liquid has been absorbed.

Remove the casserole from the oven. Sprinkle the top with the melted butter and serve immediately, straight from the casserole.

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