Mung Beans, Rice & Vegetables (Khichari)
Khichari (pronounced ‘kitch-eri’) is such an important dish for vegetarians that I have included a different recipe for it in each of my cookbooks. The flavoursome, juicy stew of mung beans, rice and vegetables is both nutritious and sustaining. It can be served any time a one-pot meal is required. You can practically live on khichari, and in fact some people do. I eat it accompanied by a little yogurt, some whole-wheat toast, lemon or lime wedges and topped with a drizzle of melted ghee. Bliss!
Serves: 4 - 6 persons.
- ½ cup split mung beans, washed and drained
- 6 cups water
- 1 bay leaf thumb-size chunk ginger, chopped fine
- 1 small green chili, seeded and chopped
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons coriander powder
- 1 cup Thai rice, or other long-grain rice of your choice
- 1 packed cup each broccoli, potato cubes and quartered Brussels sprouts, or vegetables of your choice
- 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- small handful curry leaves
- ½ teaspoon yellow asafetida powder
- ½ cup chopped fresh coriander
- leaves wedges of lemon
- some chilled yogurt
- extra ghee for serving
Bring to a boil the mung beans, water, bay leaf, ginger, chili, turmeric and coriander in a saucepan, then reduce to a simmer, and cook, partially covered, for about 15 minutes or until the beans start to break up.
Add the rice, vegetables, tomatoes and salt, increase the heat, and stirring, bring to a boil, then return to a simmer, covered. Stirring occasionally, cook for another 10–15 minutes, or until the rice is soft.
Season: Heat the ghee in a small saucepan over moderate heat. Sprinkle in the cumin seeds, fry until a few shades darker, and add the curry leaves—careful, they crackle. Sprinkle in the yellow asafetida powder, swirl the pan and empty the fried seasonings into the khichari. Stir the seasonings through, then return to a simmer and cook for another 5 minutes or so, or until the rice is fully swollen and soft. If you desire a moist khichari, add a little boiling water now.
Serve: Fold in the fresh coriander, and serve the khichari piping hot with a drizzle of warm ghee, and the accompaniments suggested above.