Saturday, 3 March 2012

Wholegrain Khitchri- vegan

This khitchri is great with a green salad and/ or a dollop of yoghurt!

If you are expecting the traditional one-pot version, which (in the hands of a careless cook like me) can easily turn into a stodgy mush, then prepare to be disappointed... this khitchri rocks! I have never served it to anyone who didn't like it, and some have said it is the best one they ever had. Makes a nutritious breakfast/ brunch, or add a simple green salad and have it as a main meal; it's both tasty and satisfying. Don't be put off by the long list of ingredients, as it's still quite easy to make. My secret?- Use whole mung beans and brown rice, as they turn to mush far less readily than their split and husked counterparts, as well as being nutritionally superior. And how to make this "dry" khitchri without the vegetables disintegrating? -Cook them separately and add them at the end, of course! (Purists, click away from here now...) I started cooking this about 11 years ago, at first using a great recipe from "The Hare Krishna Book of Vegetarian Cooking", then gradually changing a lot of the ingredients and quantities, then using the whole grains and beans, making it dairy-free and cooking it in two parts. I think I can safely say it's now my own creation! This recipe serves six to eight people.


1 cup (250ml) whole mung beans; no need to soak them for this
1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice
5 cups water
1/2 med. cauliflower, washed and cut into small florets
1 lg potato, scrubbed (not peeled) and diced into 1.5cm cubes
100g fine green beans, trimmed and cut into 2cm pieces
1 med. red pepper (capsicum/ bell pepper), chopped the same size as the green beans
4 med. tomatoes, washed and quartered
4 tabs light olive oil or ricebran oil (butter ghee is a great lacto alternative)
3 tsps cumin seeds (jeera)
1/2 tsp chilli powder (or 1/2 a fresh red chilli, minced)
2 tsps grated fresh ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2tsp hing
2 tsps seasalt
3 tsps turmeric (haldi)
Plus:
1-1 1/2 tsps coarse black pepper
1 tab extra-virgin olive oil (unsalted butter is also great if you want dairy in this)
the juice of 1 lemon
  • First wash the rice and beans together, add the 5 cups of water then boil until the water is absorbed and they are cooked but retain their shape. (Check from time to time; depending on the exact type of brown rice you use, you may need a little more water.)
  • Meanwhile, prepare all the vegetables as above.
  • In another pan, pour the light olive oil, heat and begin to fry the potatoes and cauliflower, stirring to avoid them sticking to the bottom. 
  • After a couple of minutes, add the cumin seeds and gently brown them.
  • Next, throw in the chilli, ginger, ground cumin and hing, along with the green beans, the red pepper and the quartered tomatoes. 
  • Turn the heat right down and leave with the lid on to sweat until cooked. Give it a stir from time to time and add a little water if you need to. 
  • By now the mung beans and rice should be cooked and all their liquid absorbed. Stir in the seasalt and haldi. As soon as the vegetables are cooked (wait until the tomatoes have broken down) stir the rice and mung beans into them. 
  • Just before serving, add the lemon juice, black pepper and extra-virgin olive oil (or unsalted butter). 
  • Serve with a green salad and/ or yoghurt/ soya yoghurt, or maybe your favourite chutneys...




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