Kichari, an Indian spiced legume and rice porridge, really is something special. It can be something as simple as rice and red lentils cooked together, seasoned with salt and pepper and eaten as is. Many variations include a variety of veggies cooked right into the pot; onions, peas, cauliflower, you name it. It’s often spiced with mustard seeds, cumin, fenugreek, and our all time-favorite, turmeric. It’s like an Indian risotto, cooked on a stove top until nice and creamy and dished out in wide bowls. You can eat it alone or with a simple flat bread. Here I change it up a bit and form this simple dish into our “Kichari Patties”. Dressed with a bit of tamarind sauce or hot sauce, it can be served as a snack, lunch, or dinner. Since it contains both rice and lentils (and a myriad of vegetables) it is in fact a very complete meal (and a complete protein!) Enjoy these while the weather is still cool, and it feels good to eat something warming and grounding. Be sure to include some black pepper in them as well, as it’s proven that black pepper increases our good friend turmeric’s bioavailability 1000x, yes 1000x. Gotta love when our plant friends work together as a team.
1cupof brown rice (basmati, long grain, or short grain)
2 1/2cupsof water
3cupsveggies of choice, finely chopped:broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, potatoes, peas, carrots, kale, etc.
1/4cupof fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4cupof fresh parsley, chopped
1/2teaspoonof cumin seeds
1/2teaspoonof mustard seeds
1/2teaspoonof black pepper
In a medium pot, combine 1 Tbsp oil, garlic, ginger and onion and saute on medium heat until lightly browning. Add red lentils, rice and water and bring to a low boil. Cover pot and lower to a simmer. Let cook for 20-25 minutes until rice and lentils are cooked and it has reached a porridge like consistency. Uncover pot, turn off heat, and let rest, it will thicken a bit.
When rice and lentils are done cooking, heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a skillet and add cumin and mustard seeds, heat on medium low until mustard seeds begin to pop, usually 1-2 minutes. Do not let them burn. Add turmeric and black pepper to oil and stir. Add chopped vegetables of choice to skillet and cook on medium low heat until just tender and salt to taste. Add fresh herbs and stir into cooling rice/lentil mixture.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly oil baking sheet, or line with parchment paper. When cool enough to handle, form kichari into small balls with your hands and lay on sheet evenly spaced. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes on each side until golden brown and crispy. They will remain soft and delicious inside. Drizzle with tamarind sauce, or condiment of choice, Sriracha would work well here. Enjoy!
Renee Press is the founder of Fire and Earth Kitchen in Seattle WA. which offers cooking classes, food coaching, and chef services. She's on a mission to make vegan, gluten-free cooking easy, accessible, and delicious for everyone. fireandearthkitchen.com