So, I thought I'd post about Gujarati kitchari. It's such a simple recipe that it barely qualifies as a recipe, really, but here we go. The purpose of kitchari is as an alternative to rice or Indian bread products (chapati, thepla, puri, nan, paratha, etc) to have with shak (curry), it is a bland backdrop to the star dish. I love it - it is easy, comforting, versatile (I will come on to what you can do with the leftovers).
Essentially, kitchari is split lentils (split mung beans are traditional but other split lentils work too), rice that soaks up a lot of water (pudding or risotto/paella rice for preference but ordinary basmati rice is ok in a pinch but isn't as satisfyingly stodgy), ghee/butter (or oil if you really don't have ghee/butter or are vegan), cooked up together. You can make it in a pressure cooker if you're in a hurry (but remember that the point is for it to be cooked well and end up slightly mushy, so set it for longer than you would usually for lentils or rice; you can use a slow cooker if you want to make it overnight; you can do it on the hob (in about 30-40 mins). I don't have a pressure cooker so I usually make it in the slow cooker or, sometimes, on the hob.
|Photo from http://www.learningherbs.com/|
It's good to make shak with it that's more on the liquidy side so that the juices run into the kitchari and make it nice and tasty. In particular, tomato shak is lovely with this. It's made in the same way as normal shak but with a few changes: it needs a bit of sugar (about a teaspoon for every eight small tomatoes), it needs more garlic than normal (I'd add six cloves to shak for 3-4 people), a bit of lemon juice is good in it, as is coriander, and sev sprinkled on top is fab.
I never worry if I've made extra kitchari because it's pretty useful in the leftover department. You can eat it on its own with natural yoghurt for breakfast - when it plays the role of porridge, you can curry it (following the instructions for shak, just with kitchari instead of vegetables), you can make a great Indian left over dish called muthia with it (which I'll post about properly another time..)