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Khichri made with toor dahl (rice with lentils)

Written By Reena on 14 Oct 2011 | 05:00

Khichri (also known as khichdi or khitchri) is a popular Gujarati comfort food. It is a generic term for a number of dishes made from rice and lentils and was the inspiration for the British colonial dish kedgeree.

This version is made using toor dahl and is a favourite with my mum's family. On it's own it is a bland dish (often served to sick people as it is easy to digest) and so it is traditionally served with kadhi, mango pickle and potato curry or stuffed aubergines.

Serves 4

  • 50 grams toor dahl
  • 100 grams rice
  • 1 tablespoon light tasting vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves
  • Small stick cinnamon
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 2 cloves garlic - crushed
  • 7 grams root ginger - peeled and grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 500 millilitres boiling water
  1. Place the toor dahl in a bowl and cover with water.  Leave to soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Place the rice in a separate bowl and cover with water.  Leave to soak until step 9.
  3. Strain the dahl through a colander and leave to dry a little.
  4. In the meantime heat the oil in a saucepan.
  5. Once hot, add the cloves, cinnamon and black peppercorns and leave to cook for a minutes or so.
  6. Now add the garlic, ginger, salt, turmeric and dahl to the pan.  Take care when adding the dahl as the hot oil may spit. 
  7. Stir the contents of the pan and then add the boiling water.
  8. Stir again and let the dahl cook on a low heat for 15 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, return to the bowl of rice.  You will notice that the water has turned a cloudy white colour.  This is the starch from the rice.  Drain away the water.  Cover the rice with water again.  Stir the rice and watch as the water turns white again.  Drain immediately and then repeat this step a further two times ending with the rice being drained.  The water will still be turning cloudy as there is still starch in the rice but you will have removed a large amount of it.  You do need some starch in the rice to stop it disintegrating.
  10. After the dahl has been cooking for 15 minutes add the rice to the pan.  Stir well.
  11. The contents of the pan should be covered with approximately 1 cm of water.  If there is not enough, add more.
  12. Leave the mixture to cook for a further 8- 10 minutes. 
  13. After this time, use a spoon to squash a lentil.  If the lentil is soft, check that the rice is cooked.
  14. Once the lentils and rice are cooked, stir the rice gently and note how much water is in the pan.  If you push the rice to one side of the pan, there should be a reservoir of 1-2 tablespoons of water at the bottom.  If there is more than this, drain it away.  If there is less, add a little water.
  15. Serve hot with kadhi and potato curry.

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