Sunday, February 10, 2013

Mor Kali (Vegan Rice Polenta Or Mush)

The name "Rice Mush" doesn't do justice to delicious Mor Kali. It is the ultimate in comfort food for me ... it tastes delicious, hardly takes a few minutes to cook, and takes no effort to swallow! Although called Mor Kali, this kali does not have any Mor (buttermilk/yogurt) since I make it vegan; hence I should technically call it uppu kali (savory kali) :-).  Kali is similar to cornmeal mush or soft polenta; it is flavorful and makes a great snack or light meal.  It does not need any syrup or sauce to complete it  - but may be served with the dry chutney powder Mulagai Podi and a bit of oil. Traditionally the batter is either allowed to ferment or uses tart yogurt when making without fermentation; but I have made it vegan without losing any of its lovely tart flavor - the lime/lemon makes a fabulous substitute. The batter can also be allowed to ferment overnight in which case, lime/lemon is not necessary.

Adjust the amount of water to produce a soupy or thick Kali; sometimes I like a  very soft kali so I add a lot more water. The soft kali is called koozhu or koolu.


1 cup Rice Flour
1/2 tsp Sea Salt or to taste
2 cups water
Fresh Lime/Lemon

2 tsp Oil
1/2 tsp Brown Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Chana dal
1 tsp Urad dal
1-2 yogurt cured chiles, broken into 2 pieces (optional)
1 pinch Asafetida
1-2 hot green chiles, minced
1 stem Curry leaves, minced


Combine rice flour, salt and water and let sit overnight to ferment at room temperature if possible.  If needed sooner, go ahead and use it ... whenever possible, it is nice to allow some time to soak, re-hydrate and ferment.

If you like the kali really soft, then add another cup of water to the batter.

Get the other ingredients such as the chiles, curry leaves, etc. ready.

Oil an 8 or 9 inch cake pan generously and set aside.

Heat the oil in a kadai or skillet and add the dals, mustard seeds, and yogurt cured chile if using.

When the dals turn golden and mustard seeds start popping, add the asafetida and stir for a second or so.

Stir in the green chiles and curry leaves carefully; cover pan to protect yourself from the hot oil spattering.

Stir the rice mixture well and pour it into the kadai/skillet; add about a 1/2 cup water to the rice bowl and swirl to collect all of the flour - pour this into the pot also.

Cook stirring constantly for about 5 to 10 minutes or until the mush is thick without any lumps.

Cover and cook over low heat for another 5 to 7 minutes or until well cooked.

Let sit covered for about 5 minutes; squeeze a little lime/lemon at this point if you like the kali to be a bit tangy. Mix well.

Scrape the mush into the oiled pan and smooth the top.  Let cool completely before cutting into pieces and serving.

Now for the coating on the bottom of the pan, do not discard the golden layer of kali stuck on the bottom of the pan - scrape it off and save to top each portion of the kali (or go ahead and enjoy it just by itself).

Mor Kali is typically served cold ( not ice cold but room temperature cold).  I like the soft kali piping hot :)!

Serve the kali anyway you like.  Enjoy!! 

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