Thursday, July 23, 2015

Multi-Grain Spiced Kichdi (Multi-Grain Risotto With Indian Spices)

I love this well-spiced Masala Kichdi with assorted grains and lentils - it is hearty as it is delicious and I could eat it every day! It is fragrantly spiced but not hot and is suitable for children as well. When serving you may want to remove the chiles to avoid a child or someone unfamiliar with Indian food getting an unpleasant surprise! Although the chiles give a wonderful aroma to the food, they are not meant to be eaten.

Obviously you don't absolutely have to have so many different kinds of grains and lentils to make it wonderful; just a couple each will do just fine; the basic proportions are 1 part grain to 1, 2, or 3 parts legumes (dals) - use whatever combinations beguile you. I wanted to see how many different kinds I could put in; Red, Black, or Arborio rice and Amaranth are a couple of more possible additions.

I prepare the Kichdi in the pressure cooker. Prepare the seasonings and add to the cooker and proceed according to manufacturer's directions on using the pressure cooker. I always make this amount or more as kichdi stays fresh for about a week and freezes well. It thickens upon cooling; add a little hot water to thin as required.
Multigrain Kichdi

Kichdi Mix: Combine the following grains and legumes and keep them in a jar. When you want to make kichdi, you just have to measure it out! 1/8 cup each Assorted Grains: Barley, Brown Rice, Quinoa, Steel cut Oats, Cracked Wheat, Farro, etc. 1/8 cup each Assorted Lentils/Legumes: yellow Toor Dal or split peas, split Mung Dal  (with/without skin), Chana Dal, Masoor Dal (red lentils), Red Chori/Black-eyed Peas, etc. You may use as few or as many types of the grains and beans. There should be either 1:1, 1:2, or 1:3 ratio of lentils/beans to grains - I tend to use a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio, our family likes the taste and texture that more legumes add to the kichdi!

Kichdi Mix With Assorted Grains and Dals
 2 cups Kichdi Mix
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1 piece 2" Cinnamon Stick
7-8 Cloves
2 Cardamoms (optional)
5 Dry Red Chiles
1/2 tsp EACH - Cumin and Fennel Seeds
2 Tbsp grated fresh Ginger
1 pinch Asafetida/Hing
1 stem fresh Curry Leaves
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1-2 tsp Sea Salt
Earth Balance (vegan Butter substitute) to serve
Raita,  Beet Salad, Chutneys, Pickles, Papadams, etc to serve


Soak the kichdi mix in a bowl with plenty of water to cover; let soak for half an hour. If you prefer to cook right away, soaking is not absolutely necessary - although soaking may have the benefit of hydrating, ridding any undesirable elements like arsenic and phytic acid as well as helping to cook  a little faster.)

Rinse and drain well; have 5 to 7 cups of water ready; adding more water makes for a soft kichdi (like that pictured) .

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven or pot and add cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamoms, and red chiles; reduce the heat to low, add the cumin and fennel and stir well and cook until spices brown a little and are fragrant.

Stir in ginger, curry leaves and asafetida carefully; cook for a few seconds.

Tip the grains in and then the water carefully into the pot.

Add turmeric and salt; stir well and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer slightly covered stirring occasionally until all the lentils are soft (about 40 minutes) adding a little hot water as necessary. Let rest covered for 10 minutes.

The kichdi should be soft and creamy but not soupy.

Serve hot with a pat of Earth Balance if you like. Kichdi is traditionally served with raita, pickles and papadams. A chopped salad may be served instead of the raita.

Masala Kichdi

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