Fragrant Kitchari Rice

There is something comepletely magical about this rice dish. Kitchari is a staple dish for many people in India. The use of lentils with the rice adds protein, making it a nutritious and cheap meal to produce. With the addition of a few whole spices the dish is lifted to another level of tasty. It’s one of those things you find yourself picking at hours after your meal. I have been known to grab a handful whenever I pass the kitchen. It’s a simple dish to cook and one which looks and smells very impressive. You can serve it with a simple curry or dal as it will bring it’s own delicious flavour to anything.

INGREDIENTS: (serves 3-4)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cloves
20 curry leaves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
4 cardamom pods
2 x 2cm cinnamon sticks
5 black peppercorns
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon split yellow lentils
1 cup basmati rice
½ up split red lentils
1 teaspoon salt

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and when hot add the cloves, cumin seeds, cardamom, cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, mustard seeds and yellow split lentils. Let them sizzle for 30 seconds until the mustard seeds start to pop. Add the rice and split red lentils and stir for 30 seconds to coat everything. Add 2½ cups water and the salt, stir once and let it come to a boil. Reduce the heat to VERY LOW and cover the pan. Let the rice cook very gently for 8-12 minutes without stirring until all the liquid has evaporated and the rice is just beginning to stick. Remove pan lid, cover the top with a clean tea towel then return the lid.

Leave to rest for 20 minutes then fluff up with a fork just before serving.

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