Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Khichuri - Rice & Lentil Soup

This is the perfect soup for a cold and rainy or snowy day. Equal portions of rice and mung and/or red lentils along with a variety of vegetables (cauliflower & potatoes are a must) are fried with spices and onions before being cooked long and slow at a simmer. It is garnished with hard-boiled eggs, a wedge of lemon and deep-fried onions.

1/4 cup red lentils, washed and drained
1/4 cup mung dal, washed and drained
1/2 cup Basmati rice, washed and drained
1/4 cup wheat berries*, washed & drained (optional)
1/2 pkg Freshlike frozen vegetables
2 russet potatoes, chopped small
1/2 cauliflower, cut in florets
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cinnamon stick
4 green cardamoms
6 cloves
1/4 tsp. cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. fennel seeds
1/4 tsp. paprika or Kashmiri mirch powder
1/4 tsp. cumin-coriander powder
1/8 tsp. turmeric
salt to taste
2 onions, chopped fine
1 green chili, chopped fine
2 Tbsp. grated coconut, unsweetened
1 tomato, chopped fine
1 tsp. ginger paste
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 lemon, cut in wedges
4 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and chopped
1/4 cup deep fried onions
2 tsp. ghee

  1. Wash rice and lentils, soak in water and set aside.
  2. Add eggs to a pan of cold water and boil for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove pan from heat, cover eggs and set aside for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain eggs and cool, remove shells, chop and reserve for later.
  5. Heat oil over high heat in a large saucepan.
  6. Fry cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and star anise for 2 minutes.
  7. Transfer cardamom, cloves and star anise to a stainless steel tea ball or tie in a cheese-cloth and set aside.
  8. In same oil, sputter cumin and fennel seeds.
  9. Add 2 Tbsp. deep fried onions, chopped onions, grated coconut and green chilies and fry until onions turn translucent.
  10. Add tomatoes, turmeric, paprika and cumin-coriander powder and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  11. Stir in frozen and fresh vegetables and fry until vegetables are well coated with the rest.
  12. Add rice and lentils, salt to taste and stir well until thoroughly combined.
  13. Add 8 cups of boiling water along with tea ball with spices and simmer until potatoes are cooked and soup is reduced by half.
  14. Adjust salt to taste and stir in ginger paste, sugar and ghee.
  15. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish each with chopped eggs, deep fried onions and juice of one lemon wedge.
Khichuri with a side of pan-fried eggplant
* Wheat berries are grains of whole wheat. They are pre-packaged and sold in Indian grocery stores and are used in a dish called Haleem. Because everything in this soup becomes really soft and merges together, the wheat berries give a surprising texture and bite to this dish.