July 25, 2022
This morning my husband asked if dinner could be light. I could not think of anything lighter than this recipe, so this is what he'll be getting - kitchari, a porridge of sorts where the rice and the lentils are cooked together in one pot and the spicing is incredibly light. Note that there is no garlic or onion in this recipe. Typically, you'll just find just ginger and healing spices like ajwain in here. Why? Because this is a typical recipe we eat when we have an upset stomach. Not to worry if you don't have all the spices listed below on hand, just make it with what you have. And, if you are not sure what split moong with the skin looks like or where to find it, substitute it for any other split lentil. Our split yellow moong is perfect or a split red masoor dal that is found in most mainstream markets. If you place an order this week on our website, I will send you a complimentary packet of ajwain.
Desi Corner: When most non-Indians visit an Indian grocery store they are usually blown away by the various packets and varieties in the legume-lentil aisle. When I conduct food tours it's typically the first thing folks comment upon in this section. While it initially feels overwhelming, I encourage folks to actually read the packaging. You'll start to see common themes stacked side-by-side. One example is MOONG. This word will come up again and again on various packages - but the contents may look very different. One is green. Another is yellow. Why? Simply because all legumes are offered in various forms - most in 4 and some in 3. Whole with the skin. Whole without the skin. Split with the skin. Split without the skin. The reason is that the different forms are used for different recipes, require different amounts of water to cook successfully, and different cook times. We know that the split moong dal below will cook up much faster than the whole moong with the skin. The whole moong will often take 4 times the water to cook versus the split. And, these varieties taste very different upon cooking. Why it's important to pay attention to the type of legume required in a recipe. If you want to substitute - be sure that you do so with a legume in that same form. So for the recipe below, if you can't find split moong with the skin, use another split legume. You can even use one that has no skin, just reduce the cook time a bit. In this case reduce it by a minute. On the stovetop it might be 10-15 minutes. And so on. If you are Indian I know you have a special place in your heart for kitchari - share it in the comment section.
Moong Dal Chilkha Kitchari - Split Green Dal and Rice Porridge
Instant Pot Size: 3 quart or larger
Warm Up: 19 minutes
Cook: 4 minutes
Cool Down: MR
TOTAL: 23 minutes
Makes: 7 cups
1 cup moong dal chilkha (dried, split green dal with skin), picked over
1 cup uncooked white basmati rice
1 tablespoon oil or ghee
1 pinch hing (asafoetida)
½ teaspoon ajwain (carom seeds)
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, minced
2 teaspoons salt
6 cups water
2 teaspoons butter or ghee, for garnish
1. Mix the moong dal and rice and wash together. There is no need to soak. If you don't have split moong with the skin, order our split moong without skin. Just reduce the cook time to 3 minutes. Every order this week from our website will include a free sample of ajwain.
2. Place the inner pot in your Instant Pot. Select the SAUTE setting and adjust to NORMAL. When the indicator flashes HOT, add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the hing, ajwain, and turmeric. Stir and cook for 40 seconds until the seeds turn reddish brown. Because the oil pools to the sides, push the spices into the oil so they fully cook.
3. Add the ginger. Stir and cook for 30 seconds.
4. Press CANCEL. Add the dal-rice, salt, and water. Stir.
5. Lock the lid into place and make sure the pressure release valve is set to the sealing position (upwards). Press the PRESSURE COOK button and then press the PRESSURE LEVEL button until the panel reads HIGH. Adjust the cook time to 4 minutes.
6. Once the cooking is complete, release the pressure manually, press CANCEL, and remove the lid. Add the butter and serve steaming hot with a dollop of achaar (Indian pickle). Add sliced onion and fresh green chiles for an added crunch and layer of texture and flavor. All the spices are edible.
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