Kichadi is an East Indian dish that features rice and either mung beans or lentils, and a variety of spices and vegetables. Everything is slowly cooked into a soft stew. Considered an Indian comfort food, kichadi is easy to prepare, can be made all in one pan or pot, and makes great leftovers.
water for sautéing
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground clove
¼-½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, these are hot)
3 ½ cups water
¾ cup dry brown basmati rice
¾ cup dry yellow lentils (which look orange when dry then turn yellow when cooked)
1 medium potato, diced (yellow, red or sweet)
1 cup frozen peas
2 ribs celery, diced
1 bunch curly kale, steamed
1. Sauté the onion in 2 tablespoons water for 2-3 minutes on med-high heat. Add the fresh garlic and ginger, cumin seeds, and all the dried herbs and spices and sauté for another minute (adding a little water as needed). Add the 3 ½ cups water along with the rice, lentils and potato. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for 30 minutes.
2. After the 30 minutes, blend in the peas and celery. Replace lid and cook for 20 more minutes.
3. Serve on steamed curly kale leaves (or cut the steamed kale into bite-size pieces and fold it in just before serving, or add in the raw kale with the peas and celery). Optional: Using a rotary cheese grater, grate some peanuts or walnuts on top (as shown).
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
If you don’t want to bother with all the spices (keep the fresh ginger and garlic, though), you may replace them with 2 or more teaspoons of your favorite curry powder. I made this both ways, and while the curry powder is good too, using all the spices individually, as written, produces a much more interesting and flavorful dish.
This is a very flexible recipe, so feel free to vary the veggies, potatoes (Yukon, red or sweet potato/yam), rice (brown jasmine, long or short grain), or lentils (you can also use soaked split peas or mung beans).