Indian One Pot Wonder: Kee Khitcheree

This aromatic Kee Khitcheree is made with a combination of yellow mung bean (yellow split peas), rice, and lentils (my favorite legume). If you’re looking for an easy Indian dish, this is it. There are a number of optional exotic ingredients, but with a few key spices you can make an outstanding Kee Khitcheree.

Feel free to experiment with your favorite veggies and the water proportions. I generally prefer a thicker, porridge consistency version of this dish, but you can add more water to make it more soup like, as featured in this Huffington Post recipe for Birbal Kitcheree.

The second best part: You only need one (very large) pot! And, most of the core ingredients used here are not too exotic- you should be able to find most of them in your local grocery store (or your pantry!). This recipe is a great way to dip your toe into Indian cuisine.The best part: the first bite of this flavorful, healthy dish chock full of veggies and spices.

Kitcheree Yum!

Indian One Pot Wonder: Kee Khitcheree

Time: 50 minutes, 20 minutes prep, 30 minutes cook
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup split yellow mung beans (moong dal), picked over, rinsed and drained (you can also use yellow split peas)
1 1/2 cup lentils, picked over, rinsed and drained
1 cup basmati or jasmine rice

1/4 cup ghee, butter or canola oil
dried whole chilies or chili flakes, to tasteKee Khitcheree Spices

2 tsp cumin seeds
3-4 bay leaves
8-12 whole cloves
6-10 black peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon turmeric (more if desired)
1/8 tsp asafetida (optional)More Kitcheree Spices (alternatively spelled Asafoetida)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp garam masala

2 medium onions, sliced into short thick pieces
5-8 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced (seeded if desired)
3-4 red potatoes, washed, diced into small chunks (optional)
1 medium zucchini or squash, diced (optional)
1 green or red bell pepper, diced (optional)
1 broccoli stalk, sliced (optional)
Broccoli florets, chopped (optional)

6-8 cups water
1 tsp garam masala

Salt to taste when serving

Special Tools: Food processor (optional), Large stock pot with a lid

What To Do

Soak the beans, lentils and rice in a medium bowl in cold water for twenty minutes (they should be covered with water). Drain off the water and set off to the side.

The Trifecta: Rice Lentils & Mung Beans

While this is soaking, prepare the veggies. You can chop off some prep time by using a food processor to slice the veggies (see what I did there? haha). Quarter the onion, then chop into thick slices- as below.

Kitcheree Onions

In a large stock pot, heat the oil, chili flakes (no dried chilis in my apartment!), cumin seeds, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns, turmeric, garam masala and asafetida (optional) over medium heat.

Kitcheree Spice in the Pot

Mix to distribute evenly and cook for a couple minutes.

Goopy Spice Mixture- Kitcheree

Add the prepared veggies and stir with a heavy spoon to coat with the spice mixture. Place the lid on the pot and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Veggies Ahoy!

The first time I made this with onions, broccoli stalk and jalapenos, and the second time with onions, zucchini, potatoes, garlic and bell pepper. Both were very good! Experiment to see what combinations you like the best.

Stir it up baby!

Scoop in the lentils, mung beans and rice to the veggie medley and mix with your heavy spoon.Add the Lentils, Rice and Mung Beanz

Turn up the heat to high, pour in the water (6 cups for thicker porridge consistency and 7-8 cups for a soup-like consistency) and 1 tsp garam masala and slowly stir to combine. Cover with the lid until the khitcheere begins to boil, then turn down the heat to low.

Kitcheree Water and Garam Masala

Simmer for twenty minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and rice are tender and the mung beans are chewy (they will be firmer than the lentils and rice). For a thicker, porridge-like consistency, let the khitcheree simmer until the water is completely absorbed but the mixture is still moist.

Kee Khitcheree- Ready to Eat!

Add salt if desired or with each individual portion. Serve hot with pickled jalapenos or chutney and naan or pita bread.

Rustic Cornmeal & Roasted Vegetable Tart

Pack in the veggies for your next meal with this tasty Roasted Vegetable Tart served in a crispy cornmeal crust.

I made this dish for a potluck at a friend’s house, and I am happy to tell you that this compact dish travels well and can be prepared ahead of time and reheated at your final destination.

Vegetable Tart in Cornmeal Crust

Vegetable Tart with Cornmeal Crust

Adapted from The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger.

Time: 80 minutes, 20 min prep & 60 min cook
Servings: 8 wedges

Ingredients

Crust
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup whole grain flour or wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp plain low-fat yogurt
2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
3-5 tbsp water

Veggie Filling
2 tbsp + 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion (or shallots, about 2)
3-4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (or more if desired)
Assorted sliced vegetables (about 1/8 inch thick)
– Eggplant
– Zucchini
– Yellow Squash
– Ripe tomatoes
– Fresh (preferred) or frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Dried Oregano (optional)

3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (approx. 3 oz.)
1/4 cup shredded  or ripped fresh basil (or 2-3 heaping tablespoons dried basil)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese

Non-stick spray
Aluminum foil and uncooked rice/beans/lentils or pie weights

Special Tools: Food processor, 9 inch tart pan (or pie plate), pie weights (optional), parchment paper (optional)

What To Do

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Crust:
In the food processor, pulse the cornmeal, flour and salt until mixed.

Tart- Dry Ingredients in Food Processor

Pour in the yogurt and oil and pulse 15-20 times. The mixture should resemble tiny pebbles.

Tart- Yogurt & Oil          Tart- Pulsing the Dough

Add a couple tablespoons of water and pulse again until the cornmeal mix starts to come together in a dough. If it looks too dry, add more water, 1 tbsp at a time and pulse after each addition.

Tart- Pulsing 2          Tart- Pulsing 3

Spray a tart pan or pie plate with non-stick spray. Take the dough out of the food processor and press with your fingertips into the tart pan or pie plate. Be sure to cover the sides of the tart/pie plate as well.

Tart Pan Dough
Cut a piece of aluminum foil large enough to cover the tart/pie plate and press against the bottom and sides of the crust. Pour enough uncooked rice/beans/lentils (or use pie weights) to weigh the crust down, about 1 1/2-2 cups.

The crust is well protected from alien mind probes...

Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove the pie weights and cook for another 5-6 minutes. Remove the tart crust from the oven and cool.

Increase the temperature to 400 F.

Sliced OnionsSliced GarlicSliced Zucchini

Veggie Filling:
Sautee the garlic and onions or scallions in 1 tsp EVOO over medium heat. Cook for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat when the onions are soft.

Put some of the sliced veggies into a plastic resealable bag. Pour about 1 tablespoon of the EVOO into the bag, seal, and shake to coat the veggies with the oil. Spread the sliced veggies on two prepared baking sheets (coated with non-stick spray or lined with parchment paper for easy clean up). Repeat with the rest of the veggies until all are coated with oil and spread on the pans.

Veggies on the Pan

Sprinkle the salt &  pepper on top. Roast for around 20 minutes, until the veggies are tender but not burned. Cool the veggies enough to handle.

Thawing Spinach AKA Swamp Monster

If you are using frozen spinach, you’ll need to thaw it while the veggies are roasting. Place the frozen spinach in a large bowl and cover with hot, just below boiling, water. Let  it sit, stirring occasionally to break it apart into pieces. As the water cools down, drain off and replace with hot water. When the spinach has thawed completely, drain in with a fine mesh colander and set aside for the tart assembly.

Note: I made this dish with frozen spinach the first time, and I would recommend using fresh baby spinach instead. The frozen spinach was a bit tougher and harder to handle.

Decrease the temperature to 350 F. Put a layer of the roasted veggies into the bottom of the tart crust, then sprinkle with the mozzarella (1/4 to 1/3 of the total) and fresh basil. Lightly sprinkle on the dried oregano if using. Repeat the layering process until the veggies are gone, ending with the tomatoes or pepper arranged in a visually pleasing manner. Sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese on top.

Veggie Tart Assembly

Bake the tart for around 30 minutes until the cheese is melted and the vegetables have warmed all the way through.

Cool for a couple minutes, then slice into 8-10 pieces. Serve warm, with additional grated cheese if desired (yes, please!).

Hot Veggie Tart!