Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Madhur Jaffrey calls this dish Indian "risotto" in her World Vegetarian, saying that it is "comfort food, eaten all over [India] by the very young and very old alike."

This is a simple version of what can be quite a complicated dish with many ingredients. And it is really, really comforting, like a milder, more soupy, liquidy, colourful version of mujadarah. I'm going to steal bits of her recipe for this post, but not give it all away...

But first I must interrupt myself to remark that my mother and I had the most amazingly wonderful shopping trip this morning. We visited two new (to us) stores; for the initiated these were the new Italian Center Shop and the Bulk Barn in South Edmonton Common. While the proceeds this trip will figure largely in future posts, the only part of it shown here are little specks of red pepper from the Italian Centre garnishing the dish, which were, in fact, when it came right down to eating it, the only thing I could actually taste, they were that hot. However, there was a second helping, and I am still smelling the wonderful residual cooking smell as I type. Sigh...mild dals like this one are becoming a staple food in my house. They are so good at any time of the day, but, I am finding, especially wonderful for a weekend breakfast, particularly if one has been overindulging in celebratory beverages the night before. Try it!

Start with 1/2 cup moong dal and 3/4 cup basmati rice; rinse both well, then put them in a pot with 1/4 tsp tumeric and two thin slices of ginger and 8 cups (yes, believe it, I didn't, and was convinced, you will need all 8) water or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down, cover, and simmer for between an hour and an hour and a half.

Meanwhile, you can make your tarka. Heat 3 tbsp canola oil in a small skillet, and, when hot, add one small onion very finely chopped:

The dal-rice mixture cooks down to the texture of a rough porridge:
When the onion is browned, add 1 tsp cumin and 1 ripe tomato (or in my case about 2 tbsp tomato sauce). Cook another 2 minutes or so, then add the tarka to the dal-rice mixture, stir well, and taste for salt:

Served here with kale strips stir-fried with garlic, red pepper flakes, raisins, and carrot fettucini (which I thought was brilliant as an idea but which in fact still needs some work), topped with the mystery superhot red peppers, sliced green onions, and a drizzle of melted Earth Balance, or, in this case, a bit of vegan egg yolk much better behaved after a few days in the fridge, and a very light sprinkling of garam masala!


  1. This is going to be a bit long, so I'd better introduce myself: hi, I'm Noa :) Found your blog a little while ago and have been diligently reading it (backwards) since. Only today did I realize though that we're neighbours! Or at least, from the same city - I live two minutes away from the (old) Italian Centre. Anyway, I thought it was time to stop and say thank you for all that inspiring food.

    We make khichri pretty often, using a different method (in our beloved pressure cooker) and serving it with yogurt - vegetarian household here - and coriander & mint chutney. Kale sounds like a delicious addition.

    Have a lovely, warm weekend!

  2. Thanks, Andrea!

    Noa, hello, nice to make your aquaintance (through our mutual aliases;-), and I'm very happy you're enjoying my blog. Don't you adore the Italian Centre? You're so lucky to live that close!

    I love the sour yogurt flavour with dal. I did add a little lemon juice to my serving, though I forgot to mention it in the post. And chutney would be good too with such a mild dal. Next time!

  3. Noa is actually my real name :) A super common Israeli name, but kind of exotic here.

    I'm thankful for the Italian Centre at least twice a week. It's the very best thing about this neighbourhood!

  4. Ah, apologies. I thought you were the un-Zoa, the not-Zoa, you know, Noa. Ahem. Clearly, I've been reading too much esoteric philosophy. It's a beautiful name, though.