How to make traditional Pakistani kitcharee
What is kitcharee?
Kitcharee (pronounced khich-ree, as corrected by my Pakistani husband who said it's definitely not kitch-a-ree) is an entree made out of rice and lentils, and possibly vegetables. It is spiced for flavour, not temperature, so you don't need to worry about it being too hot to eat!
Kitcharee is usually eaten for lunch or dinner (although I often enjoy it for breakfast!) It can be eaten as an entree itself or as a side to something else.
What do you eat kitcharee with?
There are two main sides usually eaten with kitcharee: plain yogurt and achar (spicy pickled vegetables). You can find achar in any South Asian grocers, although some local grocers may carry it in the international food aisle or with the pickled food.
For four people:
200 grams split mung lentils (a.k.a. dhal) with husk (it's green)
400 grams rice
1 large onion, sliced
1 whole garlic bulb, peeled and sliced
cumin seed, to taste (but at least 4-5 tablespoons)
salt to taste
Step 1: Put mung lentils and rice in a large pot. Rinse them under water once or twice. Drain the water.
Step 2: Add salt and oil (or butter) as if you were making rice. Fill the pot with water about 1 to 2 centimetres above the rice and mung lentils. Put the pot on the stove and bring to a boil. When it has reached a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cover with a lid.
Step 3: Cut and peel the onion. Cover the bottom of a frying pan with oil (not a thick layer of oil). Turn the element on medium-high. When the oil is hot, add the onions and reduce the heat to medium-low. Regularly stir the onions.
Step 4: While the onion is cooking (and you are regularly stirring it), peel and slice the garlic.
Step 5: When the onion is half cooked (getting golden), add the garlic. Continue cooking until the garlic is golden, then turn off the element. Add the cumin seed and stir. Let it sit for few minutes.
Step 6: Add the contents of the frying pan to the rice and mung lentil pot. Stir everything together. Let the pot cook until the rice and mung lentils are cooked (soft and mushy).
Step 7: Enjoy with yogurt and achar, if desired.
Pressure Cooker Procedure
To make kitcharee in a pressure cooker, follow the same steps as above with a few tweaks.
- After rinsing, add enough water to cover the rice and mung lentils by two centimeters. Turn on the rice and mung lentils to cook for five to ten minutes in the pressure cooker (time varies with different models).
- Cook the onions, garlic and cumin seed in a frying pan as described above.
- When the rice and mung lentils are finished, add the frying pan contents to the pressure cooker and stir everything together. Set it to cook for another five to ten minutes.
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