Rice and Lentil Porridge with Peanuts, Coconut and Fried Shallots (Kichidi)

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 20 min
  • Active: 35 min
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
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1 cup basmati rice

1/3 cup yellow moong lentils or red lentils 

4 tablespoons ghee

2 dried bay leaves 

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger 

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric 

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon cumin seeds 

1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns 

Big pinch hing (asafoetida)

1/4 cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes

1/4 cup roasted salted peanuts 

1 large sprig fresh curry leaves, optional 

Handful chopped fresh cilantro 

Plain full-fat yogurt, for serving


Special equipment:
a stovetop pressure cooker
  1. Combine rice and lentils in a large bowl. Cover with water and swish around with your hands until water is cloudy. Pour off water, then cover again with fresh water and wash. Repeat this process until water runs clear, 3 to 4 times. Cover with water and set aside to soak for 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Set a large stovetop pressure cooker over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons ghee and the bay leaves. Allow to cook until leaves are sizzling.
  3. Meanwhile, drain rice and lentils in a strainer. Carefully add to the pressure cooker and stir well. Continue to cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes, until the water has evaporated off the grains and they audibly sizzle.
  4. Add grated ginger, turmeric and 5 1/2 cups of water. Stir well and season with salt. Slide lid on the cooker. Turn heat to high and allow pressure cooker to come to high pressure. Immediately switch the heat off, and allow cooker to natural release for 15 minutes. Release any remaining pressure, then remove lid. The grains should be very soft. Remove bay leaves.
  5. Crush cumin seeds and peppercorns with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
  6. Warm remaining 2 tablespoons ghee in a small pan over medium-high heat. Add cumin seed mixture and hing and cook until aromatic. Add coconut, peanuts and curry leaves, if using. Cook, stirring often, until coconut turns golden brown. Immediately pour over the rice porridge. Get every last bit out! Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with bowls of cold yogurt.