Lentil and basmati khichdi
For the lentil and basmati khichdi
- 120g/4½oz basmati rice, washed, soaked for 15 minutes and drained
- 240g/8½oz red lentils, washed, soaked for 15 minutes and drained
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 4 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1½ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 dried red chilli
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 100g/3½oz cauliflower, cut into 1cm/½in sized florets
- 1 carrot, cut into 1cm/½in cubes
- ½ x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 100g/3½ oz frozen petit pois (or garden peas)
- 4 tbsp ghee (optional)
For the burnt aubergine relish
To make the lentil and basmati khichdi, combine the rice and the lentils in a large pan along with 2 litres/3½ pints of water. Add the turmeric and bring to a boil. Once the liquid starts to boil, remove any scum from the surface and add 2 teaspoons of salt (reserve the rest of the salt for later). Cook for 25–30 minutes, or until the lentils are completely cooked and disintegrated. Add more boiling water, if needed, to cook the lentils. The rice will be thoroughly cooked by then.
Heat a wok over a medium-high heat. Add the oil, then add the cumin seeds and dried chilli and fry for a minute until the chilli changes colour and the cumin is slightly crisp. Add the chopped garlic, fry until golden-brown, then add the chopped onion and cook for 20–22 minutes, or until light golden-brown.
Add the cauliflower, carrot and reserved 2 teaspoons of salt and cook for 6–8 minutes. Then add the tinned tomatoes and cook for another 6–8 minutes. Add the cooked rice and lentils to the pan with the tomatoes and mix well. Add more boiling water if the mixture is too thick. Add the peas and simmer for a couple of minutes, then remove from the heat.
To make the aubergine relish, stuff 3 garlic cloves into the slits in each aubergine. Rub each aubergine with a little of the mustard oil, then burn the aubergine over an open flame on the hob for 20–30 minutes, turning frequently to char the aubergine evenly on all sides. Once cooked, the aubergines will be soft and the flesh will give in easily to the touch. When the aubergine is cool enough to touch, remove the skin and the garlic cloves and discard them. Chop the aubergine flesh, mix in the sea salt, red onion, chillies, coriander, and the remaining mustard oil.
To serve, divide the khichdi among serving bowls. If you wish, in a separate pan, heat the ghee to smoking point and pour it over the khichdi to scald the top. Serve immediately with the aubergine relish.
Vivek Singh uses red lentils for his khichdi, but you can use a mixture of red, toor and yellow moong lentils if you prefer.