Bringing out the “Kitch” in Risotto
Enlivened by the food culture that I’ve experienced from having lived in a few countries, my time spent in Europe has opened up my fascination for the Mediterranean cuisine more than I could ever have imagined. Sure enough, with the click of a mouse, nowadays you can “travel” to any country’s kitchen, but living the experience is astoundingly peerless. Of the many dishes that I have literally come to enjoy, risotto has been one that it is now pretty much a bi-weekly menu staple at the Lovlie Cocoon.
Where this dish gains its singularity though is from my inherited Mauritian food culture. While I have blogged about what the Mauritian cuisine is like before, it is always an enchantment to hear about your home country from the perspective of a foreigner. Much to surprise today, I came across a colleague who has actually been to Mauritius for a three-week vacation. She described Mauritius as this land lost in the middle of the Indian Ocean where you have people from Indian, Chinese and African origins all mix up in one pot but where the common spoken language is a Creole-French. Well that’s pretty much a concise all-rounder description. Back to the food culture, kitchri is a wonderful homey lightly spiced rice dish that is popular in many Mauritian households and inherited from India. It is cooked with lentils and / or dal (yellow split peas or mung dal) which melt into the rice resulting into a hearty meal of earthy comfort. In Mauritius, this rice dish is very often accompanied by a Mauritian Rougail.
Medleyed with my love for spices and a little bit of added Mauritian pizzazz, on one day where a one pot rice dish was calling, I whizzed up something between a traditional vegan risotto and a kitchri.
Featuring turmeric infused dal and red lentils into an oozy brown rice 45-minute one-pot meal with no added oil, I quite inadvertently coined the term kitchrisotto – when risotto meets kitchri.
Turmeric Infused Dal and Red Lentil Kitchrisotto
1 cup brown rice
1 cup chana dal
1/2 cup red lentils
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 cube vegetable bouillon
4 – 5 stems fresh thyme
1 broccoli head
8 – 10 fresh mushrooms
1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt (or to taste)
Coriander for garnish
- Rinse the rice, dal and lentils several times until water is clear. Place the grains, along with turmeric, bouillon cube and thyme in a deep cooking pot with 5 cups of water.
- Cover and let cook on medium heat for about 30 minutes. You may need to occasionally uncover if water and froth is boiling over; in this case, just give it a good stir and position the lid so that it is partly uncovered. Also check the water level and add as required until rice and dal is soft.
- (Freezing tip: you may freeze a portion of this cooked rice, dal and lentils mix for later, then just defrost and add fresh vegetables for next time. A great time saver.)
- While grains are cooking, prepare the vegetables. Dice the carrots, slice the mushrooms and cut the broccoli into small florets.
- Add the vegetables to the rice pot. If most liquid have been absorbed add some more water to enable the vegetables to cook; since this is a risotto, we want it to be oozy.
- Cover and cook for another 12 – 15 minutes until vegetables are soft or al dente (if you prefer them that way).
- Turn off heat, garnish with fresh finely chopped coriander and serve.
This makes a great packed lunch.
On another note, watch for the next post which will feature our first guest for the exciting Merry-Go-Veggie-Kids Summer 2014 event hosted here for the month of July and August 2014. If you have a kid-friendly recipe that you would like to share for this event, drop me a line at veganlovlie at gmail dot com or by using the contact form at the bottom (in the footer) of the page.
Also, have you checked out the awesome posts at the Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck?