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Khitchri and Puri

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Hello again everyone,

This week I am going to share two recipes that, when made together, make up a fabulous and delicious meal. These two recipes are Khitchri and Puri. Khitchri is a full meal in itself but is extra delicious when served with Indian flat bread. These recipes are taken from a great cookbook titled The Hare Krishna Book of Vegetarian Cooking by Adiraja dasa.
[Available here: http://store.krishna.com/Detail.bok?no=369]

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Khitchri: Boiled rice, dal and vegetables.
(This inexpensive dish is so satisfying that Srila Prabhupada once said “A bowl of khitchri and a small portion of yogurt is a poor man’s feast fit for a king.” This recipe is for dry khitchri, which has the consistency of rice that is slightly overcooked, soft and a little moist).

1 cup (200 g) mung dahl, split peas, or whole mung beans.
1 1/2 cups (250 g) medium or long grained rice
1/2 cauliflower, washed and separated into small flowerets
3 Tbs ghee or vegetable oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
4 medium-sized tomatoes, washed and quartered
2 fresh chilies, seeded and minced
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp asafetida
7 cups (1.6 L) water
2 tsp salt
2 tsp turmeric
4 medium sized potatoes, washed, peeled and cubed
3 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs butter
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Pick through the dahl and wash it and the rice together. Let drain. Meanwhile, wash, trim and cut the vegetables. Heat the ghee or vegetable oil and fry the cumin seeds, chilies and ginger. After they sizzle for a minute, toss in the ground cumin and the asafetida. After a few seconds, put in the diced potatoes and the flowerets of cauliflower. Turn the vegetables with a spoon for 4 to 5 minutes until they become flecked with brown spots. Now add the drained dahl and rice and stir-fry for one minute.

Pour in the water. Add the salt, turmeric, and tomatoes and bring to a full boil over high heat. Reduce to low heat and cook with the pot partially covered for 30 to 40 minutes (if you use mung beans, cook a little more; split peas a little less) until the dahl is soft and fully cooked. Stir once or twice in the beginning to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Finally, squeeze the lemon juice over the khitchri, put the butter on top, and simmer over low heat until the grains have absorbed all the liquid. Season with the pepper. Mix all the ingredients gently but quickly with a fork.

For an extra special khitchri, serve it with a little kadhi sauce. Note: If you use brown rice, cook the khitchri for an extra 20 minutes.

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Puri: Deep fried puffed bread
(Making puris--watching little deep fried rounds of dough inflate like balloons--is one of the delights of Vedic cooking. Eating them is even more delightful; they have a taste and a texture that go perfectly with any meal).

2 1/2 cups (250 g) whole-wheat flour
1 cup (100 g) white flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp butter or ghee
3/4 cup (175 ml) warm water
Ghee or vegetable oil for deep-frying

Sift the two flours and the salt into a mixing bowl and rub in the tablespoon of butter (or ghee) with your fingertips. Slowly add the water, and mix until all the flour sticks together and you can knead it. Put a little ghee on your hands and knead the dough for 5 to 8 minutes until it is smooth and firm. (For a change, you can make masala puri by adding 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds, 3/4 teaspoon of turmeric, and 1/4 teaspoon or cayenne pepper to the dough).

In a karhai, wok or saucepan, put the ghee or oil over medium/high heat. Meanwhile, smear a few drops of ghee on the rolling surface (don’t use flour-it burns and discolors the ghee), shape the dough into 16 patties, and roll them all out thin and even.

When the ghee begins to smoke , lower the heat to medium. Lay a puri on the surface of the ghee, being careful not to burn your fingers. The puri will sink for a second, then rise to the surface and sputter. Immediately submerge it with soft swift pushes, using the back or a slotted spoon, until it inflates like a balloon. Fry the other side for a few seconds; then remove the puri from the ghee and stand it on edge in a colander to drain. (When your skill increases, try frying several puris at a time.) Cook all the puris the same way.

Serve puris with any meal or as a snack spread with apple sauce, honey, jam or fresh cheese.

Both of these recipes can be found in the book The Hare Krishna Book of Vegetarian Cooking by Adiraja dasa. The book can be purchased inexpensively here http://store.krishna.com/Detail.bok?no=369&bar=_shp_media-books

Happy Cooking,
Pishima.
pishima@krishna.com

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