Amaranth leaf kedgeree
Updated: Nov 14, 2021
Kedgeree, or kichidis, is a dish that was made famous by the British during their occupation of India. However, this class of dishes goes back in Indian history to the early 4th century and the name is derived from the sanskrit word "kiccā". It is a type of dish that contains rice, mixed with lentils or less frequently millets, as a base and can also include greens or other vegetables. Kichidi has innumerable variations based on culture, region, weather and local crops, it is ubiquitous and a staple in Indian cuisine. However, it has fallen to a the status of a mundane dish, never serve at a party or celebrated, something folks enjoy behind the scenes. Today's health movement is pulling these dishes from obscurity, they are supremely healthy and they are being re-invented as the grain of choice on many a fine restaurant table. Here is an amazing article on the history of this dish.
I make the versions that I cook even more healthier by changing the ratio of rice and lentils. The rice adds the sticky texture to the dish and is usually over-represented, while the lentil add the texture and heft to the dish. I add an equal volume of both, rather than the 3/4 rice to 1/4 lentil version. The result is more vegetable protein without significantly changing the texture. The vegetables add the nutrition that makes these dishes very healthy, like this one.
This kichidi was amazing and nutritious. The bright red color from the red amaranth make this beautiful and the mild spices make it the perfect complement to any curry. You can also enjoy it plain with some yogurt and a variety of pickles.
This is another cookbook from Chandra Padmanabhan that I adore. The recipes are varied across the southern states in India and each recipe turns out very well. The recipes, like this one, are authentic and wonderfully flavored. This cookbook is for those who want to go beyond the ordinary and enjoy very localized cuisines from the South.
For more recipes from this cookbook click here.
3/4 cup split green gram (moong dal)
3/4 cup rice
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste
7 cups water
2-3 tablespoons ghee or oil
2 onions, finely sliced
2 pinches ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground green cardamom
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups red or green amaranth leaves, finely chopped
Add the water, moong beans, rice, turmeric and salt to a pressure cooker, or Insta-pot, and cook till the lentils and rice are cooked and mushy, 25 minutes in the Insta-pot. You are looking for a gruel the consistency of a thick porridge.
While the rice is cooking, Heat the ghee and sauté the onions on a medium heat till lightly golden. Add the ground cloves, ground, cinnamon, ground green cardamom and pepper and toss well. Add the amaranth leaves and sauté till they are cooked and soft, about 5-7 minutes.
Add the rice into the cooked leaves and stir well to mix. Taste and adjust salt. You are looking for a thick porridge like consistency. This kedgeree tends to thicken as it sits, adjust consistency to your loiking with water right before you serve it.