A few weeks ago as I was starting our new “flexatarian” (semi-vegetarian) kick, I tried out an Egyptian recipe called Kusherie. Basically, it was lentils and rice with caramelized onions and a tomato sauce on top. The kids weren’t exactly falling all over themselves, but everyone pronounced it “not bad, but it needs some more flavor.”
Recently, I was flipping through Roz Denney’s Ultimate Vegetarian Cookbook and came across a recipe for Kitcheri, which she said was the original Indian dish that inspired Kedgeree.
Lentils and rice. Kusherie/Kitcheri/Kedgeree. Are we seeing the pattern here?
So I pulled my laptop into the kitchen and opened the book to the right page and started tweaking.
2-3 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup lentils, rinsed and drained
1 cup basmati or long-grain rice
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 whole cloves
3 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
1 stick cinnamon
1 qt stock (vegetarian or chicken. I went with veg and found it a little thick.)
2 Tbs tomato paste
salt and pepper
Chopped coriander/cilantro (same thing) or parsley (optional)
Heat the oil in a good sized saucepan (this is a one-pot meal!), and saute the onion and garlic until the onion is starting to go golden. Add the lentils and stir until they’re well coated in the oil and starting to brown a bit. Stir in the spices and cook for about a minute. Add the rice and coat in the oil and spices.
Add the stock and tomato paste and season to taste. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the stock is absorbed and the lentils and rice are soft. Fish out the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Stir in the cilantro or parsley if you like, and serve.
*Note: The spices. You’ll want to hit a large grocery store or international store for the odd stuff like cardamom pods. I have them because I’m a freak and my spice cabinet is out-of-control weird. The rest of it is available in most grocery stores. If it comes down to it, you could use a bit of ground cardamom or skip it entirely.