Veggie mains

Batsai Kichdi

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This is a delicious recipe from the Prashad cookbook and is a meal / feast in itself, layers of rice and lentils, aubergine curry and yoghurt and cooked onions and peppers. It’s perfect for a party and will serve at least 8 people, more if you decide to make any other side dishes to go with it.

So what do you need?

Rice & lentils

  • 2 large green chillis
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 cm fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 50ml vegetable oil
  • 300g basmati rice
  • 200g red lentils
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 liter of boiling water
  • 90g unsalted butter (softened)

Fried vegetables

  • 2 large red onions ( cut into rings)
  • 3 bell peppers (red, yellow & green cut into chunks)
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Aubergine curry

  • 3 large green chillis
  • 5 cm fresh ginger
  • 11/2 tsp salt
  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 1tsp mustard seeds
  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 large aubergines (cut into 3cm cubes)
  • 2 medium waxy potatoes (cut into 2cm cubes)
  • 1tsp turmeric
  • 2tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder (optional)
  • 3 tomatoes chopped
  • 1 handful chopped coriander leaves
  • 500ml plain live yoghurt

So what do you do?

Start by pounding the chillis, garlic, ginger and salt into a paste with a mortar and pestle. Rinse and drain the rice and lentils. In a pan heat up the oil and fry the rice and lentils for about a minute then add the chilli paste and turmeric and pour over the boiling hater and boil for about 8 minutes until most of the water is evaporated and then cover the pan and turn down the heat and cook for about 8 more minutes and turn off the heat and leave the pan covered for another 10 minutes or so then take the lid off and allow to cool. Next fry the onions for about 5 minutes until they start to brown then add the peppers and fry for about 10 more minutes until the onions are caramelized. Put them in a bowl.

Now make the curry, start by pounding the chillis, ginger and salt into a paste with a mortar and pestle. Then heat the oil in a frying pan and add the mustard and cumin seeds once the mustard seeds start to pop add the aubergine, potatoes and add the chilli paste, turmeric, ground coriander seeds as cumin and fry for a few minutes until they are all coated in the the spices and starting to cook then add about a cup of hot water (cover the pan if you have a lid for it) cook for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally then add the chopped tomatoes and coriander. Taste the curry and add the chilli powder if you want it spicier.

Next whisk the yoghurt for about a minute to make it runny. Then stir the butter through the rice. Oil a large thick bottomed pan and then spread about a third of the rice into the bottom of the pan. Spoon on half the aubergine curry and spread it evenly over the rice and the spread over half the yoghurt and sprinkle over a third of the onions and peppers add another third of the rice, followed by the rest of the yoghurt and half the remaining onions and peppers, then spread over the final layer of rice and sprinkle over the remaining vegetables. Then cover the top of the pan with foil and wrap fold it round the edge to seal it and then put the lid on the pan. Then put the pan on a high heat for about a minute and then turn it down to the lowest heat and cook for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave it to stand for 10 minutes sprinkle over a few chopped coriander leaves and serve.

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