Thursday, November 15, 2012

How to Split Beans

The other day I wanted to make some Kichari.  This wonderful Indian meal can be spelled almost as many ways as there are recipes for it, and there are almost as many recipes for it as there Indian households!  My own personal favorite recipe for Kichari does not quite follow any recipe I have found in a book, but rather is a mix and match of several different recipes.  The basic concept, as far as I can tell, is that it is a mixture of dals (split peas or beans) and rice cooked in plenty of water so that there is a nice broth preferably with a lot of flavor added in the form of spices and roasted seeds.

My family once spent about six months eating Kichari literally almost every meal (breakfast, lunch and supper)  That's a long story that I'm not going to tell right now but if you want to hear it some time just let me know. 

Anyway!  I was out of moong dal (split mung beans, you know, the kind people love to make bean sprouts with?).  Now in my favorite recipe I must have a third cup of moong dal and I wasn't interested in going without it.  So I mounted a search of all of my cupboards.  All I could come up with was whole moong. This would not do at all.  They would have a considerably different cooking time than the split variety, and would significantly alter the texture as well.  Hmmmmmmmm.  "I know" I said, "I'll Google it!"  So I plugged in How to split beans or peas into a Google search and came up with . . . nothing.  Now I was going to need to use my own brain to solve the problem.  I was not going to go without my favorite recipe tonight!

I dumped some whole moong into a stainless bowl pulled out my short rolling pin (which is really just a well oiled dowel) and went to work.

In the beginning

5 minutes



about 25 minutes
So, now you know.  And if anyone should Google "How to split beans" ever after, guess what they'll find!  Now do you want to know my personal favorite recipe for Kichari?

Combine in the bottom of a large soup pot:
1/3 c. Moong Dal
1/3 c. Toor Dal (split pigeon peas)
1/3 c. Chana Dal (split garbanzo beans)
1    c. Brown Rice

Rinse several times until the rinse water remains clear.
9 1/2 c. Water
1/4        Lime or Lemon
1/2 T.    Turmeric
6           Cloves Garlic
1-2        Whole Chilies
3 slices  Ginger Root
Several  Curry Leaves

Cover and bring to a boil.  Turn heat down and simmer for about 45 minutes or until dals and rice are fully cooked.  Heat in a small skillet:
1-2 t.   Mustard Oil

Add all at once:
1 t. Cumin Seeds
1 t. Mustard Seeds
1 t. Kolonji (Onion Seeds)

Fry quickly until the mustard seeds begin to pop and jump out of the pan. Quickly dump this mixture into the Kichari and stir in:

1 t.     Amchur Powder
1/2 t.  Black Salt

Serve with a good dollop of plain yogurt and desired amounts of sweet or hot Indian pickles.  (Highly recommended choices for the novice are Brinjal Pickle, Sweet Mango Pickle, for the stout of heart Mild Mango or Hot Garlic Pickle, and for the truly adventurous Hot Mango Pickle, Extra Hot Garlic Pickle and Lime Pickle!)

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