As a diner I love the creamy and toothsome texture of risottos. And as a cook, I love the limitless creativity that can be applied to the making of them. A risotto is essentially a blank canvas on which to paint your favorite flavors, Italian-themed or otherwise, making this a great vehicle for fusion-style cooking — there are even dessert risottos out there.
I've had some wonderful successes with risottos before, but this is my first Indian-style version.
I used some of the classic tastes of Indian cooking in this risotto, cooking the rice in a hot tamarind vegetable stock and seasoning it with a favorite combination of spices and fried seeds, including the use of nigella and fennel seeds to give the risotto a lovely onion-and-anise perfume. A quarter part of channa dal or split yellow peas lends an earthiness that balances the various heat and fragrance of the seeds and spices as well as the sweetness of the rice, and makes this risotto essentially an unconventional kind of "khichri" or kitcheree — the traditional Indian rice and dal one-pot comfort food.
The dal or split peas also provide a protein component to the dish, making this risotto kitchari an attractive option for a complete light and simple dinner if served with a side salad or vegetables. It's also a vegan-friendly meal if you use oil instead of ghee to fry the spices.
Nigella seeds, also known as kalonji or black onion seeds, are easily found in any Indian grocer, as are channa dal, tamarind paste or dried tamarind pulp.
|Spicy Tamarind and Channa Risotto Kitcheree|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Published on September 13, 2012
Indian-style risotto rice cooked in a hot tamarind vegetable stock and seasoned with spices and fried seeds
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Other risotto or rice dishes you may enjoy:
Simple Chana Dal, Dill and Tomato Khichri
Pilau Rice with Nuts and Seeds
Spicy Azuki Bean Risotto
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