Vegetable Rice Porridge is a time tested recipe of my mother's, Mrs Mumtaz Begum. She was born in a town Ayyampet in South India in 1942 where she pretty much learnt all her culinary skills from her own mother.
We are Muslims and during our annual fasting month, we would have this porridge every dusk when we break our fast. Even though I am unable to fast presently due to my long term ailment, I still make this for my daughters who grew up eating Nanimma's (or Grandma in Hindi) Fast Porridge.
It is gentle on the stomach after a long day of fasting and yet still nutritious and filling. The rice provides the carbs, the lentils the protein and the vegetables fiber, minerals and vitamins. This rice porridge is traditionaly served with dates, a cool light drink , fruits and other light snacks so as not to suddenly load our digestive system after 12 hours of abstinence from food and water. Here in Pennsylvania, Muslims fast for 16.5 hours as dawn breaks around 4 and dusk settles at around 8.30 in the evening!!
Growing up in Singapore, I would observe cooks in the mosque stirring a huge pot of rice porridge to give out to all the devout Muslims. The traditional rice porridge prepared in mosques contains minced meat. As the fasting month is approaching soon (starts 18th June this year), I have posted this for all Muslims out there to try a vegetarian option. For everyone else, it is always handy to have a recipe for Vegetable Rice Porridge, isn't it?
This Vegetable Rice Porridge is a rather bland dish so if you are planning to have on any other days, please do prepare a spicy side dish (for instance Spicy Garbanzo Beans ) or even serve it with just a mango or lime pickle. That should suffice.
Ingredients (for 2)
3/4 cup Jasmine rice
1/4 cup split skinned mung bean (moong dal), lightly roasted
2 tbsps. canola oil
1 piece of small cinnamon stick
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 onion, chopped finely
3-4 curry leaves
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
2 tsp coriander powder
1 small carrot, sliced thin
1 tomato chopped
2 sprigs coriander leaves, chopped
8 cups of water
Salt to taste
1/2 cup light (50%fat) coconut milk (optional)
Firstly, wash the rice and the mung bean together and set aside.
Take a deep pot and heat the oil.
Add in the cinnamon stick and fenugreek seeds.
When the cinnamon stick browns and opens up, add in the chopped onions and curry leaves.
After a few minutes of frying, add in the ginger garlic paste and fry further.
Once the beautiful aroma of onions, cinnamon and the ginger garlic paste fills the air (around 3 mins later), add in the coriander powder and sauté.
Pour in the water, rice and mung bean and let the porridge come to a boil.
After the first boil, add in the carrot and tomato and coriander leaves.
Add in the salt and let the porridge boil for 30-45 minutes till the vegs are cooked and rice is all mushy. If the porridge is too thick, add in a bit of hot water to dilute.
For the health conscious, you can serve the porridge just like that with more coriander leaves as a garnish.
Or for a little decadent taste, stir in the coconut milk (only just before serving) and garnish with more coriander leaves.