Kitcheree (rice porridge) and Oyster Mushrooms
I lived with my maternal grandmother (Bigmama) for the larger part of my childhood and she influenced so many parts of my personality in those former years, including my love of food. For my grandma food was a tool. A means to show love, a way of bringing her family together, a way of connecting to the community and a way of retaining the parts of her heritage she had left so far behind.
One of the first memories I can recall from living with Bigmama was the incense she used to use with prayers at 4am in the morning. Scents of earthy sandalwood would enter my dreams, taking me to enchanted places as the sun started to rear its head over the horizon.
At 6am, the smell of poppy seeds being tempered in ghee (clarified butter) would start making it’s way up the stairs and into my coax me awake, signalling the start of a new day. By the time I got down the stairs the table would be set with chutneys, all different type, spicy carrot, sweet mango and sour tamarind, as well as different types of poppadum’s, fried, baked, flat, round, all giving a different texture when mixed in with the kitcheree. As we sat and mixed up our porridge my grandma would talk about her life before coming to the UK, bringing up her children and the shop she had run, where she would import food from all over the world, creating a liturgy of foodie children.
This is an ode to that wonderful warming porridge, with a modern twist using mushrooms, since I haven’t quite developed my chutney or poppadum recipes. I’ll never replace the conversations, but Mr. B tries pretty hard and I love him for that.
- 1 cup basmati rice
- ¼ cup split green moong dal
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp. Ghee or oil
- 2 tsps. Mustard seeds
- ½ pound oyster mushrooms
- 1 tbsp. Olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- Soak the rice and dal together for an hour
- Bring to the boil with 4 cups of water, skim the white foam off the top
- Add salt and leave to simmer, c. 30 minutes
- Cook till you get a soft texture and taste to add more salt if needed
- Mash with a potato masher or the back of a spoon
- Heat oil/ghee in a separate pan and add the mustard seeds, when they crackle add them to the cooked porridge
- Mix it and serve hot
- For the oyster mushrooms, heat the oil with the garlic to infuse the flavour into the oil
- Place the oyster mushrooms in the pan. Keep in one place in the pan for 3-5 minutes until to braise and add colour, flip once near the end of cooking to cook the other side
- Serve with the porridge, providing a different texture and flavour profile