Kichri or Kedgeree
Kichri is the name of the original dish that inspired the British colonial dish of Kedgeree popular in Victorian times. Kichri was made using lentils (often masoor or mung beans) and rice and additions of some or all of the following: turmeric, cumin, ginger. In its plainest form, it is made of just lentils, rice and salt. Often served with vegetable, fish or meat dishes, it can also be eaten on its own. In India and Pakistan, it is also often given to invalids and one of the first solid foods that babies eat being considered a ‘plain’ food, and easy to digest.
Hajra’s Recipe for Kichri
Wash 1 cup of basmati rice and 1 cup of masoor lentils till water runs clear. Leave to soak for 30 minutes. Fry half a teaspoon of cumin seeds in vegetable oil, add a small chopped onion and green chilli. Fry until onions are slightly coloured. Add half a teaspoon of salt and turmeric and stir for a couple of minutes. Add washed lentils and rice. Add enough water so that there is an inch of water above surface of lentils/rice. Boil until water level is reduced so it does not appear above the level of rice/lentils mixture. Cover with a lid to trap the steam. Turn on very low heat for 10 minutes to cook through. Turn the cooker off and leave for another 10 minutes. Serve with a knob of butter on top.
Florence was known to be fond of curry and was the inspiration for this kedgeree recipe, Rice à la Sœur Nightingale from an 1861 recipe book by Charles Elme Francatelli.