This is a take on indian ‘khichdi’, a simple traditional stew made with lentils, rice and vegetables. I used millet instead of rice and added some masala to brighten it up.
It’s a one pot meal – all the veggies, lentils and grains are dropped into a pressure cooker with some ghee and spices and voila, in twenty minutes you have a complete meal.
It’s already vegetarian but if you use oil instead of ghee and omit the yogurt topping, it’s vegan!
This dish is a nutrition power house! Protein rich from the lentils and millet, high in fibre, full of vitamins and minerals! Millet is one of the best sources of copper and manganese, while the ginger and yogurt aide digestion.
Did I mention it’s creamy, comforting and delicious?
I have used carrots and bottle gourd (an indian vegetable) this time, but most vegetables work really well in this type of stew or khichdi. Use whatever produce you have at home – Zucchini, Spinach, Kale, Beans etc. would all be fine. Just keep in mind some vegetables like greens decrease a lot in volume when cooked so you would need to use more of them to start with. If you don’t have millet feel free to use rice.
Lentil Millet Vegetable Stew
(Makes 1 large serving, just multiply the ingredients to make more)
~1.5 – 2 cup vegetables diced
1/4 cup lentils (I used green split mung – mung (gram) lentils work best)
1/4 cup millet
1 small onion, diced
1/2 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1.5 tsp ghee/oil
1 tsp curry powder (can substitute with indian spices of choice like cumin, coriander or turmeric powder)
salt to taste
plain yogurt + coriander/cilantro to top (optional)
Wash the millet and lentils
In a pressure cooker turn on medium heat and add the ghee or oil
When the ghee/oil becomes hot, add in the diced onion and sautee until browned
Add in the vegetables, ginger, spices, millet and lentils.
I love arugula. Call me weird, but the bitterness is appealing to me? It’s one of the only leaves I’ll have raw. Raw spinach? bleh. Lettuce? tasteless. collard? ew.
But I’m not exactly fond of salads. They’re not filling enough or they’re doused in way too sweet dressing or they’re bland. So instead I like my arugula on pizza or in dishes like this. This dish is absolutely complete. Soft, fluffy millet, warm spicy curry, mellow sweet potato, bright acidic cherry tomatoes and sharp arugula.
I recently discovered millet as a grain. Prior, I’d only had millet flour rotis which are very popular in India and ‘baajre ki khichdi’ which is a millet stew cooked traditionally in lots of indian ghee and milk or cream. I had never actually had millet by itself. But a few weeks ago my mom picked up a bag of organic mixed millet and I fell in love! Its softer and less chewy than grains like quinoa and brown rice. It also has milder, less nutty taste.
The next component of the dish is the curry! This is a spicy, improvised curry that I sort of made up as I went a long. It has garlic, onion, coconut milk and a generous dash of spices. The sweet potato really balances out the spiciness.
And last but not least, the cherry tomatoes. We don’t normally have cherry tomatoes at home because they’re not always available here. We have to go to speciality grocery stores and even then, they’re quite expensive. But boy are they worth it! They’re spunky and colorful and they just elevate the dish.
I really hope you try out this dish. Even if you don’t have all the components – improvise! No millet? Use rice or another similar grain. No arugula? Skip it, or another raw green. No cherry tomatoes? Use normal diced tomatoes! Don’t have all the spices? Use a store bought curry powder, garam masala or thai spice mix instead!Don’t like sweet potato or spinach? Use other veggies – normal potatoes would be fine and you can substitute in any other vegetable under the sun. Pumpkin or zucchini would be wonderful here!
Oh, and I forgot to mention – this is accidentally vegan 🙂
Now on to the recipe!
Sweet Potato & Spinach curry
(makes 3 portions)
2/3 tablespoon diced garlic/garlic paste
1 large or 2 small onions, diced
1 tsp grated ginger
3 small or two medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1.5 cup spinach (or just 2 handfuls) cleaned and chopped roughly
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp coriander powder, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds/cumin powder, 1/4 tsp fenugreek powder, 1/8 tsp cinnamon, 1/2-1 tsp chili powder, dash of black pepper and salt to taste
3-4 handfuls arugula, cleaned
cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
2 cups cooked millet or any other grain
Heat some olive oil in a pan and when it’s hot, add in the garlic, onion and ginger.
Keep mixing and when the onion and garlic are lightly browned, add in the sweet potato, around 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup of the coconut milk.
Cover and let simmer on low heat for around 15 minutes.
Add in the spices and 1/4 cup more of the coconut milk, stir well
Cook for another 10 minutes until the sweet potato is tender, stirring well throughout
Add in the spices and the rest of the coconut milk, stir until the curry is thickened and the spinach is cooked (about a minute)
Remove from heat
Remove the stems from the arugula (unless you can take the bitter taste of the stems then leave them on) and arrange a handful on the plate
Divide the millet into three portions and place a portion onto the plate
Top with cherry tomatoes and a generous helping of the curry