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Rice and Green Gram Dal Kheer

Rice is one of the oldest cereal grains in the world which has been grown for at least 5,000 years and almost all of the rice today is cultivated in Asia. It is also a staple food for more than half the population of the world. There are thousands of types of rice and many are becoming rare to find. But mostly rice fits into two groups: white (polished) or brown (whole grain). Though brown rice offers more health benefits, white rice is what is used more commonly. Brown rice comes in a variety of shades, including reddish, purplish, or black. Rice is primarily composed of carbohydrate in the form of starch, which makes up almost 80% of its total dry weight. The body digests sticky or starchy rice faster than other long grain varieties like basmati. During the processing of white rice, the grain loses the bran, or seed coat, which contains most of the fiber, and so brown rice contains a higher amount of dietary fiber than white rice.
Recipe credit: Darshana Muzumdar
Serves 4-6 as part of a traditional Indian meal.


1½ cups rice preferably the sticky or starchy variety

½ cup green gram dal

2 cups grated jaggery

1 large coconut

1 tsp cardamom powder (5-6 cardamoms)

1 tsp oil, preferably cold pressed coconut or groundnut oil

10 cups water

½ tsp salt


Use a starchy and fragrant variety of rice like Ambemohar or Indrayani. Long grain rice like Basmati is not a good choice for this dish as the grains will not mash easily after it is cooked. Clean, wash and rinse the rice and dal separately. Slightly roast the green gram dal in oil on low to medium heat till it becomes fragrant. Take care not to over roast it as it will not mash and blend well later. You can also avoid this step if you wish. Cook the rice and dal together in 8 cups of water adding up to 2 more cups of boiling hot water if required. Do not allow the consistency to become thin. The water should all be more or less absorbed. While the rice and moong dal are cooking grate the coconut and blend it with just enough water to cover it. Strain this through a muslin cloth or a fine strainer. This is the first thick extract. Blend the leftover fiber once again with just enough water to allow the blades to rotate freely in the blender. Strain this and keep it aside as the second thin extract. Melt the jaggery with 1/4 cup water in a thick bottom steel pan. Strain this liquid into the cooked rice and moong dal mixture, add the thin extract of coconut milk and salt and simmer for ten minutes on low heat. Do not boil it. Add the thick coconut milk and cardamom powder, mix well, and turn off the heat. Serve hot, at room temperature or cold as the sweet component in a traditional Indian meal.

The consistency of this kheer is like that of a thick porridge.

For the Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) version:

Do not use oil. Dry roast the dal.

Use unrefined salt like rock salt.

Use brown rice instead of white rice. Soak the rice for at least 4-5 hours to help speed up the cooking process.

Use moong dal with the skin on.

Coconut milk is not a whole plant ingredient. Soak the coconut in very warm to hot water for 10-15 minutes and then grind it. It will become really fine if it is soaked in hot water. Use this ground coconut without straining it.

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