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Geeli khitchri
Boiled rice, dal, and spinach


In Calcutta the devotees hold a Hare Ka festival at a different city park every weekend. The local people, informed of the upcoming festival, come with generous contributions of rice, dal, and vegetables, which the devotees transform into a sumptuous wet khitchri. The khitchri is first offered to Ka, then distributed to at least 5, 000 people each weekend. Here is a recipe for that geeli, or wet khitchri.
Soaking time: 1 hr
Preparation and cooking time: 1 hr

11/2 cups (250 g) medium or long-grained rice
11/4 cups (250 g) mung dal, split-peas, or whole mung beans
1/4 cup (50 g) butter or ghee
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
2 cloves
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
8 oz (225 g) fresh spinach, washed, stemmed, and finely chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped

Wash the dal and rice, soak them for 1 hour, and let them drain. Heat the butter or ghee in a heavy saucepan, add the bay leaves, chopped ginger, and cloves, then add the drained rice and dal. Fry for about 8 - 10 minutes, stirring well, until the butter has been absorbed. Stir in enough water to cover the grains by 2 inches (5 cm). Add the salt, turmeric and nutmeg, stir, and boil for 1 minute. Cover tightly and start to cook over medium-low heat.
Lower the heat gradually as the grains absorb the water. Cook slowly for about 30 minutes, checking from time to time to insure that the mixture is always covered with a little water. (If necessary, add a few tablespoons). Then gently stir in the chopped spinach and tomatoes and cover again. Continue cooking for another 15 minutes, or until the grains are well cooked but the mixture is still quite moist. Mix well before serving.