If you’re looking for different ways to enjoy summer tomatoes, Anita Jaisinghani has an idea steeped in Indian flavors: khichri.
A one-pot porridge of rice and lentils, khichri is a filling stew than can easily serve as an entire meal. It’s versatile, too. Jaisinghani, the chef/owner of Pondicheri restaurant in Houston, created a hearty khichri using cherry tomatoes.
Jaisinghani’s recipe comes from a project with Walmart, for which five James Beard Award semifinalists have been paired with farms in their state to highlight locally grown produce available in select Walmart stores. The pilot program, called “Rediscovering America,” includes chefs from Atlanta; Tampa, Fla.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Richmond, Va.
Walmart supplied Jaisinghani with mini San Marzano tomatoes from Village Farms in Marfa, which she used them to create khichri. Her stew is actually a twist on traditional khichri and employs brown basmati rice, which she said does not break down as much as regular white rice, and substitutes red beans for lentils, which lends greater texture.
“It’s substantial. It’s a meal,” she said. “But it’s not as heavy as it looks. I would eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
As a chef, Jaisinghani has created about 20 versions of khichri, including ones with lobster, shrimp, garden vegetables and even one with just squash. “It’s a great canvas,” she said.
The mini San Marzano tomatoes inspired yet another version. If you don’t have cherry tomatoes, any garden tomato will work; just chop the tomato in big chunks, she said. Jaisinghani uses ghee (clarified butter) in her recipe, but extra-virgin olive oil may be substituted.