The Sprouts: One Grain of Rice

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Our “World Trip” fits perfectly with the national library’s summer reading campaign: One World, Many Stories. As we do every summer, the kids signed up last week and have been busy reading or listening to books ever since! Talk about a reading motivator!!! Stop by your local library and get registered today! One of the books I’ve been asked to read over and over is, One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale.

During a drought in India, a girl named Rani, outsmarts the selfish raja, and earns enough rice to feed her village. How does she do it? When offered a reward for a good deed, she asks for only one grain of rice, doubled each day for 30 days. The power of multiplication quickly adds up, and on the 30th day an enormous procession of elephants is needed to carry the rice to Rani. It is a great way to get kids thinking not only about acts of kindness but also what it means to multiply a number by itself!

To go along with the story, we made Khitchri, which has been said to be “a poor man’s feast fit for a king.” The rice, lentil and vegetable dish has great flavor and we also learned how to make ghee (clarified butter).

Khitchri

Ingredients:

½ cup lentils (we used an orange lentil to add to the golden color of the dish)

¾ cup rice

1 ½ T ghee

½ cup chilies, diced (we used poblano for a very mild taste)

1 t cumin seeds

1 t grated fresh ginger

½ cauliflower, cut into small flowerets

½ t cumin

dash of worcestershire sauce

2 tomatoes, diced

3 ½ c water

1 t salt

1 t turmeric

1 large size sweet potato

2 T lemon juice

1 T butter

Sort through lentils, removing any stones etc. Set aside.

To make Ghee:

Use 3 T butter (double the amount of ghee you desire) and melt on low heat. Turn up the heat to high and bring to a boil, until the butter is foaming. Turn the heat back to low and simmer, uncovered without stirring for 45 minutes. The milk solids at the bottom of the pan will turn golden and the liquid at the top will be transparent.

Remove from the heat and strain using cheesecloth and a strainer. If you make extra, it can be poured into a glass jar, sealed and it will last for months.

To make Khitchri:

Cut and prep the vegetables and set aside.

My new favorite way of peeling ginger-- my vegetable peeler! I always read about chefs using a spoon, but it never feels 'right' to me. One of my jobs growing up was peeling carrots and potatoes so I have a knack for peeling and it works with ginger!

Heat ghee in large pan. Add the ginger, cumin seeds and chilies, cook for a minute and then add the cumin and worcestershire (replaces asafetida a spice used in India). Add the cauliflower and cook for 5 minutes. Add the dal and rice along with water. Add salt, turmeric, and tomatoes bring to a boil and then reduce to low heat. Stir once or twice at the beginning to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook for 25 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and cook for another 20 minutes.

Add the lemon juice and butter. Once the butter is melted, stir and serve.

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