Coconut Pea Porridge

Serves 4

This dish was inspired by the fermented lentil and rice batter, which is the staple of South Indian cuisine. Paired with green peas and coconut milk, it makes delicious gluten free vegan addition to any breakfast table.

  • 1 cup brown basmati rice, dry
  • 1⁄2 cup red lentils, dry
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sesame or coconut oil
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried hot pepper (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Soak lentils and rice over night in 4 cups of water in a large glass container. Pulse lentils and rice in a food processor the next day until it forms a uniform batter. Return batter to a clean glass container and cover the top with a cloth and secure with a rubber band. Allow the container to sit at room temperature for 3-4 days. The longer the batter sits the sourer it will get. It is important that there is always a liquid layer at the top otherwise it will dry out slowing the fermentation. The container should be relatively deep as the mixture will rise about 1-2 inches.

Once fermentation is complete, pour mixture into a pot with 1-2 cups additional water over a medium flame. Stir constantly so not to scorch the mixture. Cook over low heat for 20-30 min, until it has the consistency of thick cream of wheat and the color has changed from a light salmon pink to a pale yellowish white. Then remove from the heat and stir in cilantro and salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add oil and swirl to coat the surface of the pan. Add garlic, hot pepper and onions and sauté for 3 minutes. Add turmeric. After sautéing for 1 minute, add peas and allow to cook for 5 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon lentil rice mixture into bowls and top with peas and coconut milk. Serve immediately.