Have you ever play the game called Opposite? Yaseen taught us this game. We always play it while we are on a long road trip. In Opposite game, you are supposed to ask each other the yes-or-no questions. It’s a good way to learn more about someone. The fun part of the game is you have to always give the wrong answer. The game works when you intentionally want someone to say something wrong about themselves. For example; when I asked Yaseen “Are you 30 years old?” he should answer “Yes.” And if I asked Sadik “Is your hair pink?” then he would answered “Yes.” If I pointed at a dog and asked if that was an elephant, then they would answer “Yes!” It’s hilarious. You guys try it sometime.
Speaking of opposite, on my first Kerala visit, I was confused when people served hot water in hot summer. If you visit local restaurants, you will find a glass of hot pink water in front of you. The pink water is made with medicinal roots infused in hot water. It was strange to me at first because I was used to drinking water with ice in summer.
One of the popular dishes served in summer in the south is Kanji or broken rice porridge. It is a simple comfort food of steamy rice soup served with pickle and simple side dishes. Kanji is great for hydrating and nourishing your body in summer, but I just can’t seem to understand the idea of having hot soup in summer. I love the idea of hot food in cold weather so I make Kanji today as the rain makes the air cold and my house dark and cozy.
Kanji rice is usually sold in a package. You will get it in South Indian specialty store. It’s very notorious because the rice is unrefined. The small grains of broken rice is easy to cook, but you want to keep it on the stove for at least 40 minutes until the rice is really soft and starting to melt away. This rustic rice porridge should be served with something pungent and spicy. We simply serve it with Prawn Pickle.
Kanji (Kerala Rice Porridge)
½ cup broken rice
5 cups of water + more if needed
Salt to taste
Some pickle to accompanied the dish.
Wash and drain the rice.
In a large pot, add rice and water, and bring to boil. Then simmer for 40 minutes. Half a cup of Kanji rice yields 4 servings so you might need to add more water as the porridge becomes thicker.
The rice should be soft and the soup should be thick. Now add some salt to taste.
Serve immediately with some pickle.
By the way, here is the spoon we use for Kanji. First I think it’s outrageously big, but well, we love to do it traditional way. I have to admit that it’s so much better to eat soup with a big spoon. This porridge is simple and comforting, and some days, you only need something minimal like this to be satisfied.