Kitchari is one of Ayurveda’s greatest gift! Kitchari simply means blended grains and describes any dish made with rice and/or grain blended with a legume to form a porridge-like dish. Traditionally it’s made with Mung beans and Basmati rice with light spices and ghee which creates a super flavoursome savour dish. The skilful use of spices and vegetables can produce balancing effects for the three bodily doshas.

Kitchari has been a centrepiece in Ayurvedic cuisine for centuries and is gaining a lot of popularity this day and age, particularly in the health and Yoga communities as it’s a very medicinal dish. Its used to nourish the sick, the elderly, babies as it’s easy to digest and gives strength and vitality. It nourishes all the tissues. Kitchari is excellent for detoxification and de-aging of the cells. It is also taken at times of stress and debilitation.

Not only that, it’s an extremely nutritional dish for the healthy, for health improvement and maintenance. As it combines a grain + legume, it creates a complete vegetarian protein source, as well as providing many minerals and vitamins.

Kitchari is also a great staple to have in your repertoire as it’s a nutritious, simple, soothing, satisfying, ‘go-to’ dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

 

A lot of you have LOVED the kitchari you’ve had at our events or at Sukhavati in Bali but have expressed that you just can’t make it yourself!

So, after some experimenting, we have created a super simple kitchari that’s a sure success!

This recipe is adapted from a Divya Alter Kitchari recipe. Divya is a wonderful Ayurvedic chef who runs an Ayurvedic Restaurant in New York and her book ‘What to Eat for How You Feel’ is an absolute gem when it comes to easy, seasonal, ayurvedic cooking. Would highly recommend purchasing it.

The original recipe for this Kitchari was posted on the True Ayurveda website – another great Ayurvedic resource!

 

What you’ll need for our adaption of this recipe is a pressure cooker. Seriously, it’s worth investing in one if you want to eat Ayurvedically. A pressure cooker saves so much time cooking lentils and legumes which are a staple in Ayurvedic cuisine. It helps to quickly and nutritiously breaky down the legumes, so they are creamy, smooth and easy to digest!

You can buy a stovetop or an electric pressure cooker. We personally use an electric one more as you can pop it on when you get home and go meditate, hang with the family, walk the dog, or do whatever while dinner is cooking and you don’t need to think about it.

Not to worry if you don’t have a pressure cooker as you can still make this recipe with a good old pot on the stove!

 

 

Simple Kitchari

Serves 4

Prep time: Soaking the legumes: 30 to 60 minutes, Frying the spices: 10 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes in a pressure cooker, about 40 minutes on the stove

 

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup yellow split mung dal
  • ¼ cup red lentils
  • ¼ cup white basmati rice
  • ¼ cup quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (or coconut oil but ghee makes it taste so much better!)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 6 fresh curry leaves
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger – minced or grated
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon good quality Salt
  • 1 small green Thai chilli, seeded and minced or finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 cups vegetables – diced: You can use whatever you have – carrots, zucchini, green beans, broccoli, asparagus usually work well in Kitchari
  • 4 cups of water

 

Garnish:

  • 1 tablespoon of good quality, extra version olive oil
  • Coarse black pepper
  • fresh basil/coriander/mint leaves – rustically torn
  • a squeeze of lemon/lime per person

 

Method:

  1. Soak the mung dal and red lentils in water for at least 30 minutes. Wash well and drain. Make sure you wash thoroughly as this will increase digestibility. Wash thoroughly and drain the rice and quinoa.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the ghee in the pressure cooker (or a heavy pot over low heat).
  3. Add the turmeric and toast for 10 seconds, then add the curry leaves, cumin seeds, ginger, and chilli and continue to toast until they crisp up (about 30 seconds).
  4. Add the lentils, split mung dal, quinoa and rice and frequently stir until they are almost dry. This may take up to 5 minutes. (This is an essential step as it makes the dish much lighter and easier to digest and creates a wonderful nutty taste.)
  5. Add the ground fennel, vegetables, 1 tablespoon of ghee and water.
  6. Pop the lid on the pressure cooker and set the timer to 15 minutes.
  7. If cooking on a stove top: bring to a full boil, then cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, occasionally stirring, for about 40 minutes, until the lentils begin to dissolve, the rice is soft, and the vegetables are cooked. If the kitchari dries out too much and starts to stick to the bottom of the pot, add more water; you want your kitchari to be a creamy, moist consistency – like porridge.
  8. Once ready, turn off heat, and stir in the olive oil, salt and black pepper.
  9. Garnish each bowl with fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon/lime.

Enjoy immediately and serve hot.

 

 

Note:

  • For weight loss, limit ghee to 1 tablespoon for the whole dish so don’t add that second tablespoon with the vegetables.
  • All ingredients can be found at Indian grocers, Asian stores or whole food stores. (Actually, even supermarkets will stock all these ingredients, even the curry leaves, ghee and mung!)
  • It’s important not to add the salt before cooking. This slows the process of the lentils breaking down which adds to the cooking time.
  • Homemade ghee is much better than store bought. It’s actually super simple to make. You can find our recipe here.

 

Enjoy! Let us know if you make it and how you go!