Kitchari is an Ayruvedic Indian food that is yummy, simple and good for you. Not only does it cook quickly, it is comforting, filling and easily digested – the perfect trifecta for days I practice and/or teach a lot. This porridge is a staple in Indian households and once you eat it you will understand why.
To make it you will need Moong Dal (split mung beans). When something is “Dal” it means it is split in half. When the Mung beans are split they loose their outer skin making them even easier on the digestive system. I don’t know why but I have never seen them in a big box grocery store. Mung Beans, yes. Split Mung Beans, no. But your local Indian Grocery will have them or you can order them from a specialty shop online.
Each person makes their Kitachari a little differently, here is the recipe I have been using lately:
1 Cup Moong Dal (picked through and rinsed – moong dal does not need to soak)
1/2 Cup Basmati Rice (white – because it is easier on the stomach)
5 cups water or vegetable stock (I default to veggie stock because it gives it a richer flavor but water works)
1 TBL ghee (clarified butter – it can cook at a higher temperature because the milk solids are removed)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp grated ginger
1 cup of carrots, green beans, zucchini, etc. (optional)
First, in sauce pan melt the ghee on medium heat and add the spices directly too it. Stir occasionally for 1 to 2 minutes – toasting the seeds until they start to pop. Add the rice, veggies and Moong Dal – stir them with the ghee and spices, then add the stock.
Stirring is a perfect time to whisper healing thoughts to the food. What do you hope the food brings to those who eat it? Love? Nourishment? Set your intention and stir that into the mixture.
Cover with a lid. Bring to a boil then reduce and allow to cook on low until the moisture is absorbed. You can add more stock if you need to (some people like it thinner some people like it thicker – you be you).
Serve with a touch more ghee, a little salt, and fresh cilantro.