Ayurveda believes that all healing begins with the digestive tract, and kitchari can give it a much-needed rest from constantly processing different foods while providing essential nutrients. The blend of rice and split mung beans offers an array of amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Its mixture of spices is believed to kindle the digestive fire, the Ayurvedic description for your innate digestive power, which can be weakened by poor food combinations.
Mung dal beans, one of the two main ingredients, are high in protein and carbohydrates, offering satiety and energy. Protein is important for keeping the blood sugar, and therefore the mood, stable. Basmati rice is easy for the body to digest, allowing the system to work with ease. Each of the spices have their own health benefits as well. You can add seasonal vegetables to the recipe to give variety and to boost the vitamin and mineral content.
In my opinion this is just tasty, easy and quick food to make for the dinner, also health benefits included.
Make kitchari when you are sick, when you are sad, when you are cleansing, for your kids or a loved one when they are under the weather, when you can’t be bothered to cook, when you come back from a long trip, when you need to regain your strength, but maybe not for dinner on a first date.
You’ll be surprised how warming and comforting it is, and pretty soon it’ll be the stuff your cravings are made of.
Vegetables in Kitchari
This recipe is the most basic for detox or rejuvenation. Adding 2-3 cups of vegetables is a good idea. The strict detoxers might not add vegetables to their kitchari.
- Add diced roots in the last 20 minutes of cooking: carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, or sweet potato.
- Stir in greens when done cooking. Allow to sit for a few minutes: kale, chard, collards, celery,or shredded fennel
- Stir in delicate greens just before serving: spinach, arugula, alfalfa sprouts, sunflower sprouts.
For weak digestion, gas or bloating:
Before starting to prepare the kitchari, first par-boil the split mung dahl (cover with water and bring to boil), drain, and rinse. Repeat 2-3 times. Or, soak beans overnight and then drain. Cook as directed.
If kitchari makes you constipated … add beets and sprouts. Radish sprouts are particularly good for this.
If kitchari tastes bland to you… add more spice. Then just add more cilantro, mint and lime juice.
If you’re looking at this recipe and thinking… I need more calories then add fat. Replace half the water with a cup of coconut milk.
- 1 cup Basmati Rice
- 1/2 cup Mung Dal (split yellow)
- 2 cups (approx.) Water
- 1/2 to 1 inch Ginger Root, chopped or grated
- pinch of Sea Salt
- 2 tsp. Coconut oil/water
- 1/2 tsp. Coriander Powder
- 1/2 tsp. Cumin Powder
- 1/2 tsp. Whole Cumin Seeds
- 1/2 tsp. Mustard Seeds
- 1/2 tsp. Turmeric Powder
- 1 pinch Asafoetida (Hing)
- Handful Fresh Cilantro Leaves
- 2 cups Assorted Vegetables (optional) use zucchini, asparagus, sweet potato, cauliflower or carrot etc.
- Slice of lemon or lime
Wash rice and dal each separately in at least 2 changes of water. Add the 2
cups of water to the rice and dal and cook covered until it becomes soft, about 20 minutes.
While that is cooking, prepare any vegetables that you want to add. Cut them into small pieces. Add the vegetables to the cooked rice and dal mixture and cook 10 minutes longer. I t is really good without veggies as well ;).
In a separate saucepan, sauté the seeds in the water/coconut oil until they pop. Then add the other spices. Stir together to release the flavors. Stir the sautéed spices into the cooked dal, rice, and vegetable mixture. Add the sea salt, chopped fresh cilantro, squeeze of lemon and serve.
Add more water to make your Kitchari lighter and more cleansing, and slightly less if you want a heavier and more grounding meal.