Hearty Kitchari nourishes and cleanses

Kitchari
Kitchari is a hearty, nourishing, healing and cleansing dish

Ayurveda helps us maintain our overall wellbeing through dietary and lifestyle choices.  In Ayurveda food is truly viewed as daily medicine that nourishes, balances, and cleanses the body, while also preventing disease. 

One of the simplest things we can do to manage our health is to include foods that support our digestive system. If our doshas (our body’s energetic and metabolic components) get out of balance the first symptoms show up as indigestion.

A tasty way to help get the GI back on track is to eat kitchari.
You can eat this dish for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a day to have a “mini-cleanse” of the digestive system. Some people even like to prepare kitchari for lunch and/or dinner once a week
to reap the benefits of a this traditional Indian dish on a regular basis.

Kitchari is tri-doshic so it pacifies all three doshas and thus supports nourishing and balancing all the bodies tissues and systems. Kitchari – also known as kichdi – has been a staple in Indian cooking for centuries, so there are hundreds if not thousands of variations. But the basic ingredients of the recipe (yellow mung dal – split yellow lentils, basmati rice, ghee and a few spices)
are common to most every kitchari recipe you’ll find.

Below is another variation on kitchari that I’ve started making and it’s my favorite so far. If you don’t have a large international market or Indian market nearby there are some links to buy a couple of supplies in the ingredients list.

** Start this recipe by soaking the beans and rice together overnight for best results.

Ingredients:

1 Cup yellow split mung beans (yellow split dal)
1/2 Cup basmati rice
1 Tbsp ghee
6 cups (approx.) water
1/2 to 1 inch ginger root, chopped or grated
A bit of mineral salt (1/4 tsp. or so)
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) – optional. Hing aids digestion and has a *very* strong smell. 
Handful of fresh cilantro leaves
1 and 1/2 cups assorted vegetables (optional)

Directions:

1) Soak rice and split lentils/mung dal in 4 cups water overnight.

If not time to soak overnight you can wash them in a couple changes of water for about 5 minutes.

2) Rinse the beans/rice in a fine mesh strainer or colander.

3) Add water to the rice and dal and cook covered until soft, around 20 minutes.

4) Meanwhile, if adding veggies to suit your primary doshic constitution, cut them into small pieces – about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness

5) Add the vegetables to the cooked rice and dal mixture and cook 10 minutes longer.

6) In a separate saucepan, sauté the seeds in the ghee until they just begin to pop.

7) Add the other spices. Stir together just until you can begin to smell their aroma – usually this only takes 20-30 second (or less – don’t let them burn).

8) Stir the sautéed spices into the cooked dal, rice, and vegetable mixture. Add some mineral salt, pepper and top with fresh cilantro to serve.

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