Kitchari means mixture, and in this case, it is usually of a grain and a legume. (HELLO, PERFECT PROTEIN!) I like using brown rice and split red lentils (red split lentils cook hella fast!) but that's me. Mung beans are supposed to be one of the heathiest legume choice, and basmati rice is a very popular grain option. But please, be creative (think quinoa as your grain!) I always make this with different vegetables and spices, even though in the classical Ayurvedic recipe the spices remain pretty much the same.
So easy. So delicious. So versatile. A detoxifying food that is great for graceful transitioning into the colder months and also wonderful for digestion. I really like using a pressure cooker, as it makes it possible to have delicious homemade kitchari ready for your consumption in nearly 10 minutes, but remember to check the cooking time for the legume and grain you are using and adjust accordingly. You can always put something back on the stove, however it is impossible to unburn something!
I fell in love with this dish when I was in India. After an intensive cleanse, in order to balance and nurture our squeaky clean inner-body, all we could eat was basic kitchari with a very generous drizzling of ghee. It was during this process that I learned to love ghee. (it's great for replenishing Ojas and also helps your pranayama practice!) Luckily, ghee is easy to find nowadays, but if you are a vegan or can't find or make it, I have used olive oil and coconut to prepare this dish as well.
For a traditional variation you will need: (serves about 6)
(spice measurements are estimated, please listen to your tastebuds and inner guide and adjust accordingly!)
enough ghee to cover the bottom of your pressure cooker (or oil of choice)
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp Coriander
1 c Grain (rice)
1 c Legume (Red split lentil)
4 c water
Garam Masala (or curry powder)
*Ginger, chopped or blended with a splash of water
cilantro or parsley/spinach (to add at the end)
Garlic, onion (These are generally A NO NO in ayurvedic diet as they create disruption of the mind, but frankly I really enjoy them so I don't care. :) )
Chopped Veggies (Be creative! Sky is the limit! whatever you have in your fridge, but remember to add more water than recipe calls for)
Add oil to pressure cooker and let warm on medium heat
Add Mustard and cumin seeds and simmer till mustard seeds start popping
add garlic and onion if using and stir occasionally till translucent
add veggies and stir occasionally till nicely lubricated with flavorful ghee
add all other spices, your grain, your legume, and water.
Cover with pressure cooker lid and bring to boil on high heat. Once you hear the pressure cooker has reached maximum pressure, place on low heat and let cook for 10 more minutes (adjust time as needed)
When cook time is reached, either remove from heat and let cool down, or if you are pressed for time, place pressure cooker underneath cold running water to expedite the pressure release process. (ALWAYS READ PRESSURE COOKER INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE USING!)
When kitchari is still piping hot I like to add huge handfuls of spinach, and sometimes parsley or cilantro to give it a nice herbal flavor.
Serve in a bowl and top with avocado, a splash of ghee or evo, salsa, yogurt, handful of almonds, splash of lemon, or whatever makes your heart content.
Try it out and let me know how it goes!