A Soothing Bowl

There have been many times when I’ve felt a little off, that I want to eat something warm, nourishing, and easy to digest. A warming bowl of kitchari is what I make to settle myself and sooth my digestion. It’s clean, wholesome and quite frankly delicious. I sometimes incorporate it with a simple 3-day fast in the spring and fall to bring my system back into balance. Kitchari comes from the Ayurvedic system of eating and health that has been around for thousands of years.

Kitchari is made from organic basmati rice, split mung dal, ghee and spices. You can also top it with the vegetables of your choice, cooking them in the kitchari itself. I enjoy putting a dollop of my homemade cilantro-chili sauce, Greek yogurt and microgreens on top. Vegan’s can simply leave the yogurt off. Kitchari is best when made fresh, so plan your proportions so you don’t have leftovers. I make enough for each day and leave it covered on the stove top. If it firms up simply add a little additional water before reheating. Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients; you can also find premade spice mixes if the list seems to daunting.

For those of you that are curious and want additional information about Ayurveda, http://banyarnbotanicals.com is a great website to explore.

BASIC KITCHARI

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup split mung beans
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon hing (asafoetida)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper corns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 more tablespoons ghee
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2-4 cups fresh vegetables (greens, spinach, kale, zucchini)
  • 2 more cups water (as needed)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Measure out the rice and split mung dal and place in bowl. Add water to cover and soak overnight. You can skip this step (although it cooks much quicker) by rinsing the rice and dal in a colander until the water is clear. If soaking, drain and rinse the following day.
  2. Melt a tablespoon of ghee in a medium saucepan and add the whole cumin seeds and hing. Lightly toast them, taking care they don’t burn. Add the rice, mung and water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick. It should end up looking like porridge or oatmeal in consistency.
  3. Warm the last two tablespoons of ghee in a small skillet. Add the coriander, peppercorns and bay leaf and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Then stir in the rest of the spices and the onion (and garlic if using). Put the sautéed spices in a blender with about 1/3 cup water and blend well. Pour the spice mixture into the rice and mung. Rinse out the blender with the last two cups of water and add it to the kitchari as well. Add your vegetables. Cook for 10-20 more.
  4. Top with garnishes of your choice like cilantro, yogurt or microgreens.

“I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort where we overlap.” —Ani DeFranco

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