Kelly’s Kitchari

Inspiration from many sources, adaptations all over the place so this is not a strictly traditional recipe – just so you know. Feel free to play with it and notice what you like and how you feel after each variation you try. The possibilities are endless. 

Kitchari is a tremendously grounding, comforting food. I was originally introduced to it years ago by a dear friend when I really needed some extra nurturing and care. Then I went Paleo for years, abandoning grains, etc and forgot all about it.

Fast forward to after my appendix burst. The only thing I wanted when I got home from hospital was Kitchari, despite the fact that I hadn’t had it in years. OMG it was sooo good. I ate it for weeks in my healing phase. And I still make it about once a week, especially now that the weather has turned.

As it turns out, Kitchari is considered a complete, healing food in Ayurveda because it’s simple to digest. The body has a chance to detoxify because it’s not so occupied with digesting complicated stuff

The recipe and method all in one – I find it easier to explain that way:

Soak the following in plenty of good quality water for between 4-12 hours. The longer the better if you have weak digestion or tend to gas/bloating. Then rinse thoroughly and pick out the yukky beans.

  • 1 cup Split Yellow Mung Beans OR 1 cup Green Mung Beans
  • ¾ cup White Basmati Rice OR ¾ Quinoa

When you’re ready to cook:

  • ¼ cup coconut oil or ghee, melted in a big pot.

Mix and match the following according to your preference, the season or your constitution if you know it. About 1-2 teaspoons each and toast in the oil for a few minutes:

  • Coriander Seeds
  • Cumin Seeds
  • Black Mustard Seeds
  • Fennel Seeds
  • Fenugreek Seeds

Once that’s done, add any combination of the following and stir until fragrant. Be careful not to let it burn. Don’t get hung up if you don’t have some of these things. Use what you have and experiment later.:

  • 1 tablespoon Coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon Turmeric powder (or a couple of small thumbs of fresh Turmeric Root grated)
  • 1-2 teaspoons Ginger powder (or up to 1 tablespoon of fresh Ginger Root, grated)
  • 1-2 teaspoons Cumin powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons Fennel powder
  • 1-2 bay leaves

Then add:

  • 6-8 cups filtered water (for thickness preferred)
  • 2 teaspoons rock salt or pink salt

Boil for 15 minutes on medium heat. Turn heat to low, cover pot and continue to cook until mung beans and rice/quinoa become soft (30-40minutes).

For a simple, easy to digest, healing food – that’s it.

But you can always fancy it up a bit if you’re feeling like you can handle a bit more complexity.

If you want to add veggies, aim for 2-4 cups:

  • For more grounding, add diced root vegetables in the last 20 minutes of cooking: carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, or sweet potato. Be warned though, too many make it stodgy. Blech.
  • For more lightness, you could consider adding in some capsicum or courgette close to the end of cooking time if you don’t want too many root vegetables.
  • FYI, I don’t really like kitchari with broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage or the like but feel free to experiment.
  • Stir in some fresh greens like kale, chard, collards, celery, or shredded fennel when done cooking. Allow to sit for a few minutes before you serve it.
  • Garnish with any fresh herbs you like, flavoured Avocado or Olive Oil, fresh Avocado, Sauerkraut, lime, lemon, fresh sprouts, ….get creative.
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