Kitchari: A Spicy and Healing One Pot Meal Recipe


Kitchari

2-3

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup brown basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup sprouted mung beans
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom seeds
  • Unprocessed sea salt, to taste
  • Generous amounts of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 inch grated turmeric
  • 1 inch grated ginger
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsnip
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery root
  • 1/2 cup chopped turnip
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Plain coconut yogurt or coconut cream (optional)

Directions

  1. Melt the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add all the rice, beans, spices, and seasonings, and stir for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the root vegetables, 6 cups of water, stir well, and increase the heat until the water boils.
  3. Once it boils, cover the pan and cook at medium heat for 30 minutes, or until everything is soft but not mushy. Add more water midway if needed.
  4. If it's too watery, you can have it as a soup. If you want it less watery you can take the lid off, increase the heat to high, and boil for a few extra minutes until most of the water evaporates.
  5. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and a couple spoonfuls of coconut yogurt or cream, if using.

I first heard about Kitchari a couple years ago from an Ayurveda and yoga blog called Yoga Healer. This dish was described as the traditional detox food of Ayurveda (for those of you who don’t know, this is the ancient healing tradition from India that aims at balancing body, mind, and soul through diet and lifestyle). I kept reading and found out that this one pot meal consisting of rice, beans, vegetables, and many spices, is very easy to digest, giving your body a rest from the burden of regular food ingestion and allowing it to heal more easily.

Being the health geek I am, I immediately ran to the grocery store to get all the ingredients needed to make it and got cooking right away. I really enjoyed this new dish because I’m a Latina, so loving rice and beans is in my DNA! But I’m also a big fan of Indian spices and flavors, and found this to be a very tasty meal I could eat for several days in a row without getting tired of it. In fact, if you’re sick, it’s recommended that you eat it for several days until you feel better. Other conditions kitchari can help with include stress, sluggish digestion, and unhealthy cravings. And of course there’s the wonderful advantage that if you make a large batch of it, you won’t need to worry about cooking for several days, and you’ll know you’re getting a healthy, nourishing meal. How’s that for a delicious time saving solution?

A couple months ago I was having tea with a good friend from India, and she brought up this dish again. We were talking about a health concern I had been having for a few months, and she recommended kitchari without knowing I already knew about it and had tried it before. She told me how in India everyone eats this when they’re sick to get better, no matter what the condition may be. My curiosity for this dish was reignited, and I made a mental note to make it again.

What I didn’t know was that I would eat it sooner than I was planning to, as the following day I was out and about in the city, and bam! There it was: A sign advertising bowls of warm kitchari outside a health food cafe. Of course I went in and ordered one immediately. I noticed that they used quinoa instead of rice, and thought this was a great idea. Interestingly, only a few days later, I bumped into yet another sign of kitchari outside another healthy cafe in my neighborhood. Clearly the universe wanted me to be eating kitchari more often! I ordered a cup of it to go, and as I ate it on my way to the farmer’s market, I thought of making my own version of this medicinal stew with the ingredients I had in hand, and sharing it here with all of you.

So here you have it. Not the traditional version, but close enough.

Want to take it one step further? Try this 3-day Kitchari cleanse by Oh, Holy Basil.

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