Kitchari - Your Body's 'Reset' Meal
Holy mama - I am in love with this recipe. With this dish. With the whole darn thing. I originally discovered this golden goodness at a yoga spa retreat at the amazing Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. It was in the 'Ayurvedic' section of the cafeteria - and having no idea what that meant but extreme curiosity about trying these dishes, proceeded to scoop myself a giant bowl. I have now come to learn that Kitchari is one of the most nourishing, healing, and renewing dishes in the Ayurvedic tradition - or the 'sister science' of yoga. Ayurveda is all about balance - how to eat and practice self care in order to balance your particular constitution or 'dosha.' To learn more about all this goodness, click here.
Now, back to our golden recipe. The first time I tasted it, I was in love. It was so buttery tasting, so warm and comforting. I felt like I could literally absorb the goodness of this dish into my cells. I had a side of it with every meal (yes, even breakfast!) along the rest of the retreat. And then I promptly came home and googled recipes to make myself a dish. The great thing about kitchari, is it includes rice AND beans, so you're getting great carbs + protein, plus a tremendous amount of good nutrients and antioxidants from the many spices included. There are a ton a ways to make this dish, I'll offer my favorite version - and you can create from there.
One other quick story before I get to it. My dear friend Isha, whos family is from India, apparently found it hilarious that this has become a staple in my household. Her mom laughed out loud about it as back in India, she shared, they often serve this to people who are REALLY really sick. Like deathly ill. For me (and you, hopefully!) may this beautiful dish bring you back from a weekend of overdoing it, or a common cold or sore throat. Or may it just become a weekly nourishing and warming 'detox' to restore and reset your body.
- 2-3 TBSP of Ghee (clarified butter). If you don't have that, normal butter or olive oil can be substituted. But the good quality ghee REALLY can make this dish. I love Ancient Organics, just as an FYI.
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 cup of yellow or green mung beens soaked for at least 6 hours and up to 12 (I usually do this right before bed to make things easier!)
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt (pink himalayan is recommended but use what ya got)
- 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder
- 1 cup white or brown basmati rice. Rinsed well and drained
- 3-4 cups hot water (you can always use 3 and then add a little more as needed). Heat up water in a kettle or another pot, or just add in tap water and don't sweat the fact that it's not hot.
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 3-4 thin slices of fresh ginger (or 1/2 tsp powdered)
- In a big pot, cast iron or ceramic if you have one, begin to melt the ghee over medium heat. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and mix well, toasting and releasing the flavor of the seeds. When the seeds start to gently pop you know you've sautéed them long enough (about 3 minutes or so).
- Drain and rinse the soaked mung beans and add to the pot with the turmeric and salt. Watch out for splashing and sizzling as you do this - you can turn it down for a few seconds before you add the beans to help. Then turn back up to medium and stir until the mix starts to almost stick to bottom of the pan, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add rice, coriander, and ginger. Mix well for about 30 seconds. Then add the water.
- Bring to a boil, cover, turn to low and simmer for about 30-45 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and the rice and mung beans are cooked through. Note - you may need to add a bit more water - it's good to experiment if you like it a bit more soupey consistency or a bit more rice-like to figure out the perfect amount for your kitchari.
- Serve in big bowls with any additional garnish you may like - parsley, cilantro, and/or basil make excellent accompaniments.
Serves 4-6. Recipe inspired by AyurvedaPlace.com