Recipe: Simple Ayurvedic Kitchari
Kitchari is a complete, well-spiced and very nourishing meal. It incorporates all 6 tastes and makes sense in every season. It is best served as a main dish and pairs well with assorted chutneys and chapati bread. Kitchari is the healthy homestyle staple dish of Ayurveda and is very versatile.
Because Kitchari is a simple, single pot meal, basically any recipe online will yield similar results. Consider the measurements below as guidelines to customize this dish to your liking. Sometimes I'll swap out moong for legumes, or rice for quinoa. Some like the ingredients to fully meld together, others prefer a soupier texture.
SIMPLE AYURVEDIC KITCHARI
⅓ cup split yellow moong beans
⅓ cup white basmati rice
1 tbsp ghee (sub coconut or sesame oil)
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp fennel seeds
¾ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground ginger or 1 inch ginger root, grated
4 cups water
Pinch of hing (optional)
½ - 1 tsp himalayan salt
Generous cracks of black peppercorns
2 cups chopped veggies (1 cup carrots,1 cup chard)
Rinse the beans and rice in a mesh strainer until the water runs clear. Soak legumes and grains in advance if times permits. Set aside. Heat your heavy-bottomed pot to low-medium heat, then add the ghee and let it heat up. I prefer using my ceramic dutch oven, or stainless steel pot. Turn heat to low and add the coriander, turmeric, fennel seeds, cumin, and ginger and saute for 2 minutes until spices release aroma. Add the beans and rice and saute for another 1-2 minutes until fully incorporated with spices. If food gets stuck to the bottom or you notice the spices burning, add a little bit of water and continue to mix and stir. Add the remaining water and turn to high heat. Add the hing if using, salt and pepper. Once the water comes to a boil, return heat to a simmer, add the carrots, cover and let cook for 30 minutes. Check kitchari at the 20-25 minute mark and add more water if it boils off. With this ratio, you may have a little extra water. If this is the case, turn heat up a bit and remove the lid, letting some of the excess water boil off. Add the greens in the last 1-2 minutes of cooking. Squeeze fresh lemon or lime before serving and / or a drizzle of ghee, fresh herbs or sesame seeds.
Diversify kitchari blend by replacing rice with quinoa, barley, millet, or farro. Water ratio may need to be adjusted depending on the grain.
Try swapping moong for lentils.
Spices that work well in a kitchari blend include: cumin, turmeric, coriander, fennel, ginger, mustard seeds, cardamom, fenugreek, and black pepper. Already-ground spices are the simplest for quick cooking, but whole spices can add in a punch of flavor, aroma and freshness. Start by hand grinding coriander seeds into a fine powder- experience the difference.
Hing is an Ayurvedic, pungent herb that resembles the flavor profile of alliums, or the onion and garlic family. A tiny bit goes a really long way- use with caution.
Kitchari texture typically resembles that of a creamy porridge. However, some prefer more liquid, making it a soupier dish.
Not all vegetables are creating equal. Depending on what you go with, cooking times will vary. Add your heartier vegetables like cruciferous, roots and potatoes early on, your lighter vegetables like asparagus about midway through, and the most delicate leafy greens towards the end.
Serves 2 people
Takes 50 minutes
Copyright 2022, A. Chavez, Original Recipe.