Spice Up Your Kitchen With Kitchari
By Leanne Gray
Kitchari (Kich-ah-ree) is one of those nourishing, protein-enriched superfoods that satisfies everything you need in one meal. It's a staple Ayurvedic food, recognised as the basis of a gut cleanse because of its easy digestion, nutritional value and ability to balance all three doshas.
Whether you notice your digestion is off, your mind or emotions are unsteady or you’re just craving a light, comforting and satisfying meal, Kitchari is your go-to. This flavourful one-pot dish is known to be nourishing and cleansing for your body, without supporting any kind of imbalance.
Blending the goodness of lentils, rice and dahl, you can add any of your favourites spices and veges in this easy one-pot meal.
Do yourself a favour and add this dish to your weekly dinners!
Proven benefits of Kitchari include:
Improve and maintain your digestive health
Great source of antioxidants
Great source of protein and fibre
Maintain your immune system
Here’s how to make a simple Kitchari meal:
(Keep reading for more ways to change it up!)
1 cup Ayurda Kitchari (a mix of mung dahl and basmati rice)
1 tsp Salt – as per taste
Cumin seeds – 1-2 tsp
Ghee - 1 tbsp
2 ½ cups water (if using a pressure cooker) or about 4 cups (if using a regular pot).
Wash 1 cup of Kitchari mix (mix 2-3 times with clean water) and soak for 30 minutes.
Heat ghee on medium heat, using either a pressure cooker or a heavy-bottomed pot.
Sauté the cumin seeds in the ghee until the seeds pop. (You can add any spices you like at this point. 2tsp of Ayurda Kitchari mix, Winter or Summer spice mix)
Drain water from soaked Kitchari mix. Add mix to pan and sauté for a couple of minutes
Add salt to taste.
Add boiling water as required ( depending on the vessel being used). If using a pot, bring to high heat and stir occasionally until boiling once again.
Turn the heat down to simmer and leave to cook for approx. 25 minutes until rice and dahl are soft and liquid is loose and soupy. If not, continue to simmer or add more boiling water and simmer for another 10-20 minutes. The consistency can be adjusted as per your choice by adding less or more water. Some people prefer thick and some thin consistency.
Drizzle extra spoon of ghee (optional) and sprinkle salt and black pepper to taste.
SWITCH IT UP
- Make your own Kitchari.
Make your own Kitchari by changing the ratio of rice and mung dahl or add lentils. If suffering from diarrhoea, use more rice & less dahl.
- Add seasonal veges to your Kitchari.
Eat in season by steaming, sauteing or roasting your favourite seasonal veges. Just add ghee, salt and pepper. Either serve your veges on top or add to your Kitchari.
Winter/Autumn vegetables: Pumpkin, Kumara/Sweet Potato, Carrots, Leek, Mushroom, Kidney beans
Spring/Summer vegetables: Beans, Kale, Spinach, Silverbeet, Courgette, Asparagus, Eggplant, Peas
Follow steps to making your simple Kitchari, you can also add fresh garlic, ginger and turmeric to Step 3 as desired.
Cut in half and seed the butternut (skin on) and place face up on a baking tray. Brush with Ghee and roast in a preheated oven (400C)
until tender. You can also add some cumin to your pumpkin before roasting. Once tender, remove from oven. Once it’s cool enough to
handle, cut into chunks and add to your pot of simmering Kitchari. The chunks will break down as your Kitchari continues to cook and will
create a creamy, orange colour throughout.
Put about 2 cups of Kale or Spinach on top of your simmering Kitchari to steam before stirring into mixture.
Sweet Potato/Kumara Kitchari
Follow the same steps as with Butternut Kitchari.
- Add a side of chutney.
Try a beetroot or coriander chutney
1 Tbsp Ghee
1tsp ajwain seed (for Vata dosha) or mustard seed (for Kapha dosha)
1tsp Cumin seeds
3 bay leaves or curry leaves (crumbled)
1 cup grated beetroot
¼ cup non-homogenized milk (warm)
In a frying pan, warm Ghee on medium heat. Saute cumin, ajwain seed and curry/bay leaves approx. 2 minutes until aroma is released. Add
beetroot and mix, stirring constantly until beets are warm. Remove from heat and cool. In a food processor, add warm milk to warm beet
mixture and grind until a paste is made.
(great for Pitta dosha)
1 cup of chopped organic coriander leaf and stems
1 tsp holy basil
1 tsp cumin seed
½ - 1 tsp chopped green chilli (optional)
1 tsp of shredded ginger
1 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp water
While prepping coriander, you can include the tender stems with the leaves as they are loaded with flavour. If the stems are tough, discard them.
Mix all ingredients and blend in a food processor to a thin paste. Add salt, black pepper and lemon juice to taste.
If you like, you can also add 1/2 cup raw almonds into the food processor. Soak these raw almonds in water beforehand for at least an hour.
- Specify your dish to your Dosha
Vata Dosha - add Ajwain seed in Step 3 (Great for gastrointestinal issues)
Kapha Dosha - add Mustard seed in Step 3 of Kitchari recipe or beetroot chutney.
Pitta Doshas - add lemon and coriander to garnish or make Coriander Chutney.