Lately I've been following an Ayurvedic diet in hopes of alleviating some mild but uncomfortable health ailments I've experienced recently, including heartburn, indigestion, inflammation and allergies. This has me avoiding nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, chilis), strawberries, bananas, cashews, peanuts and shellfish. Taking this on was a major shift in some of my favorite staple foods-- I used to eat at least half a dozen tomatoes a week, put bell pepper on anything and everything, and I swore that if I could eat only one food for the rest of my life, it would be potatoes. That being said, making the shift in my diet has alleviated my digestive problems in powerful ways, so these days it's much easier to say "no thank you" to a plate of french fries (Ok, maybe I'll have just one or two).
On that tip, I have been searching for recipes which incorporate Ayurvedic principles and I stumbled upon kitchari, which literally means "all mixed up." It's a hearty porridge of mung beans and Basmati rice intended to balance the digestion and promote cleansing. It's not a very glamorous meal, as you'll see from the photos, but I appreciate any recipe that allows me to get creative with the ingredients while also filling me with good nutrients.
All the ingredients ready to go in the pot!
All the spices looked so beautiful together!
Voila! Kitchari! It doesn't look like much, but it was so satisfying and filling, and few things make me happier than putting a meal together for myself (especially when there's a big pot of leftovers for the week!). Here's a loose recipe of what I put together so that you can make your own nourishing kitchari! Remember that the name means that you can more or less throw whatever you have into the pot as long as its got the mung dal and basmati rice, so just try to avoid using nightshades and otherwise get creative!
1 cup whole green mung beans (or split yellow mung dal)
1 cup brown basmati rice
3 tbsp ghee (or coconut oil for a vegan option)
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1 inch fresh ginger, chopped
2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Himalayan pink sea salt
1/2 red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
4 cups water
8 ounces coconut water (optional)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1.5 cups fresh leafy greens (I used baby chard, baby spinach and baby kale)
1 small head broccoli, chopped
fresh cilantro (optional)
- soak mung beans for at least four hours (preferably overnight), soak rice for at least 30 minutes. Drain soak water before the next step.
- In a large stockpot, heat ghee over medium heat and add mustard seeds, peppercorns and ginger and saute until mustard seeds begin popping. Add the other dry spices and give a quick stir, then add the mung beans, rice, onion and garlic. Saute for 2 minutes, then add 4 cups water, coconut water and all the vegetables and bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat to a simmer and cover, cooking for 20-30 minutes or until the consistency is like that of a thick stew or porridge. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve hot.