Kitchari is one of my favorite quick and easy meals to make during this time of year. This nourishing dish is a staple comfort food in India, and usually is a warm porridge consisting of rice, beans, spices, and often vegetables. It is amazingly delicious and nutritious and, because it is so easy to digest, can even heal the gut. This food has been used as a mono diet cleanse in India since ancient times. Kitchari is said to be calming, soothing, and warming, and highly detoxifying. The turmeric will help to reduce inflammation, which is a major cause of pain and illness.
If you're looking for a gentle and easy fall/winter cleanse, eating kitchari for a number of days can allow digestive enzymes to restore balance. Unlike other arduous cleanses, eating kitchari for days can feel like a treat because it is so tasty! For more on the cleanse, I suggest looking at Dr. John Douillard's article here. Douillard says about kitchari: "Above all other Indian meals, there is one which is considered to help facilitate spiritual growth." I have to agree. Kitchari is a magical medicinal delight!
I always recommend sourcing all of your food as freshly, organically, seasonally and locally as possible. This recipe is easy to alter and play with once you've experienced the power of kithcari!
1/4 cup white basmati rice
1/4 cup split yellow mung dahl
4 cups water or vegetable stock
1 Tbsp ghee or coconut oil
1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
1/2 jalapeño pepper seeded and chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced green beans
1 cup cubed sweet potato
1 tsp fresh minced ginger
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp turmeric
1 bunch of dark leafy greens, I usually use collard or kale
1 tsp himalayan sea salt
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 tsp ground coriander
cilantro to taste
Heat the ghee or oil on medium and add the cumin seeds for 1 minute to toast them. Then, add the onion, ginger, and jalapeño and sauté until tender.
In a large pot, bring the water or stock to a boil, then turn to simmer add the rice and beans(rinse off before adding), onion, cumin, jalapeño, ginger, green beans, sweet potato, cinnamon stick, cardamom and turmeric. Cover and let this cook for 1/2 hour.
Add the greens toward the end of the boil for about 5 minutes. When the time is up, remove from heat, remove cinnamon sticks and add salt and coriander. When serving, add in cilantro.
Boom! Taste the magic!
It's also easy to make a large batch and freeze some for later use. Just double or triple the recipe.
I originally got this recipe from the book "Yoga Kitchen" by Faith Stone and Rachael Guidry. They are affiliated with Shoshoni Yoga Retreat in Colorado. I fell in love with kitchari while studying yoga there.