It slowly feels like winter is arriving and one of my favourite ways to nourish the body during this season is with a warming bowl of Kitchari – it has become one of my families favourite dishes, even my boys!
Kitchari is an ayurvedic meal known for it’s detoxifying, warming and easily digestible properties. It is a simple mixture of split mung beans and basmati rice with traditional healing Indian spices like turmeric, cumin and coriander.
Whether you are looking to give your digestion a break or feel your body in search of a nourishing hug in a bowl, I think you’ll find this to be a pleasing and surprisingly delicious dish that you might make regularly throughout the year – just like I have come to do.
- 1 cup mung beans (or yellow mung dal)
- ½ cup white or brown basmati rice
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil/ghee/butter
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 cups water
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ginger (optional)
- 2 teaspoons mustard seeds (yellow or black)
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- Rinse the mung beans and rice until the water runs clear *
- Measure out all the spices into a cup – this makes it less likely that you'll burn your spices while searching for the others
- Heat the oil/butter in a pan or stockpot. Add all the spices and saute together on a medium heat for a minute until fragrant. Be careful not to overdo this stage – you don't want to risk frazzling the spices and making them bitter or burnt.
- Stir in the mung beans and rice. Add 5 cups of water and any chopped vegetables. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer with the lid on.
- Cook for at least 40 minutes (longer if you need the water to reduce) or add more water if necessary – the mung beans and rice should be completely cooked.
Digestive health is a core focus in ayurvedic wellness and they suggest replacing a meal with a bowl of Kitchari weekly – while also drinking more water and getting lots of rest – encourages gentle healing, kick starts your metabolism, stabilises blood sugar, and helps us slow down in the best way. Together the mung beans and rice form a complete protein.
Over the winter season our bodies tend to gravitate towards more warming and nourishing dishes like kitchari. I also like to include my favourite whole poached chicken broth over this season and use the poached chicken in wraps for my boys or chicken mayo sandwiches or a salad and I replace a coffee with a mug of the broth.
Original recipe comes from Jasmine Hemsley – East meets west recipe book
Photo credits: Sarah Elliott photography