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My Favorite Kitchari

Warm and cleansing, this classic Ayurvedic dish is ideal for balancing your digestive system.

I've made Kitchari several times now, and have come up with what I think is my favorite recipe. There are hundreds of variations of this dish but the main ingredients are always a plant protein in the form of lentils or peas, grain in the form of rice, and vegetables. Here's my favorite kitchari recipe, adapted from a recipe from Simply Quinoa. I also modified it to make up a smaller batch (about 4 servings).

It may seem like a lengthy process but it's really quite simple. I like to make my own vegetable broth so this adds an extra step, but I think it's well worth it.


For the vegetable broth:

3 medium carrots, sliced

1 celery stalk, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces (will later be removed)

1/3 cup diced onion

1-1/2 cups kale, torn into bite-sized bits

2-1/2 cups water

Salt to taste

For the kitchari:

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp ground ginger (or 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger) *

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tbsp chopped garlic (about 1-2 cloves)

1/4 cup chopped shallot (or onion)

1 cup whole mung beans (previously soaked overnight)

1/2 cup brown rice (most recipes call for white basmati, which I love, but I prefer the firmer texture of brown rice in kitchari)

Vegetables from the broth above (minus the celery)

2 cups homemade vegetable broth (or your favorite store-bought)

2 cups water

1 bay leaf

Cilantro to garnish (if desired)

* I prefer fresh ginger but use ground if I don't have fresh on hand. If you don't like the "bite" of fresh ginger, use ground instead.

Kitchari ingredients: rice, pre-soaked mung beans, spices and vegetables

Method for the broth:

Place all the broth ingredients into a pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and remove from stove top and let cool. Strain the broth into a four-cup measuring cup and reserve all of the vegetables except the celery. You should have about 2 cups of broth. Set aside until needed.

Method for the kitchari:

1. Heat oil in large skillet. Once melted, add the spices. Cook on medium-high heat until the spices become very fragrant and the cumin seeds start to "pop", about 2-3 minutes. Then add garlic and onion/shallots and cook another 2 minutes or so.

2. Add the beans, rice and veggies from the broth and give everything a quick stir to ensure the spices have evenly coated the rest of the ingredients. Pour in the liquids and stir in the bay leaf.

3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cover and cook for about 50-55 minutes. Remove the lid, give the mixture a good stir and add additional liquid if desired. The consistency should be fairly thick but with a slight amount of liquid in the skillet or pan. Add additional salt to taste if desired.

4. When ready to serve, portion out between bowls and top with cilantro if desired.

Note: If you're doing a kitchari cleanse, you can eat this yummy dish for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


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