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Kitchari Recipe: Ayurvedic Mung Bean or Lentil and Rice Stew

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Kitchari Recipe: Ayurvedic Mung Bean or Lentil and Rice Stew
This recipe for kitchari is a soupy Ayurvedic mung bean and rice stew. Kitchari (“mish-mash” in Hindi) is traditionally used as a restorative food after illness or childbirth, but also as part of the Ayurvedic cleansing protocol called Panchakarma. This simple dish is composed of rice and mung or lentil dal cooked with spices. The Chinese think very highly of mung beans as a food for detoxification, and kitchari is particularly strengthening for the stomach, liver and large intestine. This recipe is an adaptation of Vasant Lad’s original. Unlike contemporary Ayurvedic recipes, this one utilizes whole grain rice which has excellent nutritive properties, and olive oil instead of ghee (clarified butter). You can either grind your own spices (my preference) or use pre-ground spices for this dish.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • ! ½ cups split yellow mung beans or red lentils
  • 1 cup brown basmati rice
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
  • 3 tablespoons dry unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

Preparation:

Rinse the beans and rice and soak in filtered water for a few hours or overnight. Drain well.
Blend the ginger root and coconut together with 1 cup of water and set aside.
Heat the olive oil over medium flame in a heavy-bottomed pot. Grind up the cumin, coriander, and fennel and add to the pot along with the cardamom and turmeric*. Stir briefly, and then add the ginger-coconut mixture, bay leaves and cinnamon.
Stir well and add the beans and grains, along with 6 cups filtered water.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook 30-35 minutes, until the dal and rice are tender.
Add the chopped cilantro, stir well and serve.
Serves 4-6
Copyright 2011 by Jen Hoy
*Note: The busy career woman may not have time to grind spices. In that case, substitute 1 tablespoon of best quality curry powder for the cumin, coriander, fennel and turmeric, and only use 1 cinnamon stick. This will give a different flavor to the dish and is not as effective as freshly ground spices, but will still give you a decent finished product.

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