If I could eat one thing for breakfast every day, it might be kitchari, a gently spiced rice and lentil dish that holds a cherished place in Indian cooking. Also known as khichdi, the dish varies from region to region, but it’s nearly always a combination of basmati rice and dal (dried split peas or lentils, which can be found at Indian grocers or well-stocked health foods stores). White basmati or long-grain rice will yield the best results, but if you don’t have either on hand, quinoa is a good substitute.
Gentle Morning Kitchari [Vegan]
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 white or yellow onion, diced
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 tablespoon finely grated or minced fresh ginger, or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3⁄4 cup white basmati or jasmine rice, rinsed
- 1 cup dried moong dal, toor dal, urad dal, or red lentils
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- Lemon wedges, chopped fresh cilantro, melted coconut oil for drizzling (optional)
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the mustard and cumin seeds and cook, stirring constantly, until the seeds begin to pop, about 2 minutes.
- Add the onion, carrots, and ginger and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onion is tender and translucent.
- Stir in the rice, dal, turmeric, cloves, salt, pepper, broth, and water and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the lid, stir well, and then simmer, uncovered, for 5 to 10 minutes, until the texture resembles porridge (for a soupier texture, decrease the cooking time, and for a thicker texture, cook it a bit longer).
- Taste and adjust the seasonings if desired. Serve with your toppings of choice.