Kitchari is a creamy porridge-like blend of beans and rice that has been a staple of Ayurvedic cuisine for many centuries. It is often consumed during times of healing or for detox, as simple frugal fare, and as a comfort meal. Here, beans and rice are cooked separate for a less porridge-like texture in lieu of a more soupy curry served over brown rice. The spices each lend themselves as an aid for digestion and cooling and you are welcome to add your favorite vegetables. Serve over brown rice with lime on the side.
Cooling Kitchari [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
- 1 cup yellow split mung dal or red lentils
- 3 cups water or vegetable broth
- 2 cups diced seasonal vegetables
- 1-2 cups dark leafy greens
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground in a spice/coffee grinder
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, if desired
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup long grain or basmati brown rice
- 2 cups water or vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro, basil, or parsley
- Lime wedges, to serve
- Soak the mung dal or red lentils for at least 30 minutes, then drain, wash well, and drain again. Do the same in a separate dish with the brown rice.
- In a small saucepan, bring the rice and water to a boil, cover, turn down to a simmer, and cook for about 40 minutes or until all the liquid is completely absorbed and the rice is plump.
- Combine the mung dal or red lentils and broth or water in a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil over high heat. Stir occassionally and skim off the froth that comes to the surface.
- Add the vegetables and fennel, bay leaves, ginger, and turmeric, leaving out the greens for now, and mix well.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the beans are soft and fully cooked. Stir occasionally as needed so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.
- Then stir in the greens, oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook just a little longer until the greens soften.
- To serve, spoon the kitchari over a bowl of rice and top with minced cilantro or other cooling fresh herbs and a few squeezes of lime juice.