KITCHERI

With holiday gluttony in our recent pasts, January is a perfect time of year to cleanse and support healthy digestion.  Kitcheri is a nourishing Ayurvedic dish, that is common in India and Nepal, which is balancing for all constitutions or doshas.  It includes each of the six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. It can be enjoyed as a regular meal in your rotation of recipes or used specifically as a cleanse.  When using Kitcheri to restore the digestive system as a cleanse, it is suggested to eat Kitcheri for each meal, for three to seven days.

This is exactly what I have done the past three days.  It has helped restore my digestive system to balance after eating those darn peanut butter and chocolate kiss cookies over the holidays.  I do not tolerate gluten, I definitely indulged, and was feeling the repercussions!  With over a decade of experimenting with Kitcheri, I have found that for the best digestibility, it is essential to soak the split mung dal and rice as well as to use kombu, ginger and spices.  Soak the split mung dal and rice in separate dishes in cold water for at least six hours.  It takes a little extra planning but is well worth it.

When are good times to include Kitcheri into your diet?
-When you are stressed out or overwhelmed.  The more stressed or overwhelming your life is, the simpler your food should be.
-When your digestive system needs to reboot towards balance
-When you do not want to give great thought to dinner plans
-When you crave a warming and nourishing meal

2 tbsp ghee
½ tsp black mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 small pinch of asafoetida/hing powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp sea salt or rock salt
½ c split yellow mung dal, soaked overnight, rinsed well and drained
1 c white Basmati rice, soaked overnight, rinsed well and drained
6 c  water, more or less depending on the consistency you like
1 strip kombu seaweed
1-2 tbsp fresh ginger root, minced
lime, garnish
cilantro, garnish

  1. In a large pot that has a lid, on medium-low heat melt the ghee and add the black mustard seeds and cumin seeds; sauteing until the seeds begin to pop.
  2. Add the asafoetida, turmeric, cumin and coriander powders; sauteing until slightly fragrant.  Be mindful not to burn the spices.
  3. Add the salt, split mung dal, rice, water, kombu and ginger.
  4. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer until the dal and rice are very soft.  Typically 45-60 minutes.
  5. Garnish with fresh lime and cilantro.

This is the basic Kitcheri recipe.  You can experiment with adding 2 cups of vegetables.  Add diced roots such as carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips or sweet potato, the last 20 minutes of cooking.  Add chopped greens such kale, chard or collards the last minutes of cooking.  Stir in delicate greens such as spinach, arugula or sprouts after cooking.

Serves 6

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