One of the most common dishes in India, be it in the South or North is Kitchari or Khichdi. It is a great source of nourishment for everyone, from toddlers to the elderly, during sickness or in good health, cleansing or simply to eat as comfort food during the cold or wet seasons. This dish is even served as “prasad” or devotional offering in Indian temples for its “sattvic” or pure qualities.
Kitchari and Ayurveda
Kitchari is a medley of rice and lentils used in Ayurveda for encouraging good digestion and facilitating spiritual practice. It balances all three doshas, is soothing and healing, improves absorption, strengthens and builds the bodily tissues and is one of the best foods for mind-body detoxification.
There are several types of kitchari cooked in different consistencies and using different ingredients. The main ingredients however are always the same i.e. mainly white rice (good for its easy digestive ability) and split yellow mung lentils (good for all doshas especially Vata – the air element that causes intestinal gas and bloating when imbalanced). Vegetables along with spices are also used according to one’s preference and dosha type.
Here is a simple version that can be cooked to stimulate the digestive enzymes and aid digestion in case of over indulgence during the Christmas period. It provides the daily “six tastes a day” required by Ayurveda for good physical, mental and emotional health.
Serves 2 – 4 people
1 part lentils – ½ cup of yellow split moong lentils (100 gms)
1 part rice – ½ cup of basmati rice (100 gms)
1 part vegetables – (anything that is seasonal and you enjoy)
1 big onion chopped
Finely chopped fresh ginger and garlic
6 parts of water
Ghee or olive oil
1 teaspoon each: cumin seeds, coriander and black mustard seeds
A pinch of hing (asafoetida)
4 small bay leaves
4 cloves and small cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon each : turmeric, crushed black pepper, garam masala
½ teaspoon of Rock Salt (Himalayan)
Some freshly chopped coriander leaves to garnish
Fresh lime juice
- Heat ghee (clarified butter) or olive oil in a pan and then add cumin, coriander, bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon sticks and mustard seeds and hingu until the seeds begin to pop.
- Then add the chopped garlic and stir.
- When the garlic is slightly brown, add the chopped onions and ginger till all brown.
- Now add turmeric, coarse black pepper, garam masala and salt stirring each time.
- Then add vegetables, lentils and rice and stir altogether before adding water. Bring to boil. Once the mixture starts boiling reduce the fire right down and cover. Cook for 15 minutes or when vegetables are soft. Switch off and leave covered for some time before serving.
- Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and a dash of fresh lime juice before serving.
- Best eaten with some grilled cumin papadooms and Mango Chutney
Kitchari is so versatile that it can also be made with just cumin seeds, black mustard seeds, turmeric, rice and yellow split moong lentils. With lime, salt and black pepper to season. As well as this version being just as tasty, it only takes around 20 minutes to make.
It’s the ultimate healthy comfort food. Happy New Year!
What did you think of this post? If you liked it please SHARE the love.