At this time while we are all in lockdown, it has been very easy to sit around not getting enough exercise or to overindulge on home-made baking. This recipe should help you out with a little gut health and give your body the boost it needs.
Kitchari is a staple dish in Ayurvedic cooking and something I experienced a lot of in Kerala, in the lush green south of India. It is a vital recipe to restore balance to the body, It’s used in cleansing as it helps with digestion and suitable for any age as it’s easy to digest. The great thing about this dish is that you can use it as a base and add additional spices according to your needs.
I have added cumin, ginger, fennel, mustard seeds, Fenugreek seeds, turmeric, cinnamon and coriander all of which, in Ayurvedic medicine, is said to help with heart health, digestion, blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, anti-inflammatory to ease arthritis, boost metabolism, helping with brain function and lifts your immune system as well as being loaded with Antioxidants.
All in all it’s delicious comfort food for you that your body will really love too.
Just a little note I’m using basmati rice in my Kitchari as that is the most digestible and the one most commonly used in India. But if you wish to use long-grain brown or any other rice in your store cupboard than that is fine too, just remember to keep the liquid in your dish as this is supposed to be more of a runny stew consultancy and not a thick risotto.
Kitchari Serves 3
½ cup of basmati rice
½ cup of mung dal (or any other small dal lentils that don’t need overnight soaking)
3-4 cups of water or vegetable stock
3 tsp of coconut oil (you can use ghee here if you prefer the taste but I find coconut oil a little lighter)
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp Fennel seeds
½ tsp Fenugreek seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp of cayenne pepper
Salt and black pepper to taste
I large onion finely chopped
1 large courgettes coarsely grated (but cauliflower, sweet-potato all work really well here too)
1 cup of spinach washed and finely chopped
1 cinnamon stick
Natural organic yoghurt
Coriander washed and finely chopped
Rinse the dahl and rice then leave in a bowl to soak for 20mins while you chop up your vegetables this will help them cook quicker.
In a mortar and pestle put in your dry spices (apart from the cinnamon stick) and give them a bit of a pounding you just want to break the seeds up a little to release flavour but not turn in to a fine powder.
In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan add your coconut oil and put on a medium heat to melt. Once the oil is hot add your onion and fry for a couple of minutes until soft. Then add your ground spices for about 1 minute until you start to smell the flavours being realised.
Add the drained dal and rice to the pan mixing it around to coat in the spicy oil, pour in 3 cups water or vegetable stock and stir well. At this point break your cinnamon stick into 2 pieces and add to the pot. Once this is bubbling, turn your heat down to low and simmer for approx 25 mins until they are cooked and tender not mushy, you may need to add more water if the mixture becomes too dry.
(If you have used brown rice instead of basmati you will have to boil longer approx an extra 10 mins.)
Finally add the courgette and spinach cook for one more minute then turn off the heat and leave the lid on for 5mins so that the vegetables cook through.
Add salt and pepper to your taste and serve in bowls topped with a spoon full of natural yoghurt, fresh coriander leaves along with a glass of your favourite Ayurvedic tea. Why not try with our Harmony and Balance Tea?
Recipe and Photo credit to Lara Jane Thorpe