Kitcheri (also called kichadi), a relatively simple stew of basmati rice and split mung beans, is a staple in Ayurvedic cooking. It is delicious, easy to digest, nourishing and yet light. It is commonly the primary dish served during cleansing and rejuvenation programs (panchakarma). It is a great choice when you are ill, recovering from an illness, feeling a bit “off” ~ or anytime you just feel like it!
Profound healing can occur simply by adding kitcheri to one’s diet on a regular basis. It is suitable for all body types and can be made in an endless number of variations. It is quite affordable, and the ingredients can always be available in your kitchen. Kitcheri can be served by itself or with vegetables, and the consistency may be like a soup or more like a rice dish or casserole, depending on personal preference and one’s digestive capability.
The below recipe is simply a jumping off point; get creative, and discover how many ways you can serve this delicious, nutritious, medicinal recipe!
KITCHERI / KICHADI
Nutritional ~ Medicinal ~ Delicious
Serves 3-4. Quantities can be halved, doubled, or ingredients modified according to dosha and taste.
1/2 cup basmati rice
1/2 cup split mung beans (yellow mung dhal)*
2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seed (whole)
1 tsp black mustard seed (whole)
1 tsp fennel (ground or seeds)
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander (ground)
1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
2 tbsp fresh ginger (grated or finely chopped)
pinch hing (asafoetida) if available – helps to reduce gas
pinch black pepper
5 cups water (approximate, depending on how “soupy” you want it)
3-4 cups vegetables, chopped (amount may vary, depends on vegetable). Ideally, choose vegetables according to the dosha that you wish to balance. The mung beans can be soaked overnight for increased ease of digestion.
If desired, serve with grated coconut, fresh lime, chopped cilantro, plain yogurt, ghee, and/or sesame seeds
Heat the ghee or oil in a large, deep saucepan and add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds pop, add all remaining spices except salt. Sauté for a minute or so, then add the split mung beans and rice. Stir until all foods are flavored and colored with the spice mixture. Add water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for about 20 minutes or until the beans are completely soft. Then and only then, add the salt. You can add more water if you prefer a more soupy consistency. As mentioned above, you may experiment with different vegetables and spices to create different flavors and properties. You can add your chosen vegetables during the last 15-20 minutes of your cooking time. Always be mindful of the properties of all foods you eat, and try to eat according to your dosha.
By Marisa Laursen, C.A.S., P.K.S., A.Y.T., Faculty at the California College of Ayurveda