The Best Kitchari Recipe – An Ayurvedic Cold & Flu Superfood
I was raised on kitchari (pronounced kitch-a-ree). We ate it at least once a week (emphasis at least). As a child, it was a comforting meal that made me feel warm and full. I liked to squeeze lemon on top or make a well in the middle of the bowl and fill it with a dollop of yogurt. I knew it was good for us, full of protein, and something we were supposed to eat, but I didn’t realize HOW good it was until just a decade ago.
Kitchari is a is a savory porridge made from mung beans, rice, spices and vegetables. It has a multitude of benefits including the removal of toxins, resetting the digestive system and restoring nutrition. This meal is balancing or all constitution types, and the split mung beans are easy to digest, even people with weak digestion systems.
When rice and mung dal is combined, it creates a complete protein with the joining of the individual amino acids. This doesn’t happen when you eat rice or beans alone, which is why the meal of “rice and beans” is so important as a combination for protein purposes. In some Ayurvedic cleanses, kitchari is used as a cleansing meal. The spices help to encourage healthy agni or a strong digestive fire. The astringent quality of the mung dal helps to remove toxic buildup in the intestinal lining in more of a gentle way as opposed to raw veggies.
HOW TO MAKE KITCHARI & WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup packed baby spinach roughly chopped
Rinse the mung dhal and rice in a fine strainer under cold water until the water runs clear (might take a couple of minutes). Drain completely and set aside.
In a large pot, over medium-high heat, heat the ghee (you can also use coconut oil if you want to veganize it). Add the carrots, celery, and onions, and cook until the onions are translucent.
Add the ginger and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
Next, sprinkle the rest of the spices over the vegetables, and cook for 30 seconds until the spices start to get fragrant.
Add the mung beans, green beans, and rice and stir to coat in the spices. Add the salt and pour in the water or vegetable stock.
Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mung beans are tender but not mushy and most of the liquid has been absorbed. (You may need to keep adding more water if the mixture becomes to dry or begins to stick to the bottom of the pan).
Serve with lemon wedges and freshly chopped cilantro (optional).
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