Thursday, March 21, 2013


Kitchari (or kichdi or kichari) is an Indian comfort food that is made with moong dal (mung beans) and basmati rice and contains a variety of spices including mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, and asafetida* (see note below), to name a few.  It is a staple food of the Indian herbal medicine Ayurvedic and is designed to stimulate the digestion and reduce internal toxicity. This is a basic recipe and makes about five cups.

Some of the Ingredients
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed
½ cup organic whole mung beans, soaked for at least three hours or overnight

2 T organic ghee
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp turmeric
2 pinches asafetida

1 tsp black cardamom pods
4 cups water
1/3 cup kombu

1 tsp ginger, freshly grated
½ tsp sea salt
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Rinse the rice.  Rinse the mung beans and soak in water for three hours or overnight. Drain.

In a pot, warm the ghee over medium-high heat. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and sauté for 1-2 minutes or until aromatic.

Add turmeric, asafetida, cardamom pods, mung beans, and rice. Then add water, kombu, and ginger. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 40 minutes. If you need to add more water, do so.

Garnish with fresh cilantro and add salt to taste.  An avocado with a sprinkling of pink salt and freshly-squeezed lemon juice or steamed vegetables (such as broccoli, carrots, green beans, asparagus, etc.) is an excellent side dish.

*Asafetida's name comes from the Persian "aza" (mastic resin) and the Latin "foetida," referring to its strong sulfurous odor. Asafetida is used to stimulate appetite and digestion. It helps neutralize flatulence caused by beans and other legumes. It is typically used with turmeric, another standard component of Indian cuisine, particularly in lentil curries, such as dal, as well as in many vegetable dishes.

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