There are countless versions of this easy-to-digest rice and bean dish from India. Some make it soupy, some make it dry. Some add veggies, some prefer none. Some make it spicy, others make it mild. Below is a basic kitchari recipe with ideas on what to add in, and what to leave out.
Kitchari, also known as kichadi or khichdi, is often recommended during an Ayurvedic cleanse or mono-diet. Kitchari might also be recommended by your Ayurvedic doctor or health consultant if you are suffering from any sort of imbalance in your digestive system. Kitchari is easy on the tummy—the Indian version of chicken soup. It is typically made with split and hulled mung beans (mung/moong dal). Smaller beans without a hull are much easier for the body to digest than larger, intact beans and beans don't get much smaller than the simple mung dal. White basmati rice is another key ingredient in kitchari—an easy to digest grain that even those with grain sensitivities can typically tolerate.
This simple dish always contains a good helping of ghee (clarified butter), making it a complete meal: protein, carbohydrate and fat, all in one comforting bowl. Because it's often well-spiced, you get some good phytochemicals in there too, adding to kitchari's medicinal benefit and digestibility.
Keep some basmati rice and some mung dal stocked in your kitchen cupboard and you can always throw together a wholesome pot of kitchari if you've got a belly ache, are craving light fare, or want something quick and healthy!
½ cup white basmati rice
½ cup split mung dal
4 cups water (more or less, depending on how soupy you like it)
1-2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or butter
2 carrots or 1 sweet potato, chopped (seasonal orange vegetable; optional)
1 bunch of kale or spinach or dandelion greens or 1 zucchini, chopped (seasonal green vegetable; optional)
½ tsp coriander seed
½ tsp cumin seed
½ tsp powdered ginger
½ tsp powdered turmeric
a pinch of black pepper
a pinch of salt (all spices are optional, play around with it!)
Rinse rice and dal thoroughly
Pour rice, dal and 4 cups of water into medium saucepan along with 1-3 teaspoons of ghee.
Bring to a boil, then to a simmer. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, uncovered, until desired consistency.
Add vegetables (if desired), cover, and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes (or steam separately and add at the end).
In a separate skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of ghee
Saute whole seeds in ghee for a minute or so, then add the powdered spice and saute briefly (about 20 seconds). Be sure not to overheat the ghee!
Mix spice and ghee mixture into the rice, dal and veggies.