Kitchari (Deconstructed) Recipe
*Kitchari is traditionally made in one pot, with the rice and mung beans cooked together for ultimate digestibility. This is recommended while on a kitchari monodiet, preparing for or during panchakarma (cleansing). For a delicious and healthy meal apart from these times, I like to use this kitchari (deconstructed) recipe as it leads to, in my opinion, a more desirable texture. Here the rice and mung beans are cooked separately and then mixed together at the end to serve.
1 cup yellow split mung beans, soaked for at least 1 hour, preferably longer
1 cup white basmati rice
2 cups chopped mixed vegetables (i.e. zucchini, carrots, cauliflower, yams, cabbage)*
2-3 Tb. Ghee, about ½ TB for rice
1/8 teaspoon hing (asafetida) (optional, used to increase digestibility of beans)
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
7 fresh curry leaves (refrigerator section of local Indian grocery store) or use 2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 small tomato
1 Tb. Fresh grated ginger
1-2 tsp. ground turmeric
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp Salt and add more if needed
Pepper to taste
Juice of one lime or lemon
Handful chopped cilantro
1. Soak mung beans for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight in cool, purified water. Next day drain old soaking water and rinse several times until the rinse water is clear.
2. Place mung beans in a large pot with 4-5 cups of water, add more hot water later on if thinner consistency is desired. Bring water and mung beans to a boil, skim off foam from the top (foam is gas producing), bring to a boil, then turn down heat, cover with lid and cook for 30-45 minutes or until mung beans are 75% cooked (slightly al dente at this point).
3. Soak basmati rice for at least 20 minutes. Pour off soaking water and rinse twice. Cook basmati rice separately. For 1 cup of rice, use about 1.5 cups of water. Add a pinch of salt and a spoonful of ghee. Bring rice to a boil, stir the rice so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom and let the rice boil for 1 minute. Then turn heat to low, cover with tightly fitting lid, and allow rice to simmer for 16 minutes. No peeking! When the time is up, remove rice from heat and let stand with lid on for another 5-10 minutes. Then remove the lid and fluff with fork.
4. Meanwhile, wash and chop vegetables into bite-size pieces.
5. In a separate sauce pan heat 2-3 Tb of ghee, add mustard seeds and wait until they begin to “dance”. Then slightly reduce heat, add hing, cumin seeds, curry leaves, and cinnamon stick. Stir together about 1 minute.
6. Add chopped tomatoes and ginger, let simmer about 2 minutes gently stirring. Then add in ground spices: turmeric, coriander, and ground cumin. Stir everything together until spices are fragrant, about 1 minute and then add the spice mixture and vegetables to mung beans when the mung beans are about 75% cooked. Stir everything together and let simmer until the vegetables are soft and the mung beans are fully cooked (this will take about 15 more minutes). Add at least 1 tsp of salt and likely more to taste once the mung beans are cooked. Wait until this time to add the salt as it may inhibit the mung bean’s ability to properly cook. Add fresh cracked black pepper and the juice of 1 lemon or lime. Add more ghee if desired, and garnish with chopped cilantro.
This recipe is vata and kapha pacifying, and may increase pitta.
To make it suitable to pitta, omit mustard seeds and tomato. Go easy on the black pepper.