Saturday, March 23, 2013

Kitchari is an Indian dish, meaning mixture, normally of two grains.  In ayurveda terms kitchari is used to balance the three doshas, Vata, Pita and Kapha and bring harmony back to the body.  It is easy to digest and detoxifies the system, resting the digestive track from having to process different foods.  Its like a soupy porridge using basmati rice and mung beans, spiced with ginger, cardamom, coconut and other things, actually there are quite a few variations of this warming hearty meal so you can play with your recipe and see what suits you best.  Certainly when I eat kitchari I can feel the nourishment and the balancing effect on my system, it allows time for the body to restore itself and for healing.  For me it is grounding, calming and warming food.  Sounds good hey!  The digestive system can be weekend by poor food combinations, so by eating this we are giving that system a well-disserved rest and providing essential amino acids and kindling the digestive power.  If you are feeling a bit under the weather a bowl of Kitchari will do the job to make you feel better and restore lost energy.  Here is my recipe:

1cup of basmati rice.
1 cup of split mung beans that have been soaked overnight.
2 tablespoons of shredded coconut.
1 big chunk of ginger finely chopped.
½ teaspoon of cinnamon.
½ teaspoon of turmeric.
½ teaspoon of cardamom powder
½ teaspoon of cumin seeds.
Pinch of clove powder.
2 cumin pods.
3 small bay or curry leaves.
Ground black pepper to taste.
a tiny pinch of sea salt.
6 cups of water.

Add all the ingredients into a Nepali style pressure cooker, bring to the boil until the cooker lets of the steam several times, take off the heat and wait about 20 minutes.  Serve with some lightly steamed broccoli, spinach or any fresh greens.  Delicious!   Sometimes I add some kidney beans or other types of beans  or use instead of mung if I don't have any.
Using the pressure cooker for me has been a revelation and I am so pleased my neighbour Sunita showed me this wonder.  Not only does it reduce the amount of gas for cooking but it also keeps in all the flavours.  Everything I cook in it seems to taste better, dhal, soups etc and I wont be without it now.
Happy cooking everyone
May you find peace and happiness in your kitchari!
mangala / nicky

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