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Kitchari: a medicinal meal that doubles as a dinner

By Sari Huhtala

Taking stock of my pantry, I came across a bag of whole mung beans. These lovely whole green mung beans I typically use for sprouting for true live food nutrition. This time around, though, I thought I would try a traditional Ayurvedic dish – kitchari – for a cleansing and nutritionally dense meal the whole family would enjoy.

Kitchari typically calls for moong dal (mung beans that have husks removed and are split in half, exposing the yellow inside of the bean). Both are easy to digest and promote digestive health. This dish is both cleansing and detoxifying for your body. The anti-inflammatory spices in kitchari offer up another level of healing as well.

A one-day kitchari fast, where you eat nothing but kitchari, is a great way to give your digestion a break, improving energy and vitality, as well as immunity.

What’s more, it’s easy to make. Leftovers are great too! Just remember that reheating causes some losses in nutrients, but it’s undoubtedly a much healthier choice for you at lunch time than a Subway sub.   

Kitchari

  • 1 1/2 cups of mung beans or moong dal
  • 3/4 cup of white basmati rice (white rice is easier to digest)
  • 8-9 cups of water or vegetable broth, depending on desired consistency (be sure to use organic or homemade broth)
  • 3-4 cups of uncooked or frozen vegetables (diced carrots, squash, onions, cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, peas, beans or other veggies)
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil or ghee
  • 1 tbsp of grated, fresh ginger root
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

Place rice and mung beans in a bowl filled with water. Set aside. Add olive oil or ghee into a large pot, add ginger and all the spices. Heat on medium low for a couple of minutes to bring out the flavours of the spices. Drain the rice and beans and add to pot. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Then add the water or veggie stock and bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for about 25 minutes, covered. Add the veggies and simmer until rice and beans are fully cooked. Adding less water produces a thicker kitchari. Serve warm. Makes approximately 10 cups of kitchari.

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