Kitchari is traditional and ancient Ayurvedic dish that is comprised of basmati rice and mung dal (beans). There are a variety of ways you can make this one-pot meal, and the different blends of spices and vegetables provide a balancing effect for the three doshas or body types.
The combination of basmati rice and mung dal together creates a complete protein and is tridoshic (meaning it's good for all three body types). This wholesome and perfect food is easy to digest, gives strength and vitality, and nourishes all the tissues of the body. It is also detoxifying and as such, is often used for cleanses, including Ayurveda's panchakarma, or as a mono-fast during the fall and spring transitioning months.
serves 2 people
1/3 cup soaked mung dal
1/3 cup basmati rice
3 cups water
1 tablespoon freshly minced ginger
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/8 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 cups cut vegetables of choice
1 tablespoon sesame oil, olive oil or ahimsa ghee
Soak the rice and dal in a bowl for at least 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly until the water runs clear.
Heat oil in pot on medium-low burner. Once the oil is warmed, add cumin seeds, turmeric and asafoetida and let toast for 15 seconds. Then add the fresh ginger and allow to continue to toast for another 15-30 seconds. Next add in the rice, dal and ground coriander and mix well. Let the rice and dal soak up the oil and crisp for 30 seconds. Then add in water and stir. Once the water comes to a full boil, lower heat, cover and let simmer, adding water as needed and for consistency preferences.
Heartier vegetables can be added once the water is added and quick-cooking vegetables can be added in the last 5-10 minutes. (For fall months, seasonal grounding vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes and winter squash are good, especially for those with a vata dosha.)
The dal will break down and dissolve into a creamy stew after 25 minutes. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro and lime, or chutney.