Kitchari is the food Indian mothers give to children who are feeling poorly. It is the perfect dish to have on hand for days when you might feel tired, slightly queasy, or low on energy. It is relatively simple to make, easy to digest, and adaptable to whatever you have on hand. Make a big batch of kitchari to freeze in portions for when you need it. Eat it as is, or spruced up with other vegetables, such as sautéed kale or spinach.
1. Sauté the mustard seeds in the oil or ghee until they pop. Then, add the cumin, turmeric, coriander, fennel seeds and asafetida, if using. Cook for 1 minute.
2. Add the split peas and salt. Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Add water, bring to boil, then simmer for 30 minutes or until the dal is about ⅓ cooked.
3. Prepare any vegetables you’d like to add (see Ann’s Tip). Add rice and these vegetables.
4. Stir to mix, adding extra water if required. Bring back to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is fully cooked and the water is completely absorbed.
Recipe adapted from the Ayurvedic Intstitute (www.ayurveda.com).
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 3 teaspoons mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds or powder
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 2 teaspoons coriander
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 1 pinch asafoetida (hing) (See Ann’s Tip)
- 2 cups yellow split peas, picked through, rinsed and drained
- Pinch of salt
- 7 cups water
- 1 cup brown basmati rice, rinsed and drained a few times
Ann's Tips and Tricks
Asafoetida is a traditional Indian spice frequently used in vegetarian dishes to replace onions and garlic. It can be found at Indian grocery stores and many health food stores. The spice — actually a gum taken from the root of an herb native to Persia and India — is considered a digestive aid, often used in bean dishes, pickles and condiments. If you can’t find asafoetida, add 1 or 2 whole peeled, smashed clove of garlic to the split peas when you add the water in step 2.
If you prefer you can substitute canola oil for ghee. Vegan ghee is available in health food stores.