Kitchari literally means a mix or a mess, so this dish is a mess of rice, usually Basmati, and beans, usually mung beans. Mung beans are the easiest bean to digest. The spices are traditional Indian ingredients, but there is no reason why you can’t experiment with others. It’s a very grounding dish and is great to enjoy after a cleanse or to eat as a cleansing food. If you’re eating this dish specifically to give your digestion a break, limit or omit spicy ingredients like red pepper flakes or cayenne.
There are thousands of variations of kitchari in Indian kitchens (like masala chai – everyone’s tea is different). This Sugar Ridge version, with amped up ginger and cardamom gives the dish a depth of savory.
1 cup mung beans, soaked
1 cup basmati rice, washed
1 large onion, sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger root
1 tsp ground cumin (or use whole seeds)
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 tsp black mustard seeds (optional)
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 cups water
1 can tomatoes with their juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (a handful if you don’t want to measure)
¼ cup fresh mint chopped (about 8 – 10 leaves)
Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or sea salt to taste
3 to 6 cups veggies: potato, squash, green beans, snow peas, cauliflower, etc.
Rinse the mung beans and rice together under running water until the water runs clear. You can soak them together overnight if you want, or for a few hours before you cook this. Soaking helps the grains to come alive a bit and reduces the amount of time needed to cook.
Drain and discard the soaking water.
In a large pot with a lid, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add your choice of seeds and toast until the mustard seeds pop. Add the other spices and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the beans and rice and stir until they are coated with the spice mixture.
Add the water and tomatoes, with their juice, to the pot and bring to a boil. Break up the tomatoes as you add them into the pot. Lower the heat to simmer and cover. Cook until the beans and rice are soft, but not mushy, 20 – 30 minutes.
During the cooking process add whatever veggies you want to the pot and allow just enough time to cook based on the size and density of what you add. Small pieces of potato need about 15 – 20 minutes while green beans need 3 – 5 minutes to cook through. Serve warm with chopped cilantro & mint and either Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or sea salt, to taste.