Basic Kitchari Recipe

2 cups yellow mung dal beans
1 cup white basmati rice
2 tablespoons ghee or organic sesame oil
2 teaspoons each black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric powder, and black pepper
1 teaspoon each cumin powder, coriander powder, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds (cinnamon optional in winter)
3 green cardamom pods
2 cloves
2 bay leaves
2–5 cups of chopped, organic, seasonal vegetables such as spinach, carrots, celery, kale, and bok choy (avoid nightshades)
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Rinse the mung dal beans and strain them five times, or until the water runs clear. Heat the ghee or oil in a large pot. Add all the seeds and toast until the mustard seeds pop. Add the bay leaves and powdered spices, and mix together.  Stir in the rice and beans. Add 8 cups of water, cloves, bay leaves, cardamom pods, and chopped vegetables. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook at least one hour, until the beans and rice are soft and the kitchari has a porridge-like consistency. Serve warm with fresh cilantro on top, if desired.

Variations

Kapha

  • Omit the oil or ghee and instead soften the spices by cooking in two inches of water before adding the rice and dal.
  • Use quinoa, millet, or amaranth instead of rice.
  • Add about ½ inch of chopped, fresh ginger to the oil when cooking the spices.
  • Add a pinch of cayenne pepper while cooking.
  • Use half the amount of ghee or oil.
  • Best veggies for a kapha variation are leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, asparagus, and celery.

Pitta

  • Use half the amount of mustard seeds and black pepper, or omit mustard seeds altogether.
  • Replace ghee with coconut oil.
  • Best veggies for a pitta variation are leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, zucchini, and carrots.

Vata

  • Use twice the amount of ghee or oil.
  • Add a pinch of cayenne pepper while cooking.
  • Add about ½ inch of chopped, fresh ginger to the oil when cooking the spices.
  • Use quinoa instead of rice to increase the protein content.
  • Use double the amount of rice.
  • Best veggies for a vata variation are carrots, zucchini, peas, sweet potatoes, and asparagus.

Vegan

  • Use oil rather than ghee.

Grain-free

  • Omit the rice and instead chop half a head of cauliflower in a food processor until it reaches the consistency of rice. Toast the mixture in a pan, in 1 tablespoon of ghee or sesame oil. Add after the mung dal beans have cooked.
  • Use 2 cups less water.

Alternative Grains

  • Use quinoa, amaranth, or millet instead of rice for the base.

If you’re new to some of the ingredients in this recipe, ask your local natural grocer to help you locate them. The spices and grains are typically sold in the bulk section and/or prepackaged; the mung dal beans and ghee (clarified butter) can usually be found in the “international foods” aisle.

For a mini-detox, eat kitchari for all of your meals for a day or two—or simply enjoy it as a delicious part of a healthy, whole-foods diet.

ROASTED RED PEPPER & SWEET POTATO SOUP
(Yield: 6-8 servings)
Ingredients:
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large dice
1 sweet onion, finely diced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 red bell peppers
6 cups vegetable stock
1 cup full fat coconut milk
Handful of basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
Procedure:
1.       Preheat oven to 375F.
2.       On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes and onions with 2 tablespoons oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast until tender, 20-30 minutes.
3.       In the meantime, cook the red peppers directly on a gas stovetop until the skins are charred and blistered, turning frequently, 2-3 minutes. Transfer peppers to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam peppers. When cool enough to handle, peel peppers and discard skin. Roughly chop peppers and set aside.
4.       Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a stockpot over medium-low heat. Add celery, carrots and garlic. Season with salt and sweat for a few minutes. Stir in roasted sweet potatoes and onions and roasted peppers.
5.       Add the vegetable stock and coconut milk and bring to boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and puree in a blender until smooth. Taste and season with salt, if needed.
6.       Serve garnished with basil.

INDIAN-INSPIRED RED LENTIL SOUP WITH GREENS
(Yield: 6-8 servings)
Ingredients:
1 ½ cups red lentils (masoor dahl), washed thoroughly
2 green chilis
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 bay leaf
6 cups water
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1 onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 cup tomatoes, finely diced
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
3 curry leaves
½ lb. Swiss chard, cut into thin ribbons
Procedure:
1.     In a large pot, combine lentils, chilis, turmeric, bay leaf, water and salt. Cover and bring to boil, then simmer partially covered, stirring often, for about 40 minutes, until lentils are cooked through.
2.     While soup simmers, heat 1 tablespoon ghee in a pan, add mustard seeds and toast until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add onion and ginger and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
3.     Add tomatoes and cook until thickened. Add mixture to the soup and cook for a few more minutes until the flavors are blended.
4.     Heat remaining 1 tablespoon ghee in a pan and add cumin and fennel seeds; toast until fragrant. Add the curry leaves, being cautious that they may spatter.
5.     Remove bay leaf from soup. Stir in spice-curry mixture to soup along with the Swiss chard.

TUSCAN MINESTRONE
(Yield: 6-8 servings)
Ingredients:
1 cup cannellini beans, soaked in water overnight in the fridge
¼ medium onion, roughly sliced PLUS 1 medium onion, finely diced
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ leek, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2-3 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
2 beefsteak tomatoes, seeded and diced
5-6 cups vegetable stock
3 tablespoons arborio rice
1 small piece parmesan rind
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 slices Tuscan bread, toasted
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Procedure:
1.     Drain beans and combine with sliced onion and rosemary in a large pot with enough water to cover beans by about 2”. Cook until tender, about 40 minutes.
2.     While beans are cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add diced onion, leeks, carrots and celery, and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Add zucchini and tomatoes and cook for an additional few minutes. Add the vegetables to the cooked beans.
3.     Add vegetable stock, rice and parmesan rind to soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook  until rice is al dente. Remove parmesan rind and discard.
4.     Serve over bread with a touch of grated parmesan.