Kitchari, that classic Ayurvedic dish, eaten on the regular in India (just like we might eat porridge and the Italians eat risotto!) is my go-to recipe. Kitchari derives from the Sanskrit word for “mix” and so really anything goes, as long as it’s deliciously but mildly spiced and all the ingredients get to know each other over a long, slow cook so that the resultant yummy, warming comfort food becomes an easy-to-digest delight for your happy belly.
My absolute go-to Kitchari is this one — a golden bowl of white basmati rice and split mung dal beans which, when they’ve dropped their green jackets and are split in half, become little yellow ovals that cook much quicker and don’t need a soak. So together with the white rice, which also doesn’t need a soak, no pre-planning is needed for this dish.
That being said, I also love quinoa for its texture, slightly nutty flavour and decent hit of protein. It does require an overnight soak and rinse to make sure the saponins are properly washed away. I also soak the whole green mung beans to make them easier to digest. Not only does soaking neutralise most of the phytonutrients found in the whole quinoa and whole green mung beans, but it also activates them — kicking off the germination process, which releases more nutrients and also makes them, again, easier to digest.
Sound like hard work? Don’t worry — you literally pop half a cup of each in a bowl the night before, cover in water and… go to bed.
This recipe has become a recent favourite. I made it for Venetia Falconer when she popped by to do a podcast at my place — I set the mung beans and quinoa to a simmer together while I measured out the spices and chopped the coriander. We enjoyed a lovely chat and sipped some tea while it bubbled away on the stove and then the spiced tarka and the coriander and lime topping came together in a flash and was stirred into the kitchari for our hearty lunch. For more feel-good food, pop over to JasmineHemsley.com/Recipes.
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- 1/2 cup (approx. 64 g) whole green mung, soaked overnight
- 1/2 cup (approx. 64 g) quinoa, soaked overnight
- 3 ½ cups (approx 800 ml) of water
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp coriander seeds, ground
- 3 crushed cardamom pods
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- Handful of coriander or parsley, chopped
- Lime juice, to taste
- Rinse and drain the mung and quinoa, then add the salt and water to a saucepan and simmer until soft – about 40 mins, adding more water if needed..
- Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottomed pan, melt the ghee or coconut oil and gently sauté the spices.
- Stir the spice mix into the mung and quinoa, or vice versa.
- Add the finely chopped coriander or parsley and squeeze lime juice over the kitchari.
- Finish with extra ghee or coconut oil, melted on top.
- Season with salt and pepper if desired, and serve.