We're back from our April 2015 Cape May, NJ, Detox Yoga retreat and I'm getting ready for another one next week on May 1st! What a busy Spring this is turning out to be. This nourishing, cleansing stew - Kitcharee - is just the thing to restore overworked bodies and minds. It's a good thing it tastes good, too! Believe me, I wouldn't eat anything that didn't satisfy my picky palette.
There are Kitcharee recipes all over the Internet. The trick is to find a basic one, and then adjust it to fit what you have in your cabinets in the way of veggies, beans and rice. Most original recipes call for split mung beans, which are yellow, tiny beans that cook down to soft goodness in no time at all. And also basmati rice, veggies and an assortment of spices to help with digestion.
In Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, this dish is meant to be taken when one is looking to cleanse the body - for a single meal, or a whole month. This dish has everything you need to leave you feeling satisfied, so you are not depriving your system at all. All the ingredients are cooked until soft, but not gummy. And the spices added help to make it all easy on the system, regardless of your constitution (dosha).
Here's a basic recipe that I follow. Feel free to tweak anything to make it fit what's in your refrigerator and cabinets.
1 cup Basmati Rice
2 cups Mung Dal (split yellow)
7 cups (approx.) Water (more water for a soupy consistency)
a bit of Salt
2 Tbs. Ghee (clarified butter - can find in health food store or some grocers)
3 tsp. Mustard Seeds
2 tsp. Cumin Seeds or Powder
2 tsp. Turmeric Powder
2 tsp. Coriander Powder
2 tsp. Fennel Powder
1 pinch Asafoetida (Hing)
Rinse rice and dal in a few changes of water and remove any debris.
Saute seeds in ghee until they pop. Then add the other spices. Add the mung dal and salt. Saute for 1-2 minutes. Add boiling water, bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 minutes or until dal is almost fully cooked.
Then add any vegetables that balance your constitution (or ones that happen to be in your fridge!). Cut into smallish pieces. Add rice and veggies to the stew and stir to mix, adding extra water if needed. Bring back to boil and simmer until rice is cooked, up to 20 minutes.
Caution: Kitchari mono-diet can lead to constipation if taken exclusively for several days, as it is low in fiber. The following may help to take once per day, a few hours after meals: psyllium husks or seeds with water OR oat bran OR prune juice.
Notice how nourishing this dish is and how satisfied it leaves you feeling. I'm always amazed after I am away on a cleansing retreat eating mainly this dish, how I DON'T want unhealthy food. The more you feed the body what it needs, the more it wants what will heal and support it.
Let me know if you have any questions and how your Kitcharee dish turns out!
Hi! I'm Maya!
A yoga teacher, juice bar owner, freelance writer and mom. I love simple, tiny living, and am mildly obsessed with vanlife and dogs. I love travel, getting outside, and the challenge of cooking from scratch with a few simple ingredients. Thanks for visiting my site. Feel free to email me with questions, feedback, or to connect in any way!