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Comfort Food That Is Actually Good For You: Kitchari

21 April 2010 4 Comments Print article Print article

Kitchari, a simple dish made from yellow lentils and rice, is known in Ayurvedic circles for it’s digestibility and cleansing properties. But you don’t have to eat it just because it’s good for you – it’s also the perfect comfort food. And, it’s really simple to make.

There are as many different recipes for making kitchari as there are for pizza. But all kitcharis have one thing in common – the main ingredients are lentils and a grain. Here’s a good basic recipe to start with.

Basic Kitchari for 2

1/4 c. moong dal (small split yellow lentils found in Indian stores or markets such as Whole Foods)
½ c. basmati rice – (if using brown rice add a bit more water and cook a bit longer).
2 tsp ghee (may substitute olive or canola oil)
½ tsp. cumin seed
½ tsp fenugreek seed
a small pinch of asafoetida (hing) – an Indian spice often used instead of onions – don’t worry if you don’t have it. If using, just use a small pinch. Too much will make the dish bitter.
¼ tsp. turmeric
1 ½ c. water

Soak the moong dal for a few hours.
Rinse the moong dal & rice several times.
In a small saucepan, heat the ghee or oil.
When hot, add the cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds, if using them.
Add the hing and turmeric. Stir to infuse the oil or ghee with the spices and add a few drops of water if needed to prevent them from burning.
Add the rice and dal, stirring for a minute or two.
Add 1 1/2 cups water and salt to taste.
Cover and bring to a boil. Skim off and discard any foam. Turn heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add salt to taste.
If desired, garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.
Experiment with this recipe to your heart’s content. Some cooks add chopped vegetables or cashews. Sprinkle with some grated unsweetened coconut and lime juice as an additional garnish. Try substituting quinoa for the rice. Adjust the spices to your liking. Make it your own, and enjoy!

Editors note: The proportions have been changed since first published – moong dal is now 1/4 cup.

Photo copyright Kylie Antolini at Thank you Kylie!


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  • Shakti Staff said:

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  • Jon said:

    The food that I cook is simple and delicious. One of the people that I came into contact with mentioned 50% grains 25 % fruits and 25% vegies. also eating locally grown food and food that is in season. I find that satvic food leaves a person with satisfaction also leaving one light and fewer cravings too.

    Peace and grace


  • Tim said:

    Didn’t the link say this is sattvic food. Is that just Hindi for comfort? or does it have something to with an ayurvedic approach? I thought I’d see more on that.
    If I can make a request. I love chana masala. There seems to be other names for it or for less spicy version. I might cook it too often. 🙂

  • Traci said:

    I’m so happy to see recipes here. Thank you!

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