“‘Kitchari’ means ‘mixture’ in Hindi, and it is a traditional Ayurvedic dish typically made with mung dal (split mung beans) and white basmati rice, delicately flavored with herbs and spices, and cooked with your choice of vegetables. It’s the ultimate comfort food. Kitchari is suitable for all mind-body types (doshas) and adaptable to suit your preference—light and soupy or hearty and filling. It’s my go-to. I could make it blindfolded.” —Jasmine Hemsley
1 cup yellow mung dal
½ cup white basmati rice
2 tablespoons ghee (or coconut oil)
4 cardamom pods, cracked
2 bay leaves
5 cups water or more
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 to 5 cups chopped seasonal vegetables
1. Rinse the mung dal and rice 3 times, or until the water runs clear.
2. Measure out all of the spices into a cup—this makes it less likely that you’ll burn your spices while searching for the others.
3. Heat the ghee or oil in a large pot. Add all of the spices and sauté together on medium heat for a minute until fragrant. Be careful not to overdo this stage—it’s better to err on the side of caution on your first attempt than risk frazzling the spices and making them bitter or burnt.
4. Stir in the mung dal and rice. Add 5 cups of water and any chopped vegetables. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, lid on.
5. Cook for at least 40 minutes (longer if using whole green mung beans), or until the dal and rice are completely soft (easily squashed between finger and thumb). The kitchari will have a porridge-like consistency and the ghee will have risen to the top. Add more water if necessary.
6. Adjust the seasoning and garnish with fresh chopped herbs, if you like.
Recipe excerpted from East by West. Copyright © 2017 by Jasmine Hemsley. Published by Bluebird Books, an imprint of Pan Macmillan.
Originally featured in Food Coach Jasmine Hemsley’s Warming Recipes for Mind-Body Balance