A gentle and warming bowl of Kitchari is one of the best and most loving things you can give to yourself, in my opinion. Full of nutrients, it is easy to digest and every time I take my first spoonful, I am so glad I took the time to nourish myself. I feel as though I re-align and re-adjust after enjoying this Kitchari, it helps to heal and ground me. It encourages me to eat mindfully out of love for the time and (minimal) effort that goes into stirring the pot. Perhaps this is subconsciously thanks to the Ayurvedic roots of this dish.
I had heard a lot about both Ayurveda and Kitchari for a while and it wasn’t until I read Jasmine Hemsley’s East by West that I truly felt I had a grasp on what the term Ayurveda means and how it is to incorporate such beliefs and practices into my everyday life. As Jasmine explains:
“the principles of this ancient healing system are based on the belief that health and wellbeing depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body and spirit, which are all unified… Ayurvedic cooking is itself part of the medicine of wellbeing”.
She continues to describe the different body types, or Doshas and our digestive fire, or Ugni. Enjoying Kitchari is a staple healing food in the tradition. It is believed to balance the body types, detoxify the body and purify the digestive system, thanks to its digestibility.
This Ayurvedic meal is delicious any time of the day and is even better on a cold winter’s evening when all you crave is something to fight off the cold. This is how I first ‘discovered’ Kitchari last winter, and to say I was hooked, is an understatement. I have continued to enjoy bowls of this soup/risotto/dahl throughout the warmer months, too, as it really settles an upset stomach. I stray slightly from a lot of Kitchari recipes in the particular ingredients I use, but the comforting, nourishing and healing elements are the same.
I have to admit, that making Kitchari became second nature to me. The healing process all begins with the preparation of the vegetables, continues through to the frying of the fragrant spices, then to stirring the pot at regular intervals and finally to consuming each delectable mouthful. The experience needn’t end there, though, as I will often cook up a big batch to enjoy throughout the week – it is best warmed back up but I have also enjoyed my recipe at room temperature.
Becoming such an innate and ‘felt’ process meant that I had never stopped to write down exactly what ingredients and in what amounts I was using, and so it was an enjoyable task to make it again for you.
The blend of vegetables mentioned are my favourite but I also love to add in courgette chunks, cauliflower florets, green peas, wilted greens, cubes of squash or pumpkin, or diced sweet potato. The important part is to chop them quite small. I have also used red lentils for a really creamy texture and brown rice along with a simple blend of herbs and spices. This is not intended to be a spicy dish, but I often will top my bowl with some chilli flakes. As far as other toppings go, feel free to customise as you please: toasted cashews nuts; dukkha sprinkle; sesame seeds; slivered almonds; coconut yoghurt; and my personal favourite: nutritional yeast – trust me on this one.
A comforting bowl of soothing Kitchari that is celebrated for its calming and healing properties. The perfect hug in a bowl.
- 75g brown rice
- 75g red split lentils
- 1 carrot, very small dice
- 1 parsnip, very small dice
- 1 yellow pepper, very small dice
- ½ onion, very small dice
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- Olive oil
- 1 tsp bouillon powder
- 1 tsp brown rice miso paste
- Cracked black pepper
- ¼ – ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- 500-600ml water, or more as needed
- To serve: fresh coriander, cracked black pepper, toasted cashew nuts
- Prepare all the vegetables, the smaller the better to make this really smooth and comforting.
- Heat a large glug of olive oil in a large saucepan and fry off the onion until translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Add all the other vegetables and garlic and fry for a couple of minutes. Now add the spices and stir to coat. Fry for a minute or so until smelling fragrant.
- Add the rice, lentils, bouillon powder, and miso, stir and then add enough water to cover the rice and vegetables, about 600ml water.
- Bring to the boil, stir well and reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes, until the lentils are breaking down, the vegetables are tender and the rice is soft. Stir occasionally (every 10 minutes or so), leaving the lid ajar, and add more water as necessary to prevent the pan from drying out. It will begin to stick for the last 5 minutes, so keep stirring often. The Kitchari should have a porridge-like creamy consistency.
- This is best served warm, but tastes great the next day, so make extras and store in an in airtight container in the fridge. I’ve also eaten this cold and enjoyed it, too.
I really looking forward to hearing your thoughts on my gentle and comforting Kitchari recipe. What do you know about Ayurveda, or what practices do you align with? Please share your comments below and tag me in your creations on social media – I’m @nourishing.amy on Instagram and use the hashtag #nourishingamy.
With Ayurvedic love x