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How to Make Kitchari – and a Quinoa Kitchari recipe

Quinoa Kitchari - Passionately Keren

If you’ve never heard kitchari before, then you’re in for a treat. This beautiful recipe is a request from my equally beautiful friend Jess who wanted me to create a kitchari recipe, and I’m so glad she did. Because, this recipe goes straight to my number 1 favourite for winter! A protein pack grain-free quinoa kitchari that will warm your body and nourish your soul. Enjoy it friend, this is comfort in a bowl.

What is Kitchari

Kitchari /ˈkɪtʃ(ə)riː/

If you’ve never heard of kitchari before, it’s an Indian-vegan-equivalent of a chicken soup. ou eat it when you have a cold, or a digestive issue, or a stomach ache, or a hangover. It’s considered to be very soothing to the body and easily digestible. At its simplest and most traditional, kitchari is made with a mixture yellow moong dal, ghee (clarified butter) and Indian spices. It is minimally seasoned and is often used by mothers to feed their young children (or infant, when pureed).

Kitchari is also popular Ayurvedic medicine and is believed to have detoxifying, restorative properties as a cleanse. As for me, I think it a perfect dish for winter, or whenever you feel like some tasty and comforting, but also good for you.

Quinoa Kitchari - Passionately Keren

How to make kitchari

Making kitchari is fairly straight forward. You just need these key ingredients:

  1. A mixture of grains and legumes – such as yellow mungbeans or moong dal, split peas, rice (either white or brown)
  2. Coconut oil – coconut oil makes the perfect plantbased replacement for ghee (and tastes better too!).
  3. Spices – the key spices are cumin seeds, mustard seeds, ginger, and turmeric, however I highly recommend adding fenugreek if you can source it, the rest is optional.

Adding quinoa to kichari

This is my little twist to the traditional kitchari recipe. Technically a seed, I think adding quinoa to the bean mixture makes the dish a little more wholesome. You can add it to your rice and legumes mixture or use it to replace the rice. It adds a lovely nutty taste to the kitchari and is pack full of protein.

P.S. If you make this, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or find me on Instagram or Facebook. Don’t forget to tag me @passionatelykeren so I won’t miss your post.

Keren x

Quinoa Kitchari

A comforting and delicious grain-free kitchari that you will absolutely love

Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword ayurvedic, kitchari, quinoa, turmeric
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 massel stock cube
  • 1/2 cup yellow mungbeans
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup split red lentils
  • 6 cups water

Spices

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 knob of ginger minced
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Vegetables

  • 2 cups of chopped vegetables. I use carrots and cauliflower

Instructions

  1. 1. The night before - rinse mungbean, quinoa, and lentils and soak them. Make sure you use a large bowl filled with with water.


    2. The following day - drain the soaked beans and seeds and rinse under running water. Set aside.


    3. Heat coconut oil over medium heat, in a cast iron pot (or any heavy-bottomed pot). Add onion, garlic, cumin, turmeric, fenugreek and ground coriander. Cook for a few minutes until seeds begin to pop.  Add the rinsed beans, and stir to coat. 

    4. Add stock cube and water. then bring to boiling over medium heat. 

    5. Cover and reduce to low heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Add the chopped veggies and cook until they become soft, about 20 minutes. 
Stir the pot every now and then to prevent it sticking on to the bottom.

    6. Season with salt and pepper.

    7. Adjust the consistency to your liking by add more water for a soupier consistency, and increasing the cooking time for a thicker, creamier soup.

    8. Serve with fresh coriander.


Recipe Notes

If you like your spices like I do, you can add some freshly sautéed spices for bolder flavours. In a separate saucepan, sauté 1 tsp of mustard seeds in a bit of coconut oil until they pop. Then add 1/2 tsp of cumin seed. Stir together to release the flavours. Stir the sautéed spices into the cooked kitchari mixture just before serving.

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Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

Lately, Buzz and I have been going to my local library on Saturdays. It’s the perfect place to do some work on Saturdays, especially since the weather has heated up for summer and I don’t have air conditioning at home. On these days we go to the local café (Victoria Park Cafe) for lunch and we end up getting falafel rolls each time, every time, without fail. I surprised myself with the fact that I could actually have the same food… again, and again, and again. I used to be more adventurous and would refuse to order the same thing from a restaurant as it seems like ‘wasted calories’ but it seems that as I am getting older, I’m less fussed about these things.

But one thing hasn’t changed. The foods I eat when I’m eating out still inspire me, and I still like re-creating them at home.

When we order our falafel wrap, we always ask for ‘extra tabbouleh’ (also called tabouleh or tabbouli). We both love our tabbouleh! One day, the café owner was so generous that he gave us much more ‘extras’ than anticipated and couldn’t finish our wrap. Guess there’s only so much falafels and tabbouleh one can eat in a single sitting. By the way, for those who are unfamiliar with tabbouleh, it is a traditional (and very popular) lebanese salad served as part of a mezze plate or use to fill a wrap.

Like our giant falafel wraps.

One day, back at home, I felt like some tabbouleh and decided to make my own customised version. I used quinoa to increase its protein content and I ended up accidentally making it gluten-free and wheat-free. And since there’re no falafels in the house, I added beans to the salad to make it more substantial and satisfying.

Not sure if you can get addicted to salad but it was hard to put the fork down once I started eating this.

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of quinoa
  • 2 large tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1 large cucumber, finely diced
  • 4 cups of finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 can of red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to season

Method:

  1. Cook quinoa in 1 cup of vegetable stock until tender but not too soft. Check out this post for the complete instruction on how to cook quinoa. Set aside to cool.
  2. Transfer parsley, quinoa, tomatoes, cucumber and red kidney beans into a big bowl.
  3. Drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil. Toss gently.
  4. Season with  freshly ground sea salt and cracked pepper and serve

Though we love our falafel roll, we like to eat our quinoa tabbouleh salad with some Linda McCartney Vegetarian Sausages :)

So, have you had tabbouleh before? Do you like it?

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How To Cook Quinoa

quinoa (1 of 1) Quinoa is one of my favourite superfoods. It’s slightly chewy (when you don’t overcook it) and it has a delicate nutty flavour. It is also easy to cook compared to rice and it’s also much more nutritious.

5 facts you should know about quinoa:

  1. It’s pronounced ‘keen-wah’
  2. It’s technically a seed not a grain
  3. It’s high in protein and a good source of iron and fibre
  4. It’s gluten free and has Low GI
  5. It comes in a different varieties, there’s white, red and black quinoa. I think they all taste pretty much the same.

So how to cook quinoa? If you never made quinoa before, it can be a little daunting so here’s a simple and easy recipe to make perfectly cooked quinoa everytime.

Quinoa

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth (use 1 ½ of liquid if you like it slightly chewier)
    Note: Vegetable broth gives quinoa a nice flavour but you can also use plain water with a pinch of salt to cook and add flavour to the quinoa.

Method:

  1. Rinse quinoa under cold water in a fine mesh strainer and gently rub the seeds together with your hands to ensure that any residual dust and saponins have been removed. Saponins are just chemicals produced by the plant to protect themselves against microbes and fungi. They are bitter-tasting so they might make your quinoa slightly bitter if not removed properly.
  2. Add quinoa and vegetable broth into a pot.
  3. Cook over medium heat uncovered and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to simmer. Cover with a lid and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes or until all the water has absorbed and the quinoa seeds have become translucent.
  4. Rest for 5 minutes and fluff it up with a fork before serving.

Quinoa is so versatile. You can serve it so many different ways: You can make quinoa salad with roasted vegetables; you can add it to a soup or use it to replace rice. You can also cook quinoa with almond milk and serve it as a ‘power’ porridge with some chopped nuts and fruits. The choices are endless.

My favourite Quinoa and Tabouleh Salad. You can check out the recipe here.

Quinoa Tabouleh