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
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.
How to make kitchari
Making kitchari is fairly straight forward. You just need these key ingredients:
- A mixture of grains and legumes – such as yellow mungbeans or moong dal, split peas, rice (either white or brown)
- Coconut oil – coconut oil makes the perfect plantbased replacement for ghee (and tastes better too!).
- 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.
A comforting and delicious grain-free kitchari that you will absolutely love
- 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
- 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
- 2 cups of chopped vegetables. (I use carrots and cauliflower)
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.
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.