Tis the season to stray from the healthy lifestyle that you practice 11 months out of the year. Ayurveda teaches us that enjoying life and not being too rigid is essential for a high level of well-being. The healthier you are the more you can afford to (very) occasionally indulge!  Your work or family life during the holidays may involve more parties and chocolates than feel natural to you.  You can still create balance during this hectic time of year by eating kitchari, Ayurveda’s prized healing dish, several times per week. It’s also a great time to experience regular shirodhara of course!

What you’ll need:

• good heavy bottomed saucepan or crockpot
• 1/2 cup basmanti rice
• 1 cup split yellow mung beans (moong dahl) or baby red lentils
• 4 1/2 cups water
• 2 cups of veggies
• 2 T ghee
• 1/2 T fresh ginger, chopped
• 1 tsp each mustard seeds, cumin, coriander, turmeric, curry blend
• 1/4 tsp hing (optional)
• sea salt 1/4 tsp or to taste
• fresh lemon or lime for garnish
• cilantro to garnish

Easy Method:

Combine all of the ingredients in a crock pot and cook (check your crockpot instructions) for about 2-3 hr on high or 5-6 hr on low. That’s it!  Walk away and come back to a warm, nutritious, delicious and easy to digest meal. You might have to experiment a bit to get the perfect amount of water and time, but it is very forgiving.  I tend to add a little extra water if I am going to cook on high.

Traditional Method:

Melt the ghee over medium/medium high heat in a skillet or in the bottom of your saucepan.  Add mustard seeds and saute until they pop and turn a lighter color. Turn down the heat and add the rest of your spices (including ginger). Saute until aromatic.

Two options here: add your beans and rice to this spice mixture, saute for a moment and then add the water and vegetables or save this bit for the end and add your ghee/spice blend to your cooked porridge.  If you elect to save this until the end, simply combine your rice, beans, water, and vegetables in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Turn down to a very low simmer to cook for 20-28 min. If you don’t have a low simmer option once it has come to a boil turn it off and let it rest for about 20 min.  Then bring it to a boil a second time and let it rest a final 20 minutes.

Serve with liberal garnishing of cilantro and slices of fresh lemon or lime.

Once you get the hang of it, this is a delicious, easy, one-pot meal!  Experiment with the spicing to find the flavor you like best.  You can also add a little bouillon to the water or serve with sauteed or roasted veggies on the side.


Your favorite version? Share in the comments below.