Kitchari (pronounced kitch-a-ree) is a staple comfort food of India, also known as khichari, khitchari and kitchiri, and also sometimes referred to as kedgeree (though incorrectly, as that is an English dish). The word ‘kitchari’ means ‘mixture’ or ‘mess’, as in ‘mess of pottage’ or ‘mess of stew’ or porridge mixture, usually of two grains.
Traditionally made of basmati rice and yellow dried split mung beans (moong dhal), along with digestive spices and ghee, kitchari is used as a cleansing and detoxifying food in Ayurveda. This is one kitchari recipe that is particularly nourishing and easy to digest — as long as you avoid using vegetables from the nightshade family, which are considered to have an inflammatory effect.
Rinse and strain the mung beans five times, or until the water runs clear. Set aside.
Heat the ghee or sesame oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the mustard, cumin, fennel and fenugreek seeds and toast until the mustard seeds pop.
Add the curry leaves and ground spices, stirring well, then stir in the rice and beans.
Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for at least 1 hour, until the beans and rice are soft, and the kitchari has a porridge-like consistency.
Serve warm, garnished with chopped coriander if desired.
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