Kicharee/Kichari

Khichdi close-up on a plate with ingredients. top viewKicharee is one of those perfectly-balanced meals that is great for all people, regardless of their constitution.  High in protein, easy to digest, and a great food for detoxification, kicharee is an all-season dish that you can enjoy anytime, including when you’re feeling under the weather and need something simple to eat.

According to Daverick Legget, author of the awesomely well-written and informative Recipes for Self-Healing, “Kicharee is a traditional Indian dish translating roughly into ‘hodge-podge.’ Together the beans and rice provide strong nourishment for the Qi and Blood. This combination will also help seep excess moisture from the body. Mung beans also nourish the Yin and support the Heart.”

Kicharee is especially tasty as a side dish to steamed seasonal vegetables or fresh fruit. It’s also a great snack for those damp summer days when your fingers and toes look like sausages (due to water retention). Eat some kicharee to drain the damp accumulation that so often accompanies summer-heat.

Below are two different recipes for making kicharee. Enjoy!

Kicharee, Recipe 1

This recipe makes enough for 4-6 people. You can experiment with the combination of spices.

Ingredients

4-6-8 cups of water (8 cups of water will make it like soup, 6 cups like oatmeal, and 4 cups like rice n’ beans)

1 cup dried split mung dahl (also called split yellow mung beans/moong dahl/split yellow lentils)

*soak beans for 4-8 hours to make them more digestible*

1 cup white basmati rice

3 tablespoons butter, ghee, olive oil, or coconut oil

1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, finely chopped (you can use ginger powder if you don’t have fresh ginger, 1/2 tbsp)

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 tablespoon fennel seeds

1/2 tsp  cinnamon

½ tsp salt or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

1 small handful fresh chopped cilantro leaves

Directions

1. Rinse split mung beans and rice until water runs clear.

2. Heat large pot on medium heat. Add any seeds (fennel, black mustard) and stir frequently until they start popping.

3. Add oil or butter, then the rest of dry, powdered spices (you are not adding the bay leaves, ginger, and cilantro until later).Keep stirring for a couple minutes or the spices will burn.

4. Add mung beans and rice to pot; coat with spices. Stir frequently to avoid burning.

5. Add water and ginger (if using fresh ginger) and bring to a boil.

6. Turn heat to low, cover pot and continue to cook until split mung and rice become soft (about 40 minutes).

7. The chopped cilantro can be added just before serving.

8. Add salt or Bragg’s to taste.

*If I’ve made my kichari more like rice n’ beans, when I rewarm it the next day, I often add some chicken broth to make it into a tasty soup.

Kicharee, Recipe 2

 Ingredients:

1 cup whole mung beans, presoaked

1 cup white basmati rice

1 onion

small knob of fresh ginger

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoob turmeric

1 tsp coriander

3 tbsp olive oil, ghee, butter, or coconut oil

Directions:

Soak the mung beans overnight (or for at least 6 hours).  Rinse both mung beans and rice. Cook mung beans and rice in 8 cups of water. Bring to boil, turn heat to medium-low, cover, let simmer for about 30 minutes until both mungs beans and rice are soft.

When rice and beans are cooking, finely chop onion and ginger. Cook onions in olive oil or ghee until soft (5 minutes). Add spices (including ginger) and stir for a few minutes. When rice and beans have cooked for 30 minutes, add the onion and spice combination into the rice and beans and stir it in. Cover and continue to simmer for another 5-10 minutes (or until water is absorbed). Season with sea salt or Bragg’s. Fresh pepper or fresh cilantro can also be added.

If you love kicharee so much you want to visit the mecca of all things kicharee, check this out. Michael Tierra is a brilliant herbalist/teacher who writes about Traditional Chinese Medicine in an accessible, interesting way.