Kitchari Recipe - Cleansing Beans & Rice

Kitchari is beans and rice with some vegetables and spices. Traditionally, you use mung beans in the recipe, which are known for their ability to remove toxins from the body.  This dish is rooted in the tradition of Ayurveda, which is considered to be the sister science of yoga. Ayurveda is a holistic system of medicine and healing native to India. The primary goal of this system is to balance the "doshas" or elemental energies of the body. The idea is that when the doshas are balanced, there is health in the body.

Kitchari is cleansing and balancing because it provides ample nutrients while "detoxing" your body. The dish has plenty of protein, from the mung beans, plus fiber, from the brown rice. It's important to add whatever seasonal vegetables you have on hand to complete the dish, as Ayruveda dietary theory flows with the seasons. If you live in a cold, winter climate this time of year, that usually means root vegetables: carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, etc. My variation of this recipe, below, is one of the simplest and easiest to make. You can substitute lentils for mung beans, but try to find mung beans. Look where your grocery store has dried beans or Bob's Red Mill brand products. If you can't find them, order them online. Amazon has several sellers. And dried beans keep virtually forever.

To do a gentle cleanse of your digestive system, prepare a batch of kitchari and eat it for lunch and/or dinner 2 or 3 days in a row. For breakfast, eat a simple hot, whole grain cereal like oatmeal, sweeten only with seasonal fruit - chopped apples or pears are great. You can lightly cook the apples and pears to make them even more gentle for your system.

Kitchari Recipe

1 cup whole mung beans 
2 cups brown rice
4 1/4 cups cold water

Put these three ingredients into a pot, put the lid on and turn your burner on to medium high. When the mixture boils, turn the burner to low and cook for about 45 minutes. 

When the beans/rice mixture is almost done, put the following into a skillet on low for 5 or 10 minutes, just to fuse all the seasonings.

1-2 Tablespoons clarified butter/Ghee* or olive oil (Ghee is traditional)
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon ground coriander
1 Tablespoon turmeric 

When the rice and beans are done, combine them with the spices. You can be finished here, or you can top it with some fresh, chopped ginger (good for circulation and digestion). You can also add some cooked, chopped vegetables, as I mentioned above. I enjoy adding chopped carrots and/or sweet potatoes.

* Regarding Ghee, you can buy this in the ethnic foods section of the grocery store or you can make your own... Just melt butter on low in a small pot. Then let it sit and separate. Skim the top white blobs off. Pour or strain the golden "clarified butter" or Ghee off. Basically you want to get the white milky parts separated from the golden liquid. Discard the white part. What is left is Ghee.