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The Menu: Kitchari. Simple, Immune-Boosting, Inspired by a Great Trip

A delicious recipe for kitchari, a mung-bean rice porridge often prescribed in Ayurvedic cleansing therapies

This recipe for Kitchari, a simple, immune-boosting, and beautiful dish, comes to us from Laura Chávez Silverman of The Outside Institute.

Kitchari, a delicious mainstay of Indian cuisine known as “the mother of natural healing,” is a combination of split yellow mung beans and white basmati rice cooked with ghee and mild spices. Widely prescribed as the primary food in Ayurvedic cleansing therapies, it is said to detoxify the entire system while also kindling the digestive fires. East Indians turn to this fortifying and nourishing dish when weakened or sick; a diet of kitchari alone is said to cure all diseases within 3 weeks. Healing properties aside, this bright yellow porridge has a soothing richness and depth of flavor that belie its simple ingredients.

Kitchari (Mung Bean & Basmati Rice Porridge)

Serves 3-4

1/4 cup yellow mung dal (split yellow mung beans), rinsed well
1/2 cup white basmati rice, rinsed well
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of asafoetida
1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
Lemon wedges
Garnish options: microgreens, sprouts, cilantro, diced radish, spiced crispy rice

Place the dal and rice in a medium saucepan with 5 cups of water and bring to the boil. Add salt. Reduce heat to the lowest setting and simmer, partially covered, while you prepare the spices.

Spirit and immune boosting kitchari by Laura Chávez Silverman ©Randazzo&Blau

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Combine the cumin, turmeric, black pepper, and asafoetida in a small bowl.

Heat a small skillet over medium-high and add the ghee or coconut oil, allowing it to melt. Add the mustard seeds and cook, stirring, until they start to sizzle and pop, about 10 seconds. Reduce heat to medium and add the spice mixture. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly so the spices don’t burn. Transfer the hot spice mixture to the cooking rice and beans and mix well.

Continue to cook, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until the rice and dal break down and achieve the consistency of porridge, 45-60 minutes.

To serve, season to taste with salt, add a squeeze of lemon, and top with your choice of garnishes.

– Laura Chávez Silverman

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Patricia Garcia-Gomez
Patricia Garcia-Gomez
Patricia Garcia-Gomez is a writer and artist working with visual media and sound. She is the editor of Travel by Ageist and a contributor to the Discovery Channel, Travel Channel and The Private Journal (Europe). Her work is also part of the permanent archives of the Tate Modern, the Museum of Arts & Design in New York, the Buhl Collection, and The Harwood Museum in New Mexico.

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