Kitchiri is one of those comforting foods that I can't stop eating once I start. I forget to make it very often and it is so good for you. In the Ayurvedic tradition, Kitchiri is a food that you eat to create rest from processed foods. The mung beans in it are full of amino acids that are the precursors for protein and when combined with the rice cooked with it turns it into a full protein. Plus the spices used are supposed to be very good for your digestive system. In any case, it is a wonderful dish that I make with many vegetables in it to give it even more of a nutritional punch. This is a very simple recipe that cooks much quicker than you think. The total time of cooking was only 1/2 hour but it has the taste and feel of a long, slow cooked dish. I like to use browned onions and garlic for additional flavor, but other versions call for the use of Asafetida instead, a dried gum from India that smells quite bad when uncooked, but when added to foods and cooked tastes a bit like leeks. Kitchiri is traditionally garnished with extra shredded ginger and cilantro leaves and sometimes I garnish it with extra browned onions too. It's really delicious, nourishing and nurturing too!
1 cup yellow dried Mung Beans (dehulled)
2 cups Basmati Rice
1 Serrano Chili, stem removed, deseeded and cut into a fine mince
8 cups water
2 Tablespoons Ghee or Butter
1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled, grated or minced very fine
1/2 Tablespoon dried Turmeric
1/2 Tablespoon dried Coriander
1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
1 onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove minced
2 Roma tomatoes, stem piece removed and cut into small pieces
1 small zucchini, stem removed and cut into small chunks
1 yellow summer squash, stem removed and cut into small chunks
1 large carrot, stem removed, peeled and cut into small chunks
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 bunch of cilantro, leaves removed from the stem
2 inches of ginger, peeled and grated
Quartered Lemons to squeeze on the juice
Wash and rinse the Mung Beans and put into a pot with the 8 cups of water. Add in Turmeric and Serrano Chili. Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Skim off foam and cook for a total of about 15 minutes or until the Mung Beans are just starting to get soft. Add in the rice and vegetables and cook for an additional 15 - 20 minutes. Taste to see if rice is done. Meanwhile, in a frying pan, heat the Ghee (or butter) and add in the Coriander and Cumin Seeds. Cook until they start to brown slightly. Add in the garlic and onions and cook until the onions get browned. Add in tomatoes and cook until they break down into a sauce. Add to the cooked Kitchiri and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with the cilantro leaves and ginger.
Five Element Analysis
Mung Beans are an Earthy food and the squash and carrots and cooked onions add even more. Rice belongs to the Metal Element and the garlic and spices make sure that Metal is fully present. The Water Element is represented in the amount used to cook the Mung Beans and Rice and the butter. The Fire Element is found in the Tomatoes and Serrano Chili and the Cilantro and Lemon add the Wood Element. As you can see, this is a very balanced one dish meal!