Neeshee's Kitchari Recipe
1/2 cup organic white basmati rice
1/2 cup organic yellow split mung dal
2 tbsp ghee
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
4 curry leaves
2 tsp Mum’s masala
2 tsp Soma Salt
~5 cups water
optional: fresh ginger root, diced
vegetable options: summer squash (lauki, zucchini, yellow squash), sweet potato (orange flesh), broccoli, leafy greens, carrot, beet
garnish with cilantro and/or parsley
Melt ghee in pan over medium heat. Saute cumin, fennel, turmeric, and coriander in ghee until full aroma is released. Rinse rice and dal thoroughly and add to ghee and spices (if using Indian basmati rice, add AFTER dal has boiled for 5 minutes). Add 2tsp Mum's Masala if you have it. Coat rice and dal with ghee and spices thoroughly. Add 4.5 to 5 cups of warm water to the pan and increase heat to bring to a boil. Add 2tsp Soma Salt to the water. Once boiled for 5 minutes, lower heat to low-medium. Wait at least 10 minutes before adding vegetables to prevent overcooking. It is best to add vegetables well into the cooking process. The final texture of the vegetables should be softer than Chinese stir-fry but not mush--there should be some resistance in the vegetable when you bite into it. Cover pan and cook until dal is tender and crushes easily between the fingers. Add more water if necessary as everyone's stove and cookware is different. Serves 2.
Basmati Rice: India vs. California
Indian white basmati rice is preferable to California white basmati rice. You can identify Indian basmati easily because it has much longer and thinner grains compared to the California grown variety. Indian basmati is lighter to digest and more aromatic, while California basmati is thicker, starchier, and heavier on digestion. In either case, white rice tends to be too heavy to eat at dinner time, so favor quinoa in this recipe instead if making as a dinner meal. Note that Indian basmati rice is rarely certified organic, but most of the time is organic. Source Indian basmati from your local health food store if possible, rather than local Indian grocery stores. Always use your eyes and nose to evaluate the rice. It should not have an unnatural white hue and the aroma should be full and almost intoxicating. Indian basmati rice cooks faster than its California counterpart, so in this recipe it should be added after the dal has boiled for 5 minutes.
If you need more protein, then split the portion of grains evenly between white rice and quinoa, or cook the kitchari exclusively with quinoa. This is especially good to do at dinner time. Also for additional protein consider adding fresh paneer to the kitchari.
Yellow Mung Dal Alternatives
Yellow mung dal can be hard to find, so you may have to search online if your local health food store does not carry it. The best alternatives to yellow mung dal in kitchari is red lentils, french lentils, and brown lentils. It is good to mix it up every now and then, so feel free to rotate the protein source.