Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Soul Food of India ~ Kitchari

Welcome to my food blog and my very first posting!

Hello all of you lovely people! 

I subscribe to an herbal website who sends out a monthly newsletter always containing great tips, info and ideas on using herbs. Last month, the featured recipe was called Kitchari. Have you heard of it? I hadn't but it piqued my curiosity after reading it was a common dish in India. I made it yesterday and immediately realized why they call it comfort food or the "chicken soup" of India! Everything checked out on my mental rating system - great flavor/texture combination, ease of preparation,  packed with nutrition, and at least one of my boys ate it!! YAY!! This recipe for Kitchari earned a high standing place in my FAVORITE RECIPES folder! I can't wait to make it again, not to mention eating it tonight (and maybe for lunch too!) It's pretty dense and definitely made to be eaten as comfort food on a cold winter night or if you are recovering from sickness. Since I don't eat chicken soup (anymore), I am delighted to find this alternative!

Endy enjoying his bowl of kitchari.
Apparently, there are many ways to prepare Kitchari .... Perhaps my friends who have lived in  India will chime in on this. I made this exactly as instructed and didn't add any of the variations suggested on the website. But, I plan to make this again, so there will be plenty of opportunity for that. All the ingredients in this recipe are extremely beneficial to your health ... especially good for digestion ... you can read all about that here. And if you think you might have trouble finding these ingredients, try your local health food store.

A close up.
Please post your comments below! I'd love to hear your input or suggestions.


1 cup of basmati rice (I used brown)
1/2 cup of mung beans (or lentils)
2 Tablespoons of whey or plain yogurt (I used plain, Greek style yogurt)
2 1/2 cups of water
1-2 onions, chopped
2-4 Tablespoons of coconut oil or ghee (clarified butter) (I used olive oil even though its not highly recommended)
1 Tablespoon turmeric
1 Tablespoon coriander
1 Tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste


1. Inspect the beans and remove any rocks or ugly beans and rinse. Put them in a bowl and cover with water and add the yogurt. Soak over night or the morning of - for 5-7 hours. This increases the digestibility of the beans
2. When you are ready to start cooking, strain the beans in a mesh colander, add the rice, and rinse well.
3. Place the rinse rice and beans in a pot with 2 1/2 cups of water.
4. Heat on high until it starts to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes (for high altitudes, increase simmer time 10-15 minutes).
5. Before the rice and beans are finished cooking, heat the oil in a large pan and saute the chopped onions until translucent. Do not over cook the onions, they should be just soft ... this adds to the wonderful texture of the kitchari.
6. Add the spices and saute for about 30 seconds - just until you can smell the aroma!
7. Add the cooked onions & spices to the mung beans and rice. 


The possibilities are endless!
Try adding cinnimon, cardamom, cayenne, ginger, bay leaves, etc.
Try quinoa instead of basmati rice.
Add a variety of vegetables like potatoes, carrots, or kale.
Add fresh cilantro!
Use broth instead of water for added flavor ... or add more liquid to make it more of a soup.
Coconut milk or coconut flakes would be a great addition as well!

Experiment to your own taste and enjoy!


  1. Great Elisha, I will try it soon, it sounds really good. Congradulations on the new Blog and your first post.

  2. Yes ... looks good and the proof that it's good is seeing your most finicky eater (Endy)enjoying it.

  3. I love Indian food! This looks yummy. Thanks for inviting us into your kitchen D'lisha! I'll try it for sure. I remember when you made Quinoa with coconut milk at my little apartment many years ago. Great blog! Keep it coming!

  4. Thank you! Lissa, I remember making that quinoa! Wow, It's been a long time.

  5. This sounds great. I'm going to try it with quinoa and potatoes mmm.

  6. Oh I just love the new layout of the page. Good job.

  7. I am giving it a shot. your recipes have been great so far.

  8. Trinity~let me know how it turns out! Cisco~thanks, I hope you like it!

  9. We love Indian food, and this recipe looks easy enough. I'm doing it today. soaking the beans now. BTW..congrats on the blog, I will read it.