Mar 5, 2013

Kitchari with vegetables

When I don't know what to make, don't have time, had enough chocolate, tomato sauces, pizza and pasta...I go back to this recipe. And I don't feel bad making, eating and serving the same thing several times in a row (freshly made for lunch, reheated for dinner) to me or anybody around. Especially when it seems everybody else is getting sick...and we are not (knock knock knock). This is a great between-seasons dish. Without getting to deep into the benefits of Kitchari, this meal is just delicious and easy to make. And it tastes like nothing else I ever make.

I was first introduced to Kitchari one year ago.  There are many versions of Kitchari, but the idea is to use rice, beans and spices to create a very healthy and balanced meal that will cure anything. Vegetables are optional. I had bismanti rice, lentils and vegetables in my kitchen, but almost all the spices used in the recipe were yet to be discovered and purchased by me. I'm not a fan of Indian food, but kitchari for me is a good transition recipe. It helps me forget the tastes of winter and figure out what's "in" for spring. 

I would never think that my 11 year old girl would enjoy it, but with enough ketchup and feta cheese, she does!

time: 1h soaking (and draining) optional + 15 min preparation + 30 min cooking = 1h 45 min

1 cup bismanti rice
1 cup green lentils
3-4 cups water,3 if above are well soaked
1/2 teaspoon salt

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon white mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
seeds from 1 cardamom bean
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ginger

1 medium peeled onion

2 medium carrots
3 celery stalks
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
parsley or cilantro for topping


In a medium pot, soak rice and beans for about 45 min. Drain for 15 minutes. Bring 3 cups of water to boil. Add rice and beans. Cook with a lid on, on low heat for 15 minutes. At the end of cooking, add salt. Let it rest with the lid on for about 10 minutes with no heat.


Cut carrots a la julienne (long and thin...or close enough, I used a special German device). Slice onions thin. Cut celery in 1/2 cm (.2 inch) thick pieces.

In another bigger pot, heat oil on medium/high. Add all the spices in seeds (mustard, coriander, cumin, cardamom). Saute by moving the pot for about 2 minutes, till seeds begin to pop. Add powder spices (turmeric and ginger). Saute for 1 minute. Add cut onions, carrots and celery. Saute (with a spatula) till al dente, for about 15 minutes on medium heat. Add salt. Mix in rice and beans gently with a wooden spatula. Correct seasoning with salt and pepper. Close the lid and wait (heat turned off) for about 15 min for all the flavors to come together before serving. Top it with parsley or cilantro and freshly ground pepper.

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