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kitchari: beautiful ayurvedic pap

July 23, 2013

Serves 4 generously
Prep time: 1 hour or 2 1/2 in a slow cooker

Kitchari main pic
Without wanting to go into too much detail (this is a food blog, after all) I’ve had a bit of the old tummy trub lately.

It’s been going on for quite a few months now and I have an awful feeling it may be something to do with wheat.  A quick look at the type of recipes I put on this blog should tell you how much of a disaster that would be.

However.  Tis far from decided yet.  I’m cutting out gluten temporarily to see what difference it makes.  And I am comforting my poor bowling-ball belly with modest servings of soft, reassuring pap.

This is exactly what kitchari is perfect for: vegan hypochondriacs with problematic guts.  According to Ayurvedic medicine, this dish – the Indian forerunner of kedgeree – is just the stuff for digestive problems and even for babies who are starting on solids.

With no onions, garlic or ginger you’d think it would taste too plain, but this is not the case at all.  No need to wait until you’re ill to try it out: have it whenever you want something soothing, flavoursome and ridiculously easy to put together.

I based this on the classic Ayurvedic Institute recipe, except that I used brown basmati and added some dried chilli flakes for a bit of welcoming heat.  Also, as you’ll see from the photograph, I forgot to add the turmeric, which is basically down to my inability to notice anything beyond my own bubbling innards.

Oh dear.  And there was me saying I wouldn’t go into too much detail.

Kitchari close up

Ingredients

Brown basmati rice, 1 cup
Moong dahl (yellow split peas), 2 cups
Rapeseed oil, 2 tbsp
Salt
Dried chilli flakes, 1 tsp
Mustard seeds, 3 tsp
Cumin seeds, 2 tsp
Turmeric, 2 tsp
Ground coriander, 2 tsp
Fennel seeds, 2 tsp
Asafoetida, a good pinch
Salt
Whatever vegetables you have to hand, diced (I used carrots, broccoli and sweetcorn)
Coriander to garnish

Wash the dahl and the rice together in a large bowl and drain well.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the spices.  Wait until the seeds are popping and then add the dahl and rice.  Give it all a good stir together and fry for 1-2 minutes.  Add 8 cups of water, bring it to the boil, reduce to a simmer and skim any froth.  Season well with salt.

Either let simmer for 40 minutes, until nearly done, or else tip the lot into a slow cooker and cook on high for two hours.

Add in the vegetables about 10-20 minutes before the end to give them time to cook through.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Sprinkle with chopped coriander.  Let cool slightly before serving.

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