“Beans and rice” is a staple amongst many traditions and cultures. This combination creates a complete meal that many of our ancestors thrived on throughout history. Each culture having their regional beans, their own unique way of preparation, and delicious way of turning a simple meal into a tasty and nourishing delight.
Kitchari is the combination of stewed mung beans and rice of the ayurvedic traditions from India. What separates this meal from others is the skillful use of spices and vegetables to bring balance into the body, mind and spirit of the one who is eating it. A staple in the ayurvedic household, kitchari is a highly adaptable dish that can be tailored to meet ones individual needs.
The ancient traditions
In the Ayurvedic tradition there are vaidyas, or specialists who understand the dynamic nature of life, ones mind body type, and ability to apply that knowledge in a way that promotes healing and vitality. This is done through many different therapies from a practitioner involving seasonal diet, lifestyle, and specific behavior routines.
Ingredients have different qualities and flavors to them. In the traditional dish of kitchari, the spices are intended to balance the body, and restore the digestive fire. Kitchari is especially important during the auyrvedic detoxification process panchakarma, namely because of it’s digestibility. Moreover it is a great way to periodically reset the digestive system even when one is not in a structured “detox” protocol.
Kitchari meets the instantpot
There are as many variations to kitchari as there are people making it, and today we have a the instantpot to help us. This dish is traditionally stewed for an hour or so to make sure everything is cooked thoroughly. Most people today, I’m sure you are included, don’t have multiple hours each day to be buying, washing, chopping and preparing food to continue the process for another hour of cooking. This is where the instantpot comes in handy.
It is a versatile set it and forget electronic appliance that has many functions. So I had a genius idea. I am sure I’m not the first to do this, but with a little experimentation I cut the cooking time for this delicious traditional dish in half. I thought. If you can pressure cook beans, you can pressure cook kitchari. Now after many evaluations, tweaking of the recipe I have it nailed to reproduce a tasty and perfectly cooked kitchari without the the extra stove time. So here it is!
Seasonal kitchari in the instant pot!
- 2 cups soaked mung beans
- 2 cups of white rice
- 6 cups water
- 3 cups chopped vegetables
- 1 Tbs coconut oil
- 1/2 Tbs each – fenugreek, black mustard seed, black pepper
- 1 tsp cumin seed
- 1 Tbs each – turmeric powder, garam masala
- Turn on saute using high heat
- Toast the seeds in the oil
- Add remaining spices
- Add veggies and saute for 2 minutes
- Add beans, rice and water
- Cook on manual for 14 minutes on high pressure
- Continue for 10 minutes after timer completes
- Season with salt, ghee, cilantro, lime juice
Remember that food is information for the body and has the ability to promote health and healing. Choose your food wisely.