Tuesday, January 11, 2011


It seems that every culture has their hodge-podge food creations. There is no exception with India. Kitchari is one of those throw-it-in-a-pot-and-cook-it-'till-it's-done creations. My understanding is that it was originally a dish created with leftovers, before the days of refrigeration. Nowadays, it seems to be a specialty dish, as many of these types of food tend to turn into over time. By the way, you will never find this dish in an Indian restaurant. It is, very much, a home food.

You will need to begin with approximately 1 to 1 1/2 cups of long-grain white rice. Proceed to rinse the rice, under cold water, a few times to remove any excess starch.

You will also require some mung beans (a.k.a. moong beans). This tiny bean is native to India and is available in most supermarkets. It is also available in whole and split varieties. Either will do for this recipe. There are many uses for this bean including the creation of bean sprouts and bean starch.

Place the rice in a pot, along with a handful of mung beans and approximately 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt (depending on your taste). Also add 3 to 4 times the amount of water to that of rice. (Note: You can also add more water, if needed, during the cooking process.)

As this is a mish-mash recipe, just let it simmer until it reaches the consistency of porridge.

This hearty dish is filling and perfect for winter time. It has a good mixture of carbohydrates and protein and is also great for babies and young kids.

I used to love this dish as a child. It also gives me fond memories of my grandmother.

You can enjoy this dish in the following ways:
- by itself
- along with your favourite curry (instead of serving it with plain rice or roti)
- with yogurt
- served with warm milk poured on top
- along with achar (a spicy Indian pickled side dish made with fruit and/or vegetables, e.g. carrot pickle or green mango pickle)
- with marinated olives (not a traditional use, but my favourite)

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