Healing Kitchari.

Kitchari is an Ayurvedic (traditional Indian medicine) dish which is often eaten as part of a cleanse to reset agni - aka - the digestive fire as Ayurvedic medicine believes that all disease begins in the digestive system. The purpose of a kitchari cleanse is to rest the digestive system and rebalance the body. During this cleanse kitchari is eaten for all meals alongside some greens or sometimes oats for breakfast with kitchari for all other meals alongside water and herbal tea for 1-10 days.


Traditionally, Kitchari is made with mung beans & rice but this version uses split red lentils and cauliflower. The dish is a loaded with spices which, speaking naturopathically, supports digestion through warming the body, stimulating digestive enzymes and reducing gas production which can come with eating lentils. This dish is also loaded with fibre which helps to clean out the digestive tract. These spices and fibre together also help to support the gut microbiome by feeding the 'good' bacteria whilst also helping to eliminate or reduce the population of the 'bad' bacteria. You could say that kitchari is a gut loving dish for this reason but also because being a slow cooked dish it's very easy on the tummy.




RECIPE


Ingredients

- 1 red onion

- 4-5 garlic cloves

- 1 small bunch of coriander (stalks & leaves separated)

- 1 finger sized piece of fresh turmeric (or 1 tsp dried)

- 1 finger sized piece of fresh ginger (or 1 tsp dried)

- 1 tsp fennel seeds

- 1 tsp fenugreek seeds

- 1 tsp mustard seeds

- 1 small cauliflower or 1/2 large one

- 2 cups split red lentils

- 4 cups of veggie stock (or water)

- pepper to taste


Method

- Finely chop the onion, garlic and coriander stalks

- Add to a large pot with extra virgin olive oil (or ghee if you have it) & sauté on a low heat until translucent

- Add in the spices and stir for a minute or 2 or until fragrant

- Slice the cauliflower into medium sized chunks then add them to the pot with the lentils and veggie stock. Mix until combined then turn down the heat as low as it will go and leave to cook with the lid on

- Stir occasionally & add more water if it dries out too much. I ended up adding around 1/2 cup more but add a whole cup if you prefer a thinner consistency. It will take around 40 minutes to cook

- When it's almost done mix through the coriander leaves saving some for the top

- Serve with the remaining coriander. I also added chilli flakes & spring onion.