Growing up in Panama, often enough my family will serve this soupy-mixture of beans and rice we call "guacho." So when I was introduced via Ayurveda (Science of Longevity) to Kitchari, its texture was a homecoming to my senses and a blessing to my digestive system. There are tons of Kitchari version available out there for Kitchari, but I've arrived at a version that works for me not only because it's easy to prepared but it has the consistency and flavors that I like.
Kitchari is basic to the Ayurvedic way of life, it's a balancing dish dating back thousands of years. Like many comfort foods, Kitchari is basically a one-pot dish, you make a big batch and eat several times. The skillful use of spices and vegetables can produce balancing effects for your body and therein your mind and spirit. Again, there many variations as there are reasons for each of them, I'm sharing my version.
1/2 cup white Quinoa (you can substitute for basmati rice)
1 cup mung dal (split yellow) or red lentils (split)- peeled/split is important to save time.
6 cups (approx.) water
1/2 to 1 inch ginger root, chopped or grated (do not use ginger powder)
Salt (1/4 tsp. or so, you can always add more later)
2 tsp. ghee (you can substitute with coconut oil or olive oil)
1 tsp. coriander powder
1 tsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. turmeric powder
Because this makes a large pot from where I make several meals, I don't mix vegetables in but as an option I add cooked vegetable later before eating the Kitchari, so that I can vary the flavors accordingly.
1- Wash quinoa and mung split beans (or red split lentils) and then soak overnight (at least 8 hours). Drain soak water and rinse thoroughly right before using. Do not skip this step, it is supper important to prevent gas.
2- In a medium/largish non-stick saucepan warm the ghee. Add the ginger and sauté for one to two minutes. Add the rest of the spices mixing well till the whole kitchen smells gloriously. Add quinoa and mung beans and sauté for another minute. Then add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil.
3- Once the kitchari has come to a boil reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until it is tender (approx. 30 minutes). Remember this is the cooking time for peeled/split mung beans (or red lentils), if you are cooking whole beans do your research!
(Add more water if needed. Typically, kitchari is the consistency of a vegetable stew as opposed to a broth. A thinner consistency is preferable if your digestion is weak. You will notice that kitchari will thicken when it cools and you may need more water than you originally thought.)
You can garnish with fresh cilantro and add salt to taste (optional) if needed. You can prepare your favorite vegetables and either mix in or top your kitchari with them before serving your meal.
Makes about 4 servings