Khichri-Inspired Lentil Porridge (GF, V)

kitchari bowl

I first encountered Khichri at a community gathering at my local meditation center. One of our community members had brought it and served it to us before our meditation practice, explaining that it has cleansing properties and is thus good to eat before spiritual practice because it is light and doesn’t weigh you down. I took a few bites and it was DELICIOUS. I was intrigued.

On doing a bit more research, I learned that Khichri (also known as Kitchari and Khichdi) is a South Asian dish that is common in India. It is seen as an important food in the Ayurvedic lifestyle and is believed to provide both nourishment and aid to the digestive process. In fact, some people do cleanses comprised mainly of Khichri. From a nutritional point of view, this dish is a great source of protein and fiber that is naturally gluten-free.

That being said, I used slightly different ingredients and spices from the typical Khichri recipe, which probably make it less detoxifying, but still delicious and nutritious. The biggest difference is that I used green lentils (which are easily found at most grocery stores) rather than yellow mung dal as the main ingredient. However I did soak the lentils overnight to make them more easily digestible. I also added the twist of adding cauliflower rice, which gave the porridge a bit of bulk, and I used coconut oil instead of ghee to keep it vegan. So while I can’t call my recipe Khichri, it was definitely inspired by this delicious light nutritious dish I tasted!

kitchari ingr

INGREDIENTS (serves 6):

2 cups green lentils
1 cup brown basmati rice
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
3 tsp cumin
2 tsp garam masala
3 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp sea salt
2 bay leaves
1/2 head of cauliflower, processed into cauliflower rice*
1 basket of cherry tomatoes (optional)

1) Soak the lentils overnight and rinse well before use.
2) On medium heat, heat the coconut oil in a large pot and add mustard seeds and fennel seeds. Toast until the seeds just start to pop.
3) Quickly add the spices, then the rice, lentils, 8 cups of water, and the bay leaves.
4) Bring to a boil with the lid off then reduce to a simmer.
5) Cook for 1 hour with lid on, then add cauliflower rice and cook another hour, or until the lentils and rice are soft.
6) Optional: Mix in cherry tomatoes and top with chopped chives as a garnish.
*To make the cauliflower rice:

Pull off the leaves and break the cauliflower into large florets, cutting away any stem, then rinse well. Drain well in a colander. In a food processor, pulse the florets into finely chopped bits, or if you don’t have a food processor, you can grate the florets with a box grater.

 cauliflower rice

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