Kitchari is my favorite soup for cleansing – especially after the holidays. There’s something so satisfying and nourishing about it when I’m tired. A staple in Ayurvedic cooking, kitchari as been used for thousands of years to cleanse and heal digestion. It is a combination of rice or quinoa with split yellow or red dahl lentils and spices, that does not create gas. Delicious for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Kitchari adds nutrition-supporting spices and vegetables to stabilize blood sugar. It helps to burn fat and release toxins. Sprouting the quinoa and lentils removes the seed coatings, and adds another level of cleansing and vital nutrition. Sprouting is really really easy. Most seeds are dormant, waiting for the opportunity to come alive and grow. Sprouting opens up the seed so that the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and phyto-chemicals are active and available. Sprouting transforms carbs into proteins even before you eat them. This recipe is free of nightshades, such as red pepper, paprika, and cayenne, since many Caucasians do not tolerate them well. I make a full pot of kitchari and freeze leftovers for a rainy day. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. Makes 4 yummy servings. (Note: There are many spellings for this dish such as kitcheree, kicharee, kitcharee, kichari, kicheri, kitcheri, kitchari. I hope that covers it.)
- 3/4 cup quinoa or brown rice
- 3/4 cup red lentils
- filtered water to rinse and cover
- 1 leek
- 2 carrots, sliced small,
- 1 branch broccoli or 1 zucchini in bite-sized pieces
- 2-inches fresh ginger root
- 1-inch fresh turmeric root or 1/2 teaspoon powdered turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds ground in a mortar & pestle (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt and more to taste if needed
- black pepper to taste
- 2-3 tablespoons grass-fed butter, ghee, or olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
- parsley to garnish
- Rinse the quinoa and lentils 3 times or until water runs clear. Add filtered water to cover and soak 8-12 hours or overnight. Then discard soaking water and rinse well with cold water. Place in a cloth-covered colander out of the direct sun and allow to drain and sprout for 8 more hours.
- In a heavy-bottomed medium soup pot, add the quinoa and lentils. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn down to a low simmer for about 45 minutes or until soft. Do not add salt.
- When they are soft, add leek, carrot, vegetables, ginger root, turmeric, cumin, salt, pepper, and grass-fed butter or ghee. Cook until vegetables are soft.
- Garnish with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, and a sprig of parsley.