KITCHARI & CHAPATI

Kitchari!
An ancient Ayurvedic dish that is easily digestible and cleansing with its simple combination of mung beans, rice, salt and turmeric.

This dish is full of flavour and so comforting. When we were travelling in India and kitchari was on the menu my day was made. It was so soothing on an upset stomach (which was constant) yet filling and nourishing. I once ate kitchari for 5 days straight while in Rishikesh suffering from ongoing stomach issues and a cold. We were doing an intense yoga course and this was the only thing I could put in my body every evening that would hold me over and not upset my stomach further.

Dressing appropriately and using any excuse to pull out my spice case and spices that I dragged across the world. Can you blame me? 

Mung beans are a part of the legume family. They're full of protein, iron and fibre and packed with vitamins and minerals! Super bean.

The list of ingredients may seem daunting, and maybe it is a little daunting. But once you accumulate all of these spices you will be more enticed to start using them in your everyday cooking. And you'll find yourself making more Indian food, which is always a bonus for yourself and those around you.
Cardamom for example, I've been putting in everything from my yogurt to my coffee to all my baked goods (cinnamon rolls!? works wonders)! And you can buy all these spices in bulk at the Indian Grocer on Robie for much less than you would pay for them at Sobeys or Superstore. 

Mung Bean Kitchari
serves 6

2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
1 large onion, finely diced
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp grated ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp ground (toasted, preferably) cumin
3 tbsp ground (toasted, again if possible) coriander
2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chili flakes
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground fennel
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground black pepper
1+1/2 cups long grain brown rice
1+1/2 cup mung beans
7 cups vegetable stock or water or a combination of the two

4 cups chopped kale or spinach
2 large tomatoes diced
1 cup peas (fresh LOCAL peas are available right now and they're to die for. But de-thawed frozen peas will do the job as well)
1 cup chopped scallions
1 cup diced carrots
plain yogurt or coconut milk and fresh cilantro for garnish

RINSE your rice and beans in cold water until it runs clear.

In a large pot, heat oil until melted. Add mustard seeds and cook over medium high heat until they begin to crackle and pop. Add your onion and salt and cook until soft and translucent, stirring often. Add garlic and ginger and all remaining spices. If the pan is too dry add another tablespoon of coconut oil. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes.

Add your rice and beans to the spice mixture and pour in stock/water. Bring to a boil, turn down and simmer until rice and beans are soft. Add your carrots after 15 minutes of simmering and continue to let simmer until the beans and rice are completely cooked and carrots are soft. Test test test as you go.

When they are cooked stir in your kale or spinach, tomatoes and peas and cook for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in scallions. Serve hot topped with plain yogurt or coconut milk and fresh cilantro!
Chapati on the side, always.

Chapati
Makes 6-8 pieces

3 tbsp butter (use coconut oil to keep it vegan)
1 cup very finely chopped onion
1 tbsp of your choice of spice: whole anise seed, cumin or mustard seeds
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp salt
1+1/2-2 cups stone ground whole wheat or spelt flour

In a heavy fry pan, melt the butter on medium heat and add your onions and spice. Saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.

Transfer to a bowl and add water, salt and flour. Knead on a dry surface for about 2 minutes. The dough will be sticky and not too dry. Add a little flour if necessary.

Portion the dough into 6-8 small balls. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into very thin rounds (so that you can almost see through them when you pick them up).

Preheat a dry heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, to medium-high heat. The pan should be so hot it's almost smoking when you lay your first chapati in to cook. Don't use any oil, just the dry pan! The trick is keeping these moist by cooking each side hot and fast, no longer than 30 seconds per side. Remove from heat, I like to paint on melted coconut oil or ghee or butter to the top of each chapati with a pastry brush, then stack and cover with a tea towel as you go.

These are totally great to eat days afterward, just keep wrapped in cloth and sealed in a container.
You can even put a little peanut butter on them if your looking for a snack in days to come! It works, I swear.

GOOD LUCK AND EAT UP!