"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

The Universe Speaks: Time to make Kitchari

by Julie on July 12, 2012

in Minor Miracles, Vegetarian

OMMMygod I have all the ingredients…

Normally, when I take it into my head to make a particular recipe or simple dish, I find midway through that I lack one or more key ingredients.

I’ll dig through my pantry scowling, not finding the veggie broth, or the cilantro I was certain I had, and I will either abandon the project altogether, or worse, I will try to substitute this for that. Garbanzo beans, say, instead of great white beans. Or plain tomato sauce instead of marinara.

The results are generally disastrous.

I’ve recently come to learn in my yoga teacher training, that I can blame this on my Ayurvedic dosha. I am heavily vata, and as such, I am space-girl.

It’s nice to have a rational like this.

But when it came time to try my hand at the simple home-style Indian dish called Kitchari, the universe smiled and waved its magic wand, or whatever the universe does when it agrees with your course of action.

Because despite deciding impulsively to make this ayurvedic food I’d just read about in a yoga magazine, I magically had all of the “exotic” Indian ingredients already on hand.

And I’m not talking about staples like basmati rice, which I buy by the 10-pound bag, and cumin and coriander, which I always have on hand for lentil soup. We’re talking the C-list weird stuff, that people who aren’t actually Indian don’t normally have stocked, like moong dal and mustard seeds. Also this:


Gee. I have ghee!

This jar was tucked in the very depths of my pantry. I couldn’t say how long it’s been there, but I’m afraid it’s been years…so I Googled “How long does ghee keep?” and found to my delight, that if tightly capped and kept our of direct sunlight, ghee, which is clarified butter, can keep for years.

So yeah. The universe was telling me it was time to make kitchari, which — deep breath, calm down —  is really nothing more than lentils and rice cooked together with some spices in clarified butter…).

Here’s the version I made:

1 cup Basmati rice, washed and soaked.
2 cups moong dal (split yellow lentils, picked over and soaked for a bit)
2 Tablespoons ghee
3 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp. cumin seeds or powder
2 tsp. turmeric powder
2 tsp. coriander powder
2 tsp. fennel powder
1 pinch Asafoetida (whatever the hell that is…)

OK, I left out the pinch of asafoetida.  But dude, I even had the fennel powder!

Wash and pick over your lentils, then your rice. saute your spices briefly in the ghee, then add the lentils, then the liquid and the rice. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and cover until the liquid is absorbed.

Season expertly. Nom.

the universe was all over my ass to make this stuff. And since I could hardly muster the concentration needed to finish this blogpost, I added a few teaspoons of ginger to balance out my vata. Let’s hope it works.

Kitchuri is a simple and delicious rice and lentil dish that is considered comfort food in part of India, don’t ask me which parts. Seasoned with various spices, it’s also something you can eat for an entire week if you’re intent on a cleanse, which sounds interesting, but honestly I’m not there yet.

There are lots of slightly different recipes for kitchari. Here’s one from the Yoga Journal. And you can throw any manner of veggie in here if you want to tart it up.

I just ate it plain.


I promise I won’t get too crunchy granola on you. But I do love this sorta thing….and if it helps me balance out my dosha so I can concentrate enough to write more than one blogpost a month, so much the better.

But is it a dosha imbalance or just summer vacation? Hmm…..

Stay tuned…

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Jamie Pettit July 12, 2012 at 4:07 pm

BLESS YOU! I’ve been looking for this receipe everywhere only under the name Jodhpur lentils. I’ve tried to recreate it many times (the first time-mwah, the last coupla times meh). I add a bit of green chile paste and a scouch of tamarind past but can never remember the exact measurements. I also top it with plain yogurt and fresh cilantro and the red and green condiments can only find at teeny tiny Indian markets (where I also get my ghee). Isn’t ghee like the spackle of the food world? Asafoetida, also known as devil’s dung, stinking gum, asant, food of the gods, giant fennel, Jowani badian, hing and ting) is the dried latex (gum oleoresin) exuded from the living underground rhizome or tap root of several species of Ferula. The species is native to the mountains of Afghanistan, and is mainly cultivated in nearby India. Asafoetida has a pungent, unpleasant smell when raw, but in cooked dishes, it delivers a smooth flavor, reminiscent of leeks (thank you wikipedia).


Julie July 12, 2012 at 4:25 pm

You and I need to go on a field trip to Little India STAT!


Jamie Pettit July 16, 2012 at 9:02 am



Bruce July 13, 2012 at 7:12 am

Sounds like the universe was definitely on your side…all the way down to denying you the asafoetida, which, honestly, tastes exactly what it sounds like — sweaty butt. Seriously, that’s EXACTLY what it smells and tastes like.



Maria July 13, 2012 at 8:11 am

When you plan that Little India trip…count me in!

Asafoetida is one of considered a special Ayurvedic herb that increases Pitta and reduces Vata and Kapha. It aids in digestion and helps clear ama from the digestive tract. (Ama is undigested foods that are becoming or are toxic). Asafoetida has a host of other medicinal uses and is also known as Hing.

Bruce is correct, it has a pungent odor!


Dorothy July 14, 2012 at 7:37 am

I am fixated on how Bruce knows what sweaty butt tastes like.


Lettie August 11, 2012 at 9:11 am

I have asafoetida in my pantry , rarely use it as I’m a Pitta..its yours!


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