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Recipe: Khichadi

Most of us can’t face food when we are feeling unwell or our gut health is compromised.  

The best food to eat at these times is Khichadi, which is very simple to prepare! 

Khichadi is foundational to the Ayurvedic way of life. It means mixture, usually of two grains. Also known as khichdi, kitchari or kitcheree, Khichadi is a dish in South Asian cuisine typically prepared with rice and lentils. In Indian culture, it is sometimes considered one of the first solid foods that babies eat! Besides being comfort food when we are sick, it is easily digested and provides the body with much needed nutrients. 

This particular family-favourite Khichadi dish is a balanced and wholesome meal as well as being easy to digest. 

For this recipe, we use split moong dal and rice. Moong dal has high protein content and also contains beneficial nutrients such as folic acid, magnesium, copper, potassium as well as essential antioxidants. Moong dal produces a fatty acid called butyrate which supports digestive and intestinal health, too! We parboil our rice before cooking it in this dish, which starts the process of the starches breaking down and makes it easier to digest. 

We also include spices like whole cumin seeds, asafoetida (hing), carom seeds (ajwain), whole black peppercorns and Ghee. 

  • Cumin seeds are very useful for acid reflux as they are a powerful spice which revs up digestion, supports digestive enzyme activity and supports bile flow from the liver. 
  • Asafoetida (hing) supports digestive issues like bloating, digestive discomfort and flatulence. It was used traditionally, as historically it was thought to contain antimicrobial properties. 
  • Carom seeds (ajwain) supports stomach acid flow therefore supporting any excessive bloating and gas. 
  • Whole black peppercorns have an active compound called Piperine which supports digestive enzymes release leading to a higher nutrient absorption. 
  • Ghee supports nutrient assimilation and supports digestive discomfort, irregular bowel habits and excessive stomach acid. As ghee is a butterfat that has all of the milk solids removed during production, it can be supportive for people with digestive issues. 

You can add vegetables like carrot, kumara, spinach leaves, green beans or whatever you like! 

INGREDIENTS 

1 cup split moong dal  

1 cup parboiled rice (your choice of rice) 

5-7 whole black peppercorns 

Pinch of Asafoetida 

1/4 tsp carom seeds 

½ tsp cumin seeds 

1 tsp ghee 

¼ tsp turmeric powder 

1-inch fresh ginger, finely chopped 

1 tbsp lemon juice 

Salt to taste 

Some finely chopped veges (optional) 

METHOD 

  1. Wash and soak rice and dal for 2-3 hours together in a medium to large cooking pot. 
  1. Drain, and add 2 cups of fresh water to the pot. 
  1. Add all the spices (plus optional veges) and cover the pot with a lid. Your pot should only be half full. 
  1. Cook on medium flame for 20 minutes. Stir. 
  1. Leave the khichadi to simmer slowly in the pot on low flame with tightly covered lid for another 10 mins. The khichadi should now be thoroughly cooked and be slightly runny and soft. You can add more water to it if you desire a thinner consistency. 
  1. If you are using a stove-top pressure cooker, you need to do 4 whistles, turn off the flame and leave it to simmer and cook. 
  1. Add ghee and lemon juice to the mixture, adjust salt and serve it hot. 

By Jyotsana Karl