by Jana Thevar
Kitchiri is a highly versatile Indian vegetarian dish because it can be customized to suit your needs. It’s a breeze to make, easy to digest and highly nourishing. I consume kitchiri on days when I do my yoga kriyas (cleansing) so that my digestive system gets a break while cleansing itself of accumulated toxins (called ama in Ayurveda). Kitchiri is extremely useful to help restore imbalanced digestion, i.e. when experiencing bloating, gas or after a bout of food poisoning.
Navara is a type of red rice grown in India, known since ancient times for its extensive medicinal properties and for being tridoshic (helps to correct most bodily imbalances). Although any type of red rice can be used for this recipe, I highly recommend Navara if you can get it.
Sesame and coconut oils are recommended to help correct Vata and Pitta doshas (bodily imbalances) per Ayurveda, respectively. For this recipe, I’ve used Ammani’s cold-pressed extra virgin sesame and coconut oils. Ammani oils are manufactured using the Indian nattu mara chekku method, meaning the oils are pressed using a traditional wooden pestle to maintain nutrients and natural healing properties.
½ cup red rice
½ cup brown rice (unpolished)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 cups water
½ tsp ground turmeric
2-3 dried cloves
½ tsp fennel
½ tsp cumin
1 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
½ tsp fenugreek seeds
½ tsp Himalayan pink salt
1/4 cup yellow lentils
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp Marmite yeast extract (optional)
* Makes 2 – 4 servings.
10 – 12 fresh curry leaves
1. Wash the two types of rice in plenty of water – it’s fine to mix the red and brown grains up. Drain well, then put the washed rice into a rice cooker. Wash the lentils, then pour enough boiling water to cover them. Leave the lentils to soak for 2 minutes, then drain and give them a quick rinse. Add the lentils to the rice cooker.
2. Add the water and all other ingredients, except the sesame oil, coconut oil and curry leaves.
3. Switch on the rice cooker and wait till the rice is cooked. If you prefer your kitchiri to have a porridge-like consistency, pour in an additional ½ to 1 cup of water and allow to cook for a further 10 – 15 minutes.
4. Once the rice is cooked, switch the cooker off and remove the lid. Then, add the curry leaves, coconut oil and sesame oil while the rice is still hot. Stir well, then quickly replace the cooker lid and allow to stand for 5 minutes (to allow the curry leaves to cook slightly in the steam).
5. Serve hot.
- This dish can be made in larger quantities and stored in the freezer. To reheat frozen kitchiri, sprinkle generously with water before microwaving.
- Regular table salt can be used in place of Himalayan pink salt.
- Onions and garlic may be added to taste if a purely sattvic dish isn’t required.
- Navarra red rice is highly medicinal and is known to help cure various ailments and bodily imbalances.
- Cold-pressed, extra virgin oils retain more nutrients as they’re not heat-processed. Sesame oil balances Vata dosha while coconut oil balances Pitta dosha. Wood-pressed oils are manufactured following an ancient, traditional Indian oil-processing method.
- The dried spices promote internal cleansing and healing. The internal organs (specifically the liver and bowels) are gently stimulated to eliminate toxins and decomposing matter from processed foods.
- Curry leaves promote and enhance the growth of hair, and prevents premature greying and hair loss.
- Lentils provide protein to ensure a balanced meal.
How Nattu Mara Chekku (Wood-pressed) Oils are Manufactured