Kitchari is one of the most well known recipes outside of India amongst people intent on keeping healthy and eating healthily. It is really a simple dish based on rice cooked with lentils, although variations on this theme exist. The simplest is the highly flavoursome Parsi version, and the Bengalis, who adore kitchari, take it to spice heaven by layering different flavours using a dozen or so spices.
Kitchari can be cooked with long grain or short grain rice, resulting in different dishes. Basmati rice is preferred by Ayurveda and other practitioners, due to its digestibility. Long grain rice is also the rice of choice in the North of India. The kitchari is quite loose and open, not unlike a pilaf.
In the South, short and medium grained rices are used for Pongal and other variations on Kitchari. This means that the dish is more porridge-like than pilaf-like.
Kitchari can be made thick or soupy. The ratio of lentils to rice can be adjusted to suit your mood, the season and your health. Also, the lentils can be toasted before cooking to make it warming for the body, good for the Winter months.
All styles are delicious, comforting and very nourishing. It is a dish that you return to again and again when feeling overwrought, tired, anxious or unwell. It lightens the body and lifts the spirits.
Please enjoy these different kitchari dishes. Note that kitchari can be spelled a dozen different ways throughout India, and beyond. There are many English alternate spellings — kitchari, kitchadi, khichdi, kitchari, khichri, khichdee, khichadi, khichuri, khichari, kitcheree, kitchree, khichdi, and many other variants, and each Indian language has it’s own variation e.g. Hindi खिचड़ी khicṛī, Urdu: کھچڑی khicṛī, Oriya: ଖେଚେଡ଼ି khecheṛi, Bengali: খিচুড়ী khichuṛi, Gujarati: ખીચડી khichḍi. And more….
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