Khicheri is a simple dish of rice and mung beans, which can be eaten as a mono diet for anywhere from 1 – 5 days. It is an Ayurvedic recipe and it is recommended that you practice this gentle fast on a regular basis – it could be weekly or monthly, for example and any time that your system is a bit stressed from physical and or mental fatigue.
Below is my favourite recipe, adapted from Dr Claudia Welch’s book ‘Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life’ and ‘Anjum’s Eat Right for Your Body Type’
Recipe (makes 4 portions)
2 tbsp ghee
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
100g mung dhal beans rinsed well, soaked overnight and drained
1 small pinch asafetida powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp rock salt
200g organic wholegrain basmati rice, rinsed well and drained (you could use white basmati, in which case reduce the cooking time accordingly)
1l water if using a pressure cooker or 1 1/2l if using a regular pot
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
4 to 5 thin slices fresh ginger
Using either a pressure cooker or a heavy-bottomed pan, heat the ghee over medium heat. Saute the mustard and cumin seeds in the ghee until the seeds pop. Add the drained mung dhal, asafetida, turmeric and salt. Stir until the mixture starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the rice, water, cumin, coriander and ginger. Stir well, making sure nothing is sticking to the bottom.
If you are using a pressure cooker, fasten the lid and set to 30 mins on high (I have an Instant Pot and this length of time makes the khicheri nice and soft. You may find you can reduce the time; I suggest experimenting to find the right consistency). You will need to allow time at the end so the pressure can go down before you take off the lid.
If you’re using a regular pot, cover and bring to the boil over a high heat, then turn the heat down and let it simmer until both rice and dhal are mushy, about 45 mins for wholegrain (or 30 mins for white rice).
The more water the thinner the consistency. A thinner consistency is preferable if your digestive system is weak. You will notice that khicheri will thicken quite a lot as it cools.
Serve khicheri hot. Garnish with fresh coriander, coconut and lime (optional).
To provide the best quality energy for your body, khicheri should be made the day you plan to eat it.