Stovetop: Split Moong Dal Kitchari

November 28, 2023

Stovetop: Split Moong Dal Kitchari

The best way I know to come out of a holiday weekend of extra eating is to soothe my digestive system with a kitchari, shown above with a dollop of spicy pickle or achaar on the side. I've talked about this dish before, it's a one-pot rice and lentil meal that we often make when we have tummy aches - the equivalent of chicken noodle soup. It's also a delicious meal within itself. Read more here in my original post. The recipe is a split moong dal with skin made in the Instant Pot from my book Instant Pot Indian (page 74). The recipe below is essentially the same ingredients and technique, but made on the stovetop. I reduced the amount of dal and tweaked the ratio to rice. In my book, I used a 1:1 ratio of moong to rice. In the recipe below I use less rice. The beauty is, you can create any combination you want. If you prefer more lentils than rice, go for it. If the next time you want equal amounts you can do that as well. Use this recipe as a guideline and then create whatever you would like from there. If you don't have this particular dal on hand, no worries, use another lentil. Just keep in mind that the split moong cooks faster than a whole bean and uses less water, so you want to reach for legumes that cook in the same manner - essentially any split lentil. 

I've started to cook kitchari without the tarka (spice tempering), and then I freeze it in 1 to 2 cup portions. This way, when I want to defrost it and reheat, I can freshen it up with a freshly-prepared tarka. This is especially helpful because when you're not feeling well and it's no fun to cook for yourself. This ensures you have something handy that's light on your stomach at all times. It also means that you can modify the tarka. The one below is simple and basic, but you can also add onion, garlic, and green chiles for a more fiery version. 

Stovetop: Split Moong Dal Kitchari
makes 3 cups

1/2 cup moong dal chilkha (dried, split green moong dal with skin), picked over (no need to soak)
1/4 cup uncooked white basmati rice (no need to soak)
5 cups water
1 tablespoon oil or ghee
1 pinch hing
1/2 teaspoon ajwain (carom seeds)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder 
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, minced or grated
1-2 teaspoons salt

1. Mix the moong dal and rice together in a bowl and rinse. Transfer to a roomy pot, add the water, and heat over medium-high heat. Once the water comes to a boil, turn the heat down and simmer covered with the lid slightly ajar until the ingredients are cooked through, about 25 minutes. Once cooked, turn the heat off, completely cover the pot, and let it sit while you prepare the tarka. If freezing, let it cool completely and then proceed. 

2. In a separate and shallow pan, heat the oil or ghee. Add the hing, ajwain, turmeric, and ginger. Stir until slightly brown, about 2 minutes. Pour over the kitchari. Add the salt, stir, and serve with a touch of ghee, a spoonful of achaar, and a dollop of yogurt on the side. 

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