Oats Kitchari: A 30-Minute Nutrient-Packed Meal You Should Try
3 minutes read
Kitchari is a traditional Indian one-pot dish commonly known (and pronounced) as ‘khichdi’ in India. The warm, porridge-like meal is a staple in most Indian households for various reasons: it’s super nutritious, uses simple ingredients and is quick to put together.
“It’s the kind of meal you crave on a rainy day, cook up on a busy weeknight or even reach for when you’re feeling under the weather,” says Beauty Daily writer and Mumbai-native Nishita Fiji. “It’s very versatile.”
Mumbai-based chef Guntas Sethi Bhasin, a recipe curator, developer and EU Food Ambassador, calls it “comfort in a bowl”. Below, we share the myriad benefits a humble bowl of kitchari offers, why you should try it and a kitchari recipe by Chef Guntas, in which she replaces rice with oats.
What’s in a traditional kitchari
A traditional kitchari is made using rice, moong dal, a few spices and ghee. Often, veggies like tomatoes, peas and carrots are added too.
The recipe has many variations, and every household cooks it differently. However, some common versions are oats kitchari, bisi bele bhaat (where tamarind and jaggery are included) and Gujarati tadka khichri (where tempered spices are added in the end), among others.
Why kitchari should be on your menu
Kitchari is often considered to be a cleansing food. In Ayurveda, it’s seen as a balancing meal for all constitutions that aids digestion and helps detox the body.
“It is made using a healthy proportion of lentils,” says chef Guntas. “So, it’s rich in proteins, dietary fibres, magnesium, and phosphorus. It has anti-inflammatory properties that soothes the stomach, relieves the intestines and keeps your tummy happy.”
Oats kitchari recipe
From among all the different variations of kitchari, chef Guntas chooses oats kitchari as her most-loved. “It’s my all-time favourite khichdi recipe because it’s fuss-free and never disappoints,” she says. She shares her recipe below.
2 cups of whole oats
1 cup yellow lentils or moong dal
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped spinach
1/2 Cup chopped carrot
4 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 tsp red chilli powder
6 cups water
How to make it
- Wash and soak the lentils in 2 cups of water.
- Heat ghee in a pressure cooker, instant pot or rice cooker.
- Add cumin seeds and let them splutter for a few seconds.
- Next, add the chopped onion and sauté for 2 – 3 minutes over medium heat.
- Drain the lentils and add them to the pot, along with the chopped veggies. Stir to combine and sauté for 3 – 5 minutes.
- Now, add the oats, spices, salt and water. Stir well.
- Seal the cooker with a lid. Cook the kitchari over low heat for 3 to 6 minutes for a porridge-like consistency. Turn off the heat.
- Serve oats kitchari warm with a dollop of ghee. You could also enjoy it with a side of achaar (South Asian pickle) or tadka dahi (spiced yogurt).
Chef’s tip: “Feel free to add in extra veggies, eggs, seafood, meat, sauces, cheese or chilli oil,” says chef Guntas.
You could also swap oats for quinoa and add vegetables like zucchini, asparagus and sweet potato.
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