Khichari – a nourishing Ayurvedic lentil stew

I was first introduced to this dish years ago by my good friend Ilana Sobo, who is a clincial herbalist and Ayurvedic healer, and it immediately became one of my favorite things to make, and to eat.  Khichari is a traditional Ayurvedic meal that is often eaten for its nourishing, cleansing and rejuvenating properties.  The rice and lentils make a complete protein while the addition of veggies makes it a one-dish meal.  But the herbs and spices used in khichari are where the real healing power comes from.  The combination provides potent digestive aid, soothes inflammation, promotes circulation, is antiviral and antibacterial, and helps to break up and eliminate toxins from the blood and organs.  This is a basic recipe, so feel free to get creative with the addition of your favorite veggies.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
1 cup red lentils
3 TBSP coconut oil or ghee
1 tsp whole cumin seed
1 tsp whole coriander seed
½ tsp black mustard seed
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1” knob of ginger, peeled & minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp ground black pepper
4 cups water or chicken broth
Chopped cilantro, garnish
Fresh grated coconut, garnish
Lime wedges, garnish

Instructions
1- Rinse the lentils several times the drain well.

2- In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds and toast for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant.

3- Add the onion, carrot and celery, garlic and ginger. Sauté for 3-5 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften.

4- Add the ground cumin, ground turmeric, black pepper and drained lentils. Stir well and cook for another 2-3 minutes to toast the spices and lentils.

5- Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low.  Cover and simmer lentils for 20-30 minutes, until tender.

6- Serve stewed lentils over rice. Garnish with chopped cilantro, shredded coconut, and a lime wedge.