I am often asked how to make Ayurvedic meals appealing to the whole family. First, I am very fortunate that my family enjoys eating well, and by that I mean eating whole, healthy foods. But it is true that our Ayurvedic staple, kichari (click the link if you are not sure what that is), hasn’t always been popular with the younger ones.
Early on, I would spoon kichari into a wrap with salsa, a bit of yogurt and cilantro, and we’d call it a burrito. That worked, although I can’t say it was our most popular family fare.
Recently, in the midst of juggling a few things, I found myself wanting to prepare a special meal for a sick friend who was staying with us. We’d had kichari the evening before, and since I didn’t have time to make anything new, decided instead to spruce up what we had left.
This was the result – a Kichari burger that has now become a family favorite.
To make it, you start with your favorite kichari recipe. I have lots around this site – a basic, all purpose kichari recipe here, a more elaborate one on that same page, an autumn kichari here, a winter kichari here, a summer kichari here, and for good measure below I offer you one more – because I want to share the amazing grace that is Robyn Field, and to share her favorite kichari as it is such a classic.
If you already have a favorite kichari recipe, skip to part 2.
Robyn Field’s Classic Kichari
3 & 1/3 c water1/3 c split mung bean
1/3 c red lentils
1/3 c basmati rice
1 t turmeric
12 curry leaves
1 t crushed fresh ginger
1/2 t cumin seeds
1/2 t coriander seeds
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 medium zucchini, chopped
2 kale leaves, thinly sliced
1/4 t rock salt
1 T ghee
1/2 t cumin seeds
1/3 c fresh cilantro, chopped
1. Bring water to a boil in a pot. Add mung beans, lentils, rice, turmeric, curry leaves and fresh ginger. Once it returns to a boil reduce heat and simmer.
- Grind seeds in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. Add 1 teaspoon of the mix to the kichari.
Add carrots zucchini, kale and salt. Cook uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes until the lentils are tender and the mixture resembles a thick porridge. Stir occasionally. Add more water if needed.
Heat ghee in a skillet. Add 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds and fry for 30 seconds. Add the rest of the ground spices then immediately add a bit of the kichari to prevent it from burning and stir well. Add the spice fry to the pot of kichari and stir.
Serve with lemon and lime juice, garnished with cilantro. Variation: Add fresh chili peppers and ginger in step 4 for a spicier version.
Part 2 Kichari “Burgers”
You could also call these sliders, and serve them at parties, or over salad for an elegant lunch. You pick the shape, and ultimately what to call them – because a rose may be a rose by any other name, but when it comes to feeding children (and fussy grown-ups), what’s in a name may make all the difference.
2 c your favorite kichari
1-2 T psyllium (husks or ground, either)
1 T nutritional yeast, optional
1 T ghee garlic powder to taste
optional: 1 egg
Stir the psyllium and optionally the nutritional yeast with the kichari in a mixing bowl and mix well, ideally with your own clean hands. If you eat eggs, beat one egg and lightly stir it in. It will give your burger and better hold, and a crispier, golden edge. But strictly speaking, Ayurveda does not like us to mix our proteins.
Melt the ghee in a saucepan on medium high. Sprinkle in the garlic powder according to your own taste, swirl the pan. Take a small handful of kichari mixture, pat it into a ball, then press to flatten. Place in your saucepan and cook until it browns. Turn it over and cover now while it browns on the second side.
Since there is no egg and the kichari is cooked, it is not essential you “cook it all the way through,” but I cover it to be sure it heats all the way through. Raita Dipping Sauce
1/2 c yogurt (make your own)
1/2 small cucumber (persian are best), chopped small
3-4 spring onions, chopped 1 bunch of chives, chopped
1 bunch dill, chopped
1 small bunch cilantro or parsley, or a bit of both, chopped
Pink salt & fresh cracked pepper, to taste
Stir everything together. Season to taste.
I served these on a slice of roasted beet and roasted sweet potato, ladled with the dipping sauce, and a side of curried mayo (1 t curry powder to 3 T vegan mayo) for vibrant color and flavor.
In the Springtime, Kichari is an essential part of a detoxifying cleanse. I invite you to join me for my upcoming 10 day Spring Cleanse with a 10 day meal plan, nourishing cleansing recipes, as well as Ayurvedic self-care and guidance, coaching, daily motivational emails, group phone-ins and group online support starting April 20th. For one of you lucky commenters, we will (randomly) pick someone to give the Cleanse for free.
So tell us, how do you use your creativity to keep your family eating well? I look forward to hearing.
Omigosh! These recipes sound amazing – I am excited to make a kichari burger this week!! Hooray Laura and Robyn – thanks for sharing your culinary creativity with us!
love you hanu! thanks for being in touch. we are all missing you. delhi, san diego… you have left your mark. enjoy!
Love the re-framing and re-naming in creating a new take on healthy foods. However, my family is a challenge no matter the name! I have taken to buying fresh, keeping fresh and cooking fresh and setting an example rather than forcing. Therefore, the teens in my family are more often trying their hand at culinary arts with their own choices and i support by helping or providing ingredients. I do think the Kitchari Burger may just be welcomed by the fairly new vegetarian in the family! Thanks for continued ideas and beautiful recipes!
Thank you, Kate. I love how supportive you are of your teens. Lucky them to have you for a Mum!
Amazing recipes and so healthy! Thank you Laura!
thank you marcia. being such a global connoisseur of all things delicious, a thumbs up from you means extra. but then you are always so supportive. xo
I just read thru the post – it is wonderful – the pics – the presentation – yum! Thanks so much for making me a part of your beautiful blog – it is such an honor. Sharing forward and sending so much love and appreciation!
Oh Laura can I be your child? Or your husband? Whoever you cook for is so blessed! You’re truly an artist of food and a savior at the moment. I’ve been making crockpot kitchari most days. We could use this delicious and satisfying variety! Can’t wait to make this burger… Thank you, beautiful maker of wholesome things. Love your posts, love you.
yes, you can be all of the above, and my mother and father, sister and brother, my aunt and my niece, my friend and my guru – for you are all that is love and love is all in you. thank you my sweet!
thanks, ji! you are the inspiration. always.
This looks amazing, Laura! I never thought about these types of variations with kichari. We will definitely try.
Thanks, Britt. It’s great to hear from you. Congratulations again on your new (ish) novel!
Ah a kichari burger….now we’re talking. I love how easy you have made these with just psyllium husk and nutritional yeast. And they look irresistible stacked on sweet potato and beet slices with raita.
thank you, kate! i always love your feedback.