In the summer of 2012, I was hit with a case of Bell's Palsy, an inflammation of cranial nerve no. 7 on the face that crippled the ability to use half my face.
Bell's Palsy in almost all cases naturally heals itself (I'm 95% recovered), and while there is not a lot of medical science on this common affliction that goes away by itself as the nerve regrows, it made logical sense to me that nutrition plays an important role in healing nerve damage.
Reading up for tips on healthy eating, I discovered an amazing dish that is so simple in its construction, yet so elegant in flavour; kitchari.
Eaten in the west mainly by yoga practitioners and others seeking to "detox" their systems, the combination of spices and ingredients makes this an ideal dish for all "doshas" (Ayurvedic body types). So delicious and cheap to make, it is a staple dish for all classes of society in India.
It's also very versatile, you can add veggies, experiment with sauces, and its good anytime of day or night, as a snack or a main meal. There are a lot of recipes to play around with, and below is one I've come up with. The masterful thing about kitchari, is that the simplest addition of another spice, say anise, fennel, dill, etc, and you get a completely different result.
This one is my favorite.
The great thing about it is that the spices are nutritious and the fiber helps to cleans your intestines, so you lost weight also when you eat it, and one pot like the one pictured, cost about EUR 2 and is good for 6-8 servings, which average about 350 calories each!
(Convert measurements to metric on google if needed)
1 CUP Mungo beans, soaked in water for at least 7 hours to soften.
1 CUP Basmati Rice (I've found other rices to end up too mushy for my tastes)
2 small bowls:
BOWL #1 (Wet Spice bowl)
1) Grate 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger
2) Add 2 Tablespoons grated coconut (find in the baking section of most Czech grocers)
3) Handful of fresh Koriander/Kinza (Cilantro). Vietnamese stores in the Czech Republic almost always have supply, FYI)
4) Add 1/2 CUP water and set to the side to soak.
BOWL #2 (Dry Spice bowl)
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon powder
1/4 Teaspoon Tumeric Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Ground black pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Clove Powder (just buy dry cloves, and if you don't have a mortar & pestle, just put in folded, thick paper and hammer them into bits, every easy)
1/4 Teaspoon Cardamon powder. Powder form is not easy to find in some places, so I buy the Cardamon in the seed pod (right), then I remove the seed pod and crush them in a mortar & pestle. Alternatively, you can put them in a "pepper mill" (pepper grinder) to make powder. A whole bag can be done while watching a movie, if you want to do it all in one go.
3 Large Bay Leaves
In a large pot (min. 2 liters), put in 2 Tablespoons of GHEE or pure butter if not available (margarine doesn't work very well), and as it starts to melt, add the contents of the Dry Spice Bowl, until they start to "brown".
Add in the mungo beans (without soaking water) and stir them to coat them with the spices/ghee.
Then add in the contents of the Wet Spice Bowl and stir in. Then add one cup of Basmati Rice and stir together.
Then add 6 CUPS of water. I poor the first 2 CUPS of water into the Spice Bowls to make sure to get all the ingredients and then pour into the cooking pot.
Bring to a boil with the lid off and stir occasionally.
When boiling, turn down to a low heat and cover with a lid, cook for 25-30 min. until all the water is gone. Let cool, or eat hot, yummy Kitchari, the Yogic detox dish, that costs about 2 euros for 8 meals a week. I eat like 3 pots a week and my main dish. Good for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack.
Can mix in other vegetables if you like, or top with Mango Chutney, Sweet Thai Chilli Sauce, salsa or pasta sauce.