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Spinach Kitchari

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For years, rice has remained the humble side dish. The third wheel to the ‘Aartappels’ and ‘Vleis’ relationship. Only cloaked with a dash of gravy or served in its simplest form.

But this grain, which is not only a good source of carbohydrates and protein, can also be used as a key ingredient in Ayurvedic cuisine.

Ayurvedic cuisine, which has its historical roots in India and has evolved over two millennia. This cuisine uses fresh, seasonal foods and incorporates six tastes, called Rashas, which help prevent cravings – tastes like sweet, sour, salty, bitter, spicy, and astringent.

It has been months since I discovered Ayurvedic cuisine when I attended a Datu Wellness Retreat in Tuscany upon invitation by my dear friend Constantin Bjerke. He initiated this project to introduce Europe to India’s skilled and experienced healers and wellness practitioners.

Stepping into that kitchen and cooking alongside them was really refreshing. As we all know, our body is our temple, and we are what we eat. Therefore, we must take care of it.

Now, I haven’t changed or redefined myself. I am still immersing myself in the world of wine and enjoying my Sondagmiddag-ete dessert. But I am making small changes, adapting little things …  pinch by pinch, almost like tiny grains of salt. I am appreciating food in its essence again. 

Kitchari is a nutritious dish that combines rice and lentils, which provide proteins that support cell repair. Adding spices and spinach enhances its flavour and provides essential vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for digestion. The dish is finished with clarified butter (ghee), which helps with vitamin absorption.

Spinach Kitchari

Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cooking Time: 40 minutes | Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS

170g Spekko Basmati Rice
150g split peas or red split lentils  
600g spinach
60g coriander
40g  mint
30g ghee
8g  cumin seed or ground cumin
6g garam masala
1 medium onion, chopped
5cm ginger, chopped fine
18g  salt
1 green chilli, quartered
6-8 curry leaves
25g tomato paste
Juice of ½ lemon

METHOD

Bring the rice, lentils and 4 cups of water to a simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

Blend the spinach, coriander and mint with a little bit of water

Heat ghee and temper the spices, curry leaves and chilli till aromatic

Add in onion and ginger, and cook till translucent.

Add in the tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes

Add in the spinach puree and cook for 3-5 minutes.

Add in rice and lentils. 

Cookout excess liquid

Finish with lemon juice and ghee.

Garnish with fresh herbs, radish and pomegranate.

SAVE RECIPE