Returning home after teaching my two morning yoga classes at The Floating Lotus Studio and having had my morning protein shake, I was wondering what to make myself for breakfast! In the winter I normally have a bowl of oats with fruit, nuts and seeds but today I felt like something more nourishing and warming. I’m beginning to get better at listening to what my body needs, and having just got my period (it’s synced with the full moon how cool is that?!) I’m craving nourishing, earthy and warming foods. Enter Pumpkin, Capsicum & Kale Kitchari!
One of my go-to warming and nurturing foods is kitchari. Kitchari means mixture, usually of two grains, and is a staple in Ayurvedic cooking. Ayurveda is basically traditional Indian medicine. It is well known for being easily digestible, and is often eaten by people as a mono-meal when they are purging, cleansing or detoxing. Traditionally made from basmati rice and mung dal (split mung beans), the combination of the two grains makes it a superfood!
I made this Pumpkin, Capsicum & Kale Kitchari using brown rice instead of basmati rice as it has much more fibre, making it great for the digestive system. It also has a slightly higher protein content and mineral levels. Brown rice actually has a higher fat content than basmati rice, however this combined with its high fibre content means it makes you feel fuller for longer, potentially reducing snacking and overeating. Interestingly, basmati rice has higher iron levels! However because this Pumpkin, Capsicum & Kale Kitchari uses mung beans , which already have a high iron content (100g have around 50% of the recommended daily intake), I’m not too fussed.
I had some pumpkin to use up and so decided to throw that into the mix. Voila, Pumpkin, Capsicum & Kale Kitchari! Basically you can add any veggies you have in your fridge and make a different tasing kitchari every day! This one was particularly delicious though, so I highly recommend giving it a go with pumpkin!
At the moment I’m trying to make eating each of my meals a little ritual. Whenever I can, I sit outside in the sun in my garden to eat, without my phone. This allows me to be fully present with my meal. I’ve found this makes me fuller much quicker, as opposed to eating my lunch in front of my laptop absentmindedly, where my meal seems to disappear before my eyes without ever reaching my belly!
I’ve also started repeating this mantra in my mind: I digest, assimilate and eliminate with ease. Sometimes I repeat it while eating, and other times I repeat it in bed at night, sending some loving energy to my belly. I got this helpful tip from my beautiful naturopath Tia Miers.
Anyway, you’re probably thinking shut up and gimme the recipe…so here it is… Pumpkin, Capsicum & Kale Kitchari!
Pumpkin Capsicum & Kale Kitchari
Soaking time: at least 20 minutes, or overnight
Cooking time: 20-30 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes (but only about 10 minutes of hands-on time)
- 1 cup brown rice, soaked in water for at least 20 minutes
- 1 cup split mung beans, soaked in water for at least 20 minutes, and then rinsed
- 2 Tbs coconut oil
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- Thumb-sized chunk fresh ginger, minced
- Thumb-sized chunk fresh turmeric, minced
- 1 large (or 2-3 small) cloves fresh garlic, minced
- Approx 1 cup pumpkin, cubed (less than ¼ pumpkin)
- ½ red capsicum, diced
- 4 leaves curly kale, chopped
- Soak the rice and mung beans in water for at least 20 minutes. This begins to germinate the grains, increasing their nutritional content, and also reducing cooking time.
- Melt the coconut oil in a large pan or wok over medium to high heat.
- Add the seeds, ginger, turmeric and garlic and fry until fragrant and just browning.
- Add the rinsed and soaked brown rice and mung beans, and the cubed pumpkin.
- Fry for a few minutes then add enough water to cover completely.
- Leave it to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until the pumpkin is soft and the brown rice cooked through. You may need to add a little more water.
- Once cooked, stir through the capsicum and kale.
- I like to serve it with a spoonful of coconut cream, YUM!