Keera’s Kitchari

Cooking time
Serves4-8 people
Vegetarians Gluten-free diets
Keera’s Kitchari

Kitchari translates "mess" but this cosy mix of rice and lentils slow cooked with spices till soft and tender seems pretty perfect to us. This recipe is form our customers services supremo, Keera, who says: “This recipe has been in the family for years and everyone loves it. When I want something comforting to eat, this is what I make.”


  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • A thumb of ginger
  • 1 cauliflower
  • 200g French beans
  • Ghee, for frying
  • 2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 3 tsp turmeric
  • 200g white basmati rice
  • 300g dried red lentils
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 200g baby leaf spinach
  • Butter, to serve (optional)
  • A handful of fresh coriander

Prep: 10 mins | Cook: 1 hr 30 mins

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1. Peel and finely chop the onion. Peel and grate the garlic and ginger. Strip the leaves off the cauliflower and chop it into bite-size florets, chopping the stalk to match. Trim the woody ends off the French beans and chop the beans into small pieces.
2. Melt a generous spoonful of ghee in a large pan or casserole dish over a medium-high heat. Add the black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, ground coriander and turmeric and fry, stirring constantly for 1-2 mins.
3. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and season with a pinch of salt. Fry, stirring often, for 15 mins till the onions cook down and soften. Add splashes of water as the onion cooks to stop the onion catching and burning.
4. Add the cauliflower and French beans to the pan with a generous splash of water and cook, stirring, for 6-8 mins to soften the veg a little. Meanwhile, rinse the rice well under cold water.
5. Add the rice and lentils to the pan and stir to mix. Pour in 1½ ltrs cold water and drop in the bay leaves. Season with a pinch of salt. Pop a lid on the pan, bring up to the boil, then turn the heat down to low so the pan is just gently simmering. Cook for around 1 hr, stirring occasionally, till the kitchari is thick and has a porridge-like consistency. Keep your eye on the pan and add a splash more water, if it looks like it's getting too dry.
6. When the kitchari is soft and thick, stir in the spinach to wilt it. Add 1-2 tbsp butter, if liked, and stir to melt. Taste and add a pinch more salt, some pepper or a little more butter. Tear in the fresh coriander and serve in warm bowls.
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