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Mung Bean Khichdi

May 17, 2011
By Wendy Monro - Food Writer

A few weeks ago, Claud and I walked through an Indian food market.

Upon entering, we realized we were in for a real treat. I was mesmerized by all of the different Indian foods: spices, beans and lentils, rice, meats, fruits, and snacks. The colors were incredible.

When faced with a rainbow of curry, turmeric, masala, and fenugreek, one must smile. The scent of sandalwood wafted through the air. I was in heaven. I grabbed a basket and started filling it with spices, some of which I had never heard of. I was going to do some research when I got home and figure out how to use these amazing colorful powders.

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Mung Bean Khichdi (pictured above) is Wendy’s favorite recipe using mung beans, which is considered the ultimate comfort food in India. Khichdi means hodgepodge or mishmash; so, there isn’t just one recipe for khichdi. Khichdi is used to feed the masses and the elite. It is fed to babies and the very old, probably because it is so easily digested. It is especially made during monsoon season when families are stuck inside. So, this dish is cleansing, healing, and suitable for all people.

Luckily, Claud knew more about Indian food and could help me decide what would be good to take home and what I should probably put back on the shelf.

He tossed a bag of small green beans into the basket. He told me they were mung beans and I would love them. Of course, I trusted him. We left the store and put all of our treasures into the pantry at home.

Until yesterday, the mung beans sat on the shelf untouched. A couple of times, I looked mung beans up on the Internet. The recipes never really piqued my interest. I Googled them again yesterday and discovered a recipe which recommended using mung beans as part of a cleansing diet for your body.

Fact Box

Mung Bean Khichdi

Serves: 6

Time: one hour

9 cups water

1 cup mung beans

1 tablespoon dried basil

2 bay leaves

cup celery, chopped

2 onions, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 cup basmati rice

  • cup oil
  • cup ginger, minced

8 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon turmeric

teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon crushed red chilis

In a large pot bring water, mung beans, basil and bay leaves to boil. Let this boil for 30 minutes. While the bean mixture boils, in a skillet heat the oil on high. Add the celery, onions, carrots, ginger, garlic, turmeric, pepper, masala and red chilis. Saut for fifteen minutes. Once the 30 minutes are up for the mung beans, add the vegetables to the beans and water mixture. Pour in the rice. Bring to a boil again. Turn the heat down, cover and simmer for thirty minutes.

The mung bean and rice cleanse can be found in, Foods for Health and Healing, and is based on the teachings of Yogi Bhajan.

After reading their suggestion to eat this dish for thirty days straight for every meal, I decided I needed to know more about the mung bean.

Why on earth would anyone eat this for every meal?

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How are they a cleansing food?

The mung (moong) bean is native to India and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 5000 years.

Ayurveda is a combination of two sanskrit words: "ayur" means life and "veda" means knowledge.

It translates as, "the science of life".

Ayurvedic medicine works to establish balance in the diet through food, lifestyle, exercise and body cleansing, and on the health of the mind, body and spirit.

Depending on a person's dosha (body type), some foods are beneficial and others should be avoided.

Amazingly enough, mung beans are appropriate for all doshas. Everyone can eat these: young and old, sick and healthy.

Mung beans are enjoyed throughout India and China.

So many different dishes use mung beans as an ingredient. They contain anticancer and anti-inflammatory qualities. They are low in fat and high in protein and fiber.

Mung beans are used whole, split or sprouted and are easy to digest.

I read one story about a holy man in India who existed on a mung bean and rice diet. He added vegetables and yogurt only to this diet.

People came to him when they weren't well. He offered the sick this dish and told them to eat only this recipe until they were well. The story goes on to tell that he cured many different people of their ailments using this diet.

My favorite recipe using mung beans is khichdi, which is considered the ultimate comfort food in India.

Khichdi means hodgepodge or mishmash; so, there isn't just one recipe for khichdi. Khichdi is used to feed the masses and the elite.

It is fed to babies and the very old, probably because it is so easily digested. It is especially made during monsoon season when families are stuck inside. So, this dish is cleansing, healing, and suitable for all people.

I actually made something else, as an alternative, just in case my family didn't like it. It was so different, I wasn't sure how they would take it. I knew Jack would not even have a bite of this anyway. After I served it, both my dad and Claud raved about it. Claud added some slices of leftover steak to his. He can't eat anything without meat...weird. My dad added a second serving. I was so happy.

I worried about Daphne's reaction because it was a bit spicy. I shredded some cheese for hers in order to lessen the spicy flavor.

She walked in and grabbed her bowl with the cheese on top. As she started eating it, I didn't hear a word from her. I finally asked, "Do you like it?" She replied, "I love it!" Yes, it was a hit!

Although everyone loved it (except for Jack) and it is incredibly healthy, I would never eat this for every meal for thirty days straight. Nor would I do that with any dish. Variety is the spice of life, right?

I would make it every now and then, knowing it is a traditional Indian comfort food that is very cleansing and healthy for all who eat it.

 
 

 

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