Indian Kichari: Mung Bean and Brown Rice Stew with Veggies

Kichari is a very popular Indian dish. It is a great one-pot meal made with legumes, whole grains and assorted veggies. It is traditionally made with mung beans, but you can also use lentils in this recipe. Mung beans are well-known in India and are touted for their health benefits (see below). I always get great responses when I prepare this dish. It is so healthy and hearty–and great for cold-weather fare.

Ingredients: 

1 cup green mung beans
½ cup brown rice
6 cups water
2 vegetable bouillon cubes, or salt to taste (I use Rapunzel brand bouillon)
2–3 cups vegetables of choice, cut into small pieces
(carrots, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, beets, squash, etc.)
1-2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced or grated
2 tsp. curry powder (I use the organic bulk curry powder)
¼ tsp. cinnamon
Pinch of turmeric
1 cup chopped leafy greens

Rinse beans and rice and add to medium-size pot. Add water and bouillon cubes and bring to a boil. While beans and rice are cooking, cut up the vegetables, starting with root veggies. Set aside. As water evaporates, continue to add more, about 2 cups at a time. Continue cooking until beans and rice soften. Add chopped veggies (root veggies first), ginger, curry powder, cinnamon, turmeric and salt (if using salt instead of bouillon). When stew is nearly done, add chopped greens. Cook until vegetables soften and rice and beans are thoroughly cooked. Stew will thicken. Serve warm or hot. Makes approx. 12 cups.

Health Benefits of Green Mung Beans

The green mung bean is originally from India and may also be known as the green gram, golden gram and chop suey bean. Green mung bean sprouts are often used in salads and stir-frys. Ayurvedic Yoga recommends a mono diet of green mung soup for several days or more as a deep detox for your body.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Green Mung Bean Health Benefits

In the Compendium of Materia Medica, Li Shizen (a pharmacologist in the Ming Dynasty 1368-1644) recorded that cooked mung beans could:

  • Dispel internal heat
  • Dispel toxins
  • Relieve edema
  • Relieve heat stroke and thirst
  • Calm nerves
  • Reinforce quan qi (original energy)
  • Harmonize organs
  • Nourish the skin
  • Promote urination

Western Herbal Green Mung Bean Health Benefits

Green mung beans have been shown to have the following health benefits:

  • Constipation: The high fiber content of mung beans moves improves intestinal motility.
  • Hair and Nails: Mung beans are high in protein and zinc which improve the strength of hair and nails.
  • Hangover: Mung beans quickly detoxify the body and remove the symptoms of hangover
  • Heart Disease: Mung beans have been shown reduce heart disease when consumed several times per week
  • High Blood Pressure: Consuming a small amount of green mung beans daily has shown to reduce high blood pressure
  • Liver Health: Mung beans contain a large amount of lecithin which reduces liver fat and regulates the normal functioning of the liver.
  • Lowers Cholesterol
  • Skin/Anti-Aging: Mung beans contain phytoestrogens which aid in the production of collagen and elastin which improve skin tone.
  • Toxin Removal: According to TCM, mung beans expel toxins from the body
  • Weight Loss: Mung beans are low in calories and rich in proteins and fiber

Mung beans are great to use in soups and stews. Cook in the same way as dry lentils. Mung beans take approximately 45 minutes to cook.

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