For vegetarians, it can be tricky to get all of the protein you need every day. Especially if you have just committed to a vegetarian diet and are learning to cook all over again. Eating proteins with whole grains is important. Combinations like rice and dahl, or corn and beans, provide all of the amino acids necessary for a ‘whole protein’ which your body needs to survive. Quinoa is a seed (not a grain) that contains all of the amino acids necessary for a whole protein. So it’s very good to include in your diet.
Kitchari is not only delicious but it’s also very healthy. The protein in split mung is combined with rice to make it a whole protein, which can be easily used by the body. Add the vegetables and you have a full meal in a bowl. If you are in the cooking mood, chapattis make this utter perfection.
As vegetarians it is important to make sure that we have enough protein in our diets. Many plant-based proteins must be eaten with some sort of grain in order for it to become a whole protein. Luckily for us combining plant proteins with grains is easy and delicious. For example rice and dahl, peanut butter and bread, and of course beans and rice.
With its many garnishes and seasonings, pushpanna is one of the most opulent of rice dishes, and, as its name implies, it's as colorful as a bouquet of flowers. Some cooks add pieces of chopped dried fruits to heighten the effect.
Traditionally a kitchari dish is a combination of two grains, rice and lentils or dhal, and vegetables and spices. There are many regional variations throughout India and the Middle East, and the dish can be very bland or incredibly rich. This particular recipe is a nice middle-ground so you can explore the basics of making kitchari.
You can find this and more recipes in The Hare Krishna Book of Vegetarian Cooking.
Butternut gives this kitchari some sweet creaminess, almost like you have added some sweet cream butter, and is the perfect complement to the slight bitterness of the greens. This recipe is great for kids (or adults) who are not fond of seedy spices in their meal. My daughter loves this kitchari and I love that she is eating healthy whole grains and vegetables.
Apricots give that rich, fruity flavour to any dish. It really makes a fresh difference to rice and can be eaten with any curry or vegetable dish. The saffron subtly compliments the apricot, adding lovely rich notes to the rice.