Kichari: Lentil & Brown Rice Stew

This is a variation of my Indian Kichari recipe.

Ingredients

1 cup lentils, rinsed and drained
½ cup brown rice, rinsed and drained
Water
2 vegetable bouillon cubes (or to taste)
1–2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons curry powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
2–3 cups chopped vegetables (carrots, yams, potatoes, beets, squash, etc.)
1 cup chopped leafy greens (kale, spinach, chard, etc.)

Put lentils and brown rice into a medium-size pot. Cover with about an inch of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium–high. If lentils foam up, skim and discard. Cook for 15–20 minutes, adding more water as needed. Add bouillon, ginger, curry powder, turmeric and cinnamon. Continue to cook for a few minutes, then add all vegetables. Cook for 20–25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all ingredients are thoroughly cooked and well combined. Serve warm or hot. Serves 4–6.

Health Benefits of Lentils and Brown Rice

  • Though all lentils provide fantastic health benefits, red lentils cook more quickly and are considered to be the tastiest of the bunch. While cooking, they usually turn from reddish to a lighter yellow color. Lentils should be rinsed before cooking. Like any legume, soaking lentils overnight and discarding the water helps speed up the cooking process and helps remove impurities.
  • Protein– Lentils are rich in protein, which is well known to the vegetarian and vegan communities. In fact, a 1 cup serving of lentils provides nearly 40% of your daily recommended value of protein, and you will only be getting 230 calories for that entire cup!
  • Iron– Often another big problem for vegetarians and vegans is getting enough iron in their diets. Lentils provide iron, without the fat and cholesterol associated with red meat. Women, especially pregnant women, and children should be especially careful to get adequate amounts of iron as their needs are greater.
  • Fiber– Lentils are another great vegetable source of fiber, and their high fiber content helps you to feel full with less food. High fiber legumes like lentils are especially useful for those trying to stabilize blood sugar levels, as your metabolism burns them very slowly over time. The fiber is also effective in lowering blood cholesterol.
  • Anti-oxidants– Lentils contain anti-oxidants similar to those in tea, red wine and other foods.
  • Heart-Healthy– In addition to the fiber, magnesium and folate, a B vitamin, are found in lentils and very important nutrients to heart health.

Brown Rice:

  • Rich in Selenium: Brown rice is rich in selenium which reduces the risk for developing common illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis.
  • High in Manganese : One cup of brown rice provides 80% of our daily manganese requirements. Manganese helps the body synthesize fats. Manganese also benefits our nervous and reproductive systems.
  • Rich in Naturally-Occurring Oils: Naturally occurring oils are beneficial for the body as these healthful fats help normalize cholesterol levels.
  • Promotes Weight Loss: The fiber content of brown rice keeps bowel function at it’s peak since it makes digestion that much easier. Brown rice is the perfect addition to the daily diet for those seeking bowel regularity. In addition, brown rice also makes the tummy feel full which translates to smaller meal portions.
  • Considered Whole Grain: Brown rice is considered a whole grain since it hasn’t lost its “wholeness” through the refinement process. Wholes grains are proven to reduce the buildup of arterial plaque and reduce the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol.
  • Rich in Anti-Oxidants: This is one of the best kept secrets regarding brown rice. We usually associate anti-oxidant rich foods with blueberries, strawberries and other fruits and vegetables. The antioxidant capacity of brown rice is right up there with these super stars.
  • High in Fiber: Brown rice is high in fiber and on top of the list for foods that can help prevent colon cancer. This can be attributed to the high levels of fiber naturally contained in brown rice. These fibers attach to substances that cause cancer as well as to toxins in the body, thus eliminating them and keeping them from attaching to the colon wall.
  • A Slow-Release Sugar: Brown rice helps stabilize blood sugar levels; therefore, it’s an excellent food choice for those suffering from diabetes. Studies show that those who consume one half cup of brown rice daily reduce their risks of developing diabetes by 60%. On the other hand, those who consume white rice regularly increase their chances of developing diabetes 100 fold.
  • Perfect Baby Food: Brown rice cereal or brown rice itself is the perfect baby’s first food due to the dense natural nutrition and fiber it contains. This is a much better choice than refined white rice cereal products as rapidly growing babies and toddlers require nutrient rich diets to help maintain rapid growth cycles.
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