You’re going to love this Indian breakfast stew, kitchari, from the newest cookbook by Gena Hamshaw called Power Plates.
I’ve been reading Gena’s blog, The Full Helping, for the vast majority of the 9 years I’ve been blogging. (You may also know it by its former name, Choosing Raw.) To this day, hers is a blog that I read faithfully whenever a new post comes up in my reader. Not only does Gena share nutritious & delicious vegan recipes, her writing also has a candor & openness that makes you feel like you really know her as a person. I can also count on her for intelligent insight into a wide gamut of themes, often beyond food.
(You can read an interview I did with Gena here after the publication of her first cookbook.)
The first word that comes to mind when flipping through the recipes in her latest cookbook, Power Plates, is “nourishing.” There are 100 eye-catching recipes in the book. The breakfasts, bowls, salads, and skillets feature everything I’m craving this time of year. As I flipped through page after page, I was hit with the recurring thought, “Yes, this is exactly what I want.”
Gena is a nutritionist by trade and working towards becoming a Registered Dietary Nutritionist. Her recipes focus on a balance of complex carbohydrates, proteins, and fat for maximum satiety.A proponent of batch cooking, Gena advocates taking some time on Sunday to make staples for the week for easier bowls, and quick grab-and-go meals. She explains how to freeze many of the items in the book, so that a healthy meal is never far away. Even if you’re cooking for one, Gena recommends making the full allotment of recipes for leftovers, as a way to help yourself on busy weeknights.
Photographs accompany each recipe in the book. The photography was done by Ashley McLaughlin. The aesthetic is beautifully airy with lots of bright white and a minimalist approach. It reminds me of a well-manicured Instagram feed in the best possible way. Even if you don’t dirty a dish (and I think you should), the book is a pleasure to leaf through.
Gentle morning kitchari
Like me, Gena is a savory breakfast fan. I’m happy to have pancakes or waffles on occasion, but to me it never feels like I’ve had a legitimate breakfast until there’s something heartier involved.
This recipe for gentle morning kitchari (also called khichdi) is an Indian breakfast stew with a base of mung dal and rice. (Gena also gives the option of using red lentils, toor dal, or urad dal instead of mung dal.) It is spiced with cumin seed, mustard seed, turmeric, ginger, and cloves. The protein and grains make the Indian stew very filling and warming.
First I made a full batch of this savory stew for dinner one night with some toasted sourdough bread. I scooped stew onto my warm bread as I ate it. Then I had leftovers for breakfast the next day, and sent David with leftovers for his packed lunch.
This kitchari is truly a meal you can eat any time of the day, and like so many well-spiced stews, chilis, and soups, it only gets better as time passes.