You’re going to love this Indian breakfast stew, vegan 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 vegan 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 vegan 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.
Gentle morning kitchari (vegan kitchari)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 white or yellow onion diced
- 3 carrots peeled and diced
- 1 tablespoon finely grated or minced fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3/4 cup white basmati or jasmine rice, rinsed
- 1 cup dried moong dal, toor dal, urad dal, or red lentils
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- Lemon wedges, chopped fresh cilantro, melted coconut oil for drizzling
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the mustard and cumin seeds and cook, stirring constantly, until the seeds begin to pop, about 2 minutes. Add the onion, carrots, and ginger and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onion is tender and translucent.
- Stir in the rice, dal, turmeric, cloves, salt, pepper, broth, and water and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the lid, stir well, and then simmer, uncovered, for 5 to 10 minutes, until the texture resembles porridge (for a soupier texture, decrease the cooking time, and for a thicker texture, cook it a bit longer). Taste and adjust the seasonings if desired. Serve with your toppings of choice.