Baa (my mother’s mother) made kicharee for dinner 365 nights a year, and my mother followed this tradition by serving it most nights when I was growing up. Even today, I make this warm and nourishing meal for about a third of my dinners because it’s simple to prepare and easy to digest. The combination of rice and mung beans creates a complete protein, too, making this dish filling without being heavy.
There are many, many versions of kicharee, and my mother’s recipe is a more traditional one. When I make it, I add a vagaar with onions, cumin seeds, and ginger at the end.
Mung Bean and Rice Soup (traditional Gujarati style)
Prep time: 5 minutes (plus an overnight soak)
Cook time: 30 minutes
Yield: Serves 2
- 1/2 cup long grain white basmati rice
- 1/2 cup green split mung beans, with skins
- 7 cups water, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
- The night before, place the rice, mung beans, and 3 cups of the water in a large bowl. Soak the mixture overnight. The next day, drain and discard the soaking liquid.
- Transfer the rice and mung beans to a large, fine-mesh strainer. Rinse well under cold running water until the water runs clear.
- Place the rice and mung beans into a large saucepan and add the remaining 4 cups of water. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.
- Add the turmeric, salt, fenugreek seeds, and asafoetida to the boiling water.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the saucepan halfway. Simmer the mixture for 20 to 30 minutes without stirring until the rice and mung beans are soft and most of the liquid is absorbed.
I usually have no problem finding whole mung beans at a regular grocery store, but split mung beans are harder to find. Look for a split bean that is also easy to digest, like red lentils.
When I run out of asafoetida, I often use a pinch of garlic powder instead.