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15 Feb 2015

Healthy Winter Comfort Food

When it comes to food, winter represents delicious, warm, heavy comfort food.

While it keeps you warm, after a few months of eating this way, we tend to feel sluggish and may have even gained a few winter pounds. It's nature's way of making sure we don't freeze to death. Comfort food is often richer, using heavier ingredients, more meat, butter, root vegetables etc. Tastes great, but will leave you feeling bulked up or hefty a few months into winter. Yesterday I was racking my brain trying to think of a dish that is hearty and warming since February is making up for all of the warmer days we've had so far and also flavorful yet easy on the digestion. Enter Khichidi (pronounced kit-chi-dee), it's a dish popular in India. It is known as comfort food (yay) but also as a cleansing and easy on the digestive system which also makes for a really good detoxification food. Perfect!

This dish can be served on its own with some plain yogurt and a dollop of date chutney (recipe below) or on a bed of brown rice. Either way works. I like to eat this with some salad on the side. This is also another dish that can be cooked in a crockpot or in a regular pot on the stove. 

For the Khichidi

1 cup of brown rice, washed
2 cups of green lentils, washed
1 cup of onion, diced small
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 inches of ginger root, minced
1 cup of green peas
1 cup of diced carrot
1 cup of small florets of cauliflower
1 tbsp of mustard seed
1 tbsp of coriander seed
1tbsp of curry powder
1 tsp of cumin
1 tsp turmeric
a pinch of cinnamon
a pinch of paprika
a pinch of dried chilli flakes
a pinch of salt
6 cups of water
1 tbsp of coconut oil or olive oil

For the Date Chutney

1 cup of organic medjool dates (about 16), pitted
2 inches of ginger root, minced
2 medium pieces of chilli (give or take depending on your taste for chilli)
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1 cup of water

Heat the oil in your pot on medium heat and sauté the onion, garlic and ginger. When the onion is translucent add the spices and sauté for a few minutes. Add the rice and lentils, stir for a minute or two. Add the vegetables, stir for two minutes and then add the water. Bring to the boil and then leave to simmer on a low heat for 40 minutes or until the rice and lentils have absorbed all of the water.

If making in a crockpot, do the same in a pot and then transfer the ingredients into the crockpot and leave on a low heat for a few hours or until the rice and lentil have absorbed the water and become soft.

To make the chutney place all ingredients into a food processor and blitz until the texture is somewhat creamy and the dates and ginger are fully blended.

To serve, plate the Khichidi on a bed of rice (optional) with a tablespoon of plain yogurt and chutney.

Sprinkle with cashews and serve with a sprig of coriander (cilantro).

Enjoy and stay warm!

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