As the fall and winter begin to set in and you begin to crave warming, hearty foods, the slow cooker becomes ever the more useful. I'm not saying that it's not useful throughout the year, but for me winter is prime slow cooker time. Most recently I decided to mimic a recipe that I had at my recent Ayurvedic Yoga Retreat with Scott Blossom. It's made of mung dal, basmati rice, and all sorts of Indian spices but the recipe can vary depending on what you add to it. Now is a great time to add root vegetables to the mix. I added an onion and a potato that I had on hand. Add as much water as you would like depending on your desired consistency. If you like it soupy add more water. I tend to like it to resemble a hearty stew so I usually add less water.
The slow cooker is one of the most energy efficient appliances in the kitchen. When compared to a conventional oven which uses 2.7 pounds of CO2 for one hour of use, a slow cooker uses .9 pounds of CO2 for seven hours of use.
I work from home and if I don't have time to stop and make lunch while I'm plugging away, I love to make kitchari on Monday and have it for lunch for a few days. It's balanced in terms of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and other nutrients. And the mung dal is known for its ability to absorb pesticides and other toxins out of the body.
Slower Cooker Kitchari
1 1/4 cups yellow split mung dal
1 cup white basmati rice, rinsed
6 1/2 cups water
3 tbsp local butter
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground ginger
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 potato, skinned and chopped into 1-inch cubes
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp salt
1. Rinse the dal. Combine the dal, rice, and 6 cups of water in the slow cooker.
2. In a medium size skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the ground spices, cook 1 to 2 minutes just to release the flavor from the spices.
3. Add the cinnamon stick, bay leaf, and veggies to the slow cooker.
4. Top everything with the melted butter combination. Add salt. Cook on high for six hours.
5. Remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Serve with a touch of soy sauce and crusty bread.