DDD #80 – Vegan Aloo Palak – Indian Spinach & Potato Curry

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Click the image above to watch the video.

I fucking love Indian food.  I always have.  I have posted many Indian recipes & Indian food is the easiest way to feed someone vegan food without them noticing.  If you research, you will find that most recipes have largely overlapping ingredients.  If you intend to get into cooking Indian food – the critical spices (outside of cumin & coriander) are garam masala & cardamom.  If your local market does not carry the spices you need – and there is no local Indian spice source (ethnic markets are THE BEST resource for cheap spices) – buy them on Amazon.  This recipe calls for fenugreek (or kasuri methi) but I read that celery seeds are a decent substitute.  If you can’t find either – blow it off.

If you are accustomed to cooking Indian food – you might notice I tend to use far larger amounts of the spices than your average recipes.  The measurements are very forgiving, though, so don’t worry if you want to use more – or less – than what I suggest.

I used a vegan goat cheese that I bought at a Soledad Santuary stand at the Hollywood farmer’s market.  If you live in Hollywood or can make it to that market – look for them.  They recently turned vegan & are experimenting making many kinds of vegan cheese.  (If you get there – BTW – look for Dave’s Korean stand, too.  Their tempeh is INSANE!)  You can use any soft vegan cheese (cream cheese or yogurt or goat cheese – if you can find some).  If you are not vegan – a Boursin or garlic/chive cream cheese would work.  You just need some sort of “dairy” to mellow out the overall flavor.

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Vegan Aloo Palak (Indian Spinach & Potato Curry)

Serves 4-6 with rice

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 – 2 lbs fresh spinach (You can use canned or frozen but the flavor will not be the same & you won’t get the vibrant green color.  Google Aloo Palak & see how ugly it can look.  LOL)

3 large red potatoes – cubed

1 large onion – diced

1-3 jalapenos (to taste) – chopped (remove seeds to lessen the heat)

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp cumin

1 TBS turmeric

1 TBS fresh ginger – minced (I used jarred)

1 TBS garlic – minced (I used jarred)

1-3 tsp chili powder (I used 3 but I like heat)

1 TBS ground coriander

1 tsp dry fenugreek (or celery seeds) – OPTIONAL

1 TBS garam masala

1/2 cup vegan soft cheese

Salt

Olive oil

Garnish – cooked rice and/or naan

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DIRECTIONS

Boil a large pot of water & blanch the spinach by immersing it for 30 seconds to a minute – so it wilts.  Plunge into cold water & drain.

Heat 1-2 TBS olive oil & pan fry the potatoes until they begin to brown – turning often.  This might cook them through – depending on how large your cubes are.  If it doesn’t do not worry.  They can cook more in the spinach.  Set aside.

In that same pan – heat another TBS olive oil & add the cumin seeds.  Once they begin to sputter, add the onion, jalapeno, garlic, ginger, & spices.  Cook until the onion is soft.

In a food processor – blend the onion mix.  Then – add the drained spinach & puree.  Return this to the pan.  Stir in the cheese & add the potatoes.  Heat through & be sure your potatoes are soft.  You may have to add between 1-2 cups of water to thin it out.  If it is too thick add more water.  Too thin?  Cook it down.

Serve with rice or naan – or eat it naked!  I mean – the spinach & potatoes could be naked – as the potato adds a starch to the dish, already.  But – if you wanna be naked yourself – I don’t see a problem with that.  Your roommate or children might feel awkward but fuck’m.  You just made motherfuckin’ Aloo Palak.   What the fuck have they achieved lately?  Probably not appreciate you enough, that’s what.

See my point?  Might as well swill some wine, too.  Haters gonna hate.  No reason for you to give any fucks at all.  Eat, drink & be proud you just made a yummy vegan meal!

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Easy Vegan Cauliflower, Broccoli and Turmeric Mac & Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I took those two outdoor images this weekend on my Hollywood sign hikes.  Living in LA does NOT suck.  Don’t believe the hype.

You know what else doesn’t suck?  Pretty much any variety of mac & cheese.  But being a big fat ass does suck – so I added a huge head of cauliflower & two small heads of broccoli to this so it is about 50% veggies & 50% pasta.  Easy & delicious.  I skipped the whole roux business so this is a very quick dish to put together.

I used turmeric because it adds that vibrant yellow color but I also added it because it is really good for you.  Google “turmeric benefits” or look HERE & see some of the amazing good it can do for you.

Click the image below to watch the video.


 

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Easy Cauliflower and Broccoli and Turmeric Mac and Cheese

Feeds 6

INGREDIENTS

12 oz dry pasta

1/2 large head cauliflower – cut into bite-size florets

2 medium heads broccoli – cut into bit-sized florets

12 oz unsweetened non-dairy milk

1 cup vegan sour cream or cream cheese or a mix

1 or more cups vegan cheese of your choice

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)

1 TBS turmeric

2 garlic cloves – minced

1 tsp salt

1 TBS ground pepper

A few squirts of hot sauce – I used Crystal (optional)

1-2 cups panko or other bread crumbs

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 & grease a large casserole pan.

Cook pasta according to directions.  Cook as long as the package says – but add the cauliflower & broccoli in the final three minutes.  Drain.

Heat the milk & stir in all the other ingredients.  Add the pasta & veggies & combine.  Put in your greased casserole dish.  Top with breadcrumbs.  A spritz of cooking spray will aid the breadcrumbs browning.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly & the breadcrumbs are beginning to brown.

Devour.

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DDD #78 – Vegan Red Lentil Curry or Soup (Instant Pot or Slow Cooker)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Click the image above to watch my thwarted efforts at making a curry for rice.

 

 

Slow cookers.  Mmmmmm!  So satisfying.   Coming home to a house filled with the aroma of a fresh cooked meal is the next best thing to having a wife.  Or a husband.  Because the dogs just never seem to get motivated enough to cook.  Or maybe they do – but they just eat it all up themselves.  This recipe can be made either as a curry for over rice or as a soup.  If you are doing a version for rice – use a slow cooker.  I cannot figure out how to cook something as delicate as red lentils in the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker unless I want it to be a soup – which is how I salvaged this potential disaster.

 

 

 

This could also be made stove top in just the time it takes to cook the lentils but you might want to saute the onions a bit first to soften them.

Vegan Red Curry Lentils

feeds at least 2 very well with rice or  — make the soup

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups lentils

1 TBS olive oil or coconut oil

10 oz can of Rotel or other diced or strained tomatoes

1 small onion – diced

1 TBS garlic cloves – minced

1 TBS fresh grated ginger – I used jarred

1 tsp ground cumin

2 TBS red curry paste

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp salt

1-2 tsp cayenne pepper (according to your tolerance for heat)

1 tsp garam masala (recipe below if you cannot find it as garam masala)

1 TBS harissa or other hot sauce – like sriracha

2 cups water

1 (6 oz) can coconut milk

Chopped cilantro as garnish (and cook some rice to serve the lentils over if you did not make soup – I used brown Basmati).  A bit of vegan sour cream might be nice to stir into the soup – if you went that way.

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DIRECTIONS

SLOW COOKER CURRY (for rice)

Just stick all the ingredients into a slow cooker & set it on low.  Go away for 8-10 hours.  Or set it on high and it should be done in 2-3 hours.   Serve over steamed rice.  Garnish with cilantro & maybe additional hot sauce.

INSTANT POT SOUP

On the saute setting, saute the onion until soft.  Add everything else & cook on manual for 8-10 minutes.  Add more water to thin it to taste.

Serve with vegan sour cream & Sriracha & cilantro.

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Garam Masala

INGREDIENTS

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

DDD #77 – Vegan Smoked Dal Makhani – Punjabi-Style – Instant Pot or Not!

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Click the image above to watch the video.

I love Indian food.  I always have.  I also love cooking with dry beans & lentils because they are so inexpensive & yield many servings for pennies per serving.  The only issue with Indian recipes is acquiring the exotic spices – which can be expensive if you do not buy them from an Indian market.  Ethnic markets are always the best place to buy spices because each will typically carry all you need for recipes from that area of the world and at greatly reduced prices.  If you do not live in an area with much diversity – Amazon is wonderful.  You can typically omit a few spices from most recipes with little loss of flavor but it is really satisfying to be as authentically true to a regional recipe as possible.   With Thai food, for example, getting fresh kaffir lime leaves & Thai basil makes an enormous difference.  You just open the packages of these things and are transported to your favorite Thai restaurant.  Indian food has a few staples that are hrd to get around – garam masala, for example.  But it is stuff like cardamom & fenugreek (methi) that add authenticity.  Fenugreek is an herb – pictured below – both fresh & dried.  It also comes in seed form & as a powder and it is ubiquitous in Indian recipes in one form or another.  It might be a good idea to research a few Indian recipes & stock up on the critical spices sif you want to experiment with this wonderful cuisine.  HERE is a list of the most used spices – garam masala being the most commonly used and that list omitted the kasoori (or kasuri) methi (dry fenugreek leaves) and I would add that to your list as well as amchoor (mango powder).

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I made a version of mahkani in July – seen above – my Spicy Vegan Dal Makhani (Beluga or Black Lentils) for the Slow Cooker.   That dish used beluga lentils & is not as authentic as today’s recipe. In today’s recipe I used whole black lentils (also called urad dal or black gram) and red kidney beans (rajma).    I not only soaked these beans overnight but I also cooked them in my slow cooker for 5 hours on high AND left them overnight to let the flavors meld.  I recommend this (though it is not necessary) to let the beans really soften & the flavors blend – so – if you are making this dish it takes two days before you are eating it.  Again, you definitely could eat it after the 5 hours but like many stew-type dishes – it gets better over time.  The good news is – there is no prep cooking for this dish so, except for cutting up an onion & 2 peppers – the slow cooker does all the work (except the smoking process – explained below).  The lentils & beans I used are below – dry – and as they looked after soaking them – separately – overnight.  As you can see – they changed color considerably.   This dish is traditionally very rich using varied amounts of butter & heavy cream.  I used only 2 TBS of vegan butter & 1/2 cup vegan sour cream – so this dish is not quite so heavy.

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As to smoking your dal makhani – it is VERY easy & I recommend it very highly.  It just requires a chunk of a natural charcoal & a small metal bowl.  You simply heat the coal over a burner until it is red hot, place it in a metal bowl & drizzle olive oil on it & place it atop your dal & put the lid on the slow cooker.  In ten minutes – you will have authentically, smoky goodness!  (The photo of the smoking charcoal is from my Smoked & Spicy Indian Eggplant Curry (Vegan – Vegetarian) – seen below.)

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Vegan Smoked Dal Makhani Punjabi-Style (Black Gram/Urad Dal & Rajma) – 

Serves 6+ with rice

INGREDIENTS

 1 cup dry black urad dal – soaked overnight

1/2 cup dry red kidney beans – soaked overnight

1 onion – diced

2 serrano (or jalapeno) peppers – seeded & diced

2 TBS vegan butter (or coconut or olive oil)

4 cups water (or vegetable stock)

1 cup tomato puree

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 TBS garam masala

1/2 tsp amchoor

2 TBS dry methi leaves

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp chili powder

3 green cardamom pods

1 TBS fresh or jarred ginger (I used jarred)

4 garlic cloves – minced

1/2 cup vegan sour cream

Steamed rice

GARNISH – more sour cream, cilantro or fresh fenugreek leaves

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DIRECTIONS

Soak the beans overnight.   Drain & rinse.

INSTANT POT

Heat the oil or butter using the saute setting – saute the onion & peppers until soft.  Put everything else in & cook, sealed, on manual for 35 minutes.

SLOWCOOKER

Put everything except the sour cream into a slow cooker & cook on high for at least 5 hours – maybe more.  If you are going for the overnight uber-cooking (as I did) – leave it covered overnight.  I left my cooker off as there was nothing in there that would spoil but – if you are not comfortable with that – add some water & leave it on warm overnight.

STOVE TOP

Heat the oil or butter and saute the onion & peppers in a large stock pot until soft.  Put everything else in & bring to a boil.  Reduce heat & simmer until the beans are tender – 30 minutes or so.

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Either way – the next step is the smoking (which you can skip but I recommend trying it because it is amazing.  Heat the coal over a burner until it is red hot, place it in a metal bowl & drizzle olive oil on it & place it atop your dal & put the lid on the slow cooker or Instant Pot or pan.  In ten minutes – you will have authentically, smoky goodness!

Now – stir in the sour cream.   If it is too thin – add water or vegan milk to thin it.  If it is too thin – cook it on high with the lid off until it thickens.  Mashing some of the dal with a wooden spoon or pureeing with an immersion blender gives an even creamier result.

Garnish with a dollop of sour cream & serve with rice.

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DDD #76 – Spicy Vegan Szechuan Chickpeas

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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OK.  Another SUPER DUPER easy one!!!  The first time I made it, I just threw this shit into a two serving slow cooker, hiked for two hours (that recipe is HERE) – and came back to this really spicy & really yummy dish!  This recipe now is for the stove top.   While Szechuan dishes are often very greasy – this has only one TBS of sesame oil in the whole thing.  None of the ingredients are particularly exotic & if you find one in the list you don’t have because it is too exotic for your local stores – blow it off.

These dry red chilies are kind of important for flavor but I expect most big grocery stores will carry them.  If not – sub out with crushed red pepper in a quantity that suits your tolerance for heat.

Stove top – this can be ready in 10 minutes.

Click the image below to watch the video.

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Spicy Vegan Szechuan Chickpeas 

serves 2 with rice

INGREDIENTS

2 (15 oz) cans of chickpeas

2 TBS hoisin sauce

2 TBS chili paste (chili garlic sauce or sambal oelek or sriracha)

2 TBS balsamic vinegar

1 TBS sesame oil

5 TBS low sodium soy sauce (or tamari)

1 TBS ginger – minced or grated

4 garlic cloves – minced

2 TBS Chinese rice cooking wine (not vinegar) or dry sherry

1/4 cup water

5-10 dry red chilies (halved or quartered) – THIS IS A LOT – so – use way less if you are not heat tolerant – the seeds are hot so discard if you hate spice.  I used 15 peppers in this – seeds & all – hence EXTRA spicy.  PS – you do not EAT these peppers once the dish is cooked.  Use crushed red pepper (to taste) if you cannot find these.

1 tsp Chinese Five Spice

1 tsp anise pepper (or Szechuan pepper – they are the same thing)

1 TBS cornstarch

PEANUTS as garnish

Scallions – sliced

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DIRECTIONS

Heat everything except the chickpeas & garnishes in deep pan.  Whick to blend.  Add the chickpeas & heat on high until the sauce thickens.  Stir in the peanuts.

Serve over rice with sliced scallions.  REMEMBER – do NOT eat those dry red peppers.  I mean you can – but it is not advised.

See?  EASY!

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DDD #75 – Vegan Spicy Citrus Black Beans

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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These are as easy as putting everything into a slow cooker & walking away.  I did not even pre-soak the beans.  You could speed this process up either by using canned beans or soaking dry beans overnight or quick soaking them or cooking them on a higher setting – or by doing it stove top.  These are mildly spicy & mildly citrusy.  You could ratchet either of those flavors up or down – according to your preferences.

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Vegan Spicy Citrus Black Beans (Instant Pot, Slow Cooker or Stove Top)

Feeds 6 with rice

INGREDIENTS

1 lb dry black beans

5 cups water or stock (1 cup only if using drained, canned beans)

Juice of 2 limes

juice of 1 large lemon

juice of 1 large orange

6 garlic cloves – minced

2 (or more or less) chipotle chilies in adobo – minced

1 onions – diced

3 serrano (or jalapeno) peppers – minced (or to taste)

1 TBS  ground cumin

2 TBS dry oregano (or fresh – chopped)

2 bay leaves

2 tsp dry sage

1 tsp of salt

Squirt sriracha

Garnish – cilantro & cooked rice & maybe citrus wedges to squeeze

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DIRECTIONS

SLOWCOOKER

Put it all in a slow cooker on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.  Cook uncovered longer if they are too wet – add water if they are too dry.  If they seem too runny – maybe puree a small amount of the beans & return them to the pan.

STOVE TOP

Put everything in a very large stock pot & bring to a boil & simmer until the beans are tender (90 minutes or more or until the beans are tender).  Boil longer if they are too watery.  Add water if they get too thick.  If they seem too runny – maybe puree a small amount of the beans & return them to the pan.

INSTANT POT

Put it all into the Instant Pot & cook on manual for 25 minutes.  Drain in a colander if they are too wet.  Add water if they get too dry.  If they seem too runny – maybe puree a small amount of the beans & return them to the pan.

All of these methods will go much faster with beans soaked overnight and, in the case of canned beans, the only times required is maybe an hour to let the flavors meld.

Garnish with cilantro & serve with rice.  Maybe squeeze a bit of lemon, lime or orange juice onto the beans.

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DDD #74 – Ayurveda Kitchari – Vegan Mung Bean Stew to Detox & Cleanse (Instant Pot, Slow Cooker or Stove Top)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Click the image above to watch the video.

My friend, Katie, turned me on to kitchari.  Apparently, you can eat it – JUST IT – for 1-7 days straight & it calms your digestive tract & detoxes you system but with the added benefit of feeling like decadent comfort food.  Also – mung beans are dirt cheap. (Articles on the subject are linked at the bottom of this post).  This recipe makes about 7 quarts which is a fuckton so – unless you are feeding a lot of people or want to freeze some – consider reducing the recipe.

I used an Instant Pot to make mine but this can be done in a slow cooker or stove top.  I really recommend Instant Pots, though, because they steam, pressure cook, slow cook, cook rice, cook cakes, saute, cook eggs & clean windows.  I got my huge one HERE for just over $100 & I am VERY happy with it.  I can now get rid of several other appliances.

***NOTE – I soaked my beans on the counter overnight & in the fridge a second night but this is not necessary.  If you want to move more quickly – boil some water, add your beans & let them soak for an hour.

Ayurveda Kitchari – Vegan Mung Bean Stew

Caters a party so be ready for a lot

INGREDIENTS

3 cups mung beans (I used half whole green & half split green – as seen above) – soaked (see ***NOTE above)

1-2 TBS coconut oil or olive oil

1 onion – chopped

6 garlic cloves – chopped

1 TBS turmeric

1 TBS ground cumin

1 TBS (or more – to taste) salt (I used pink Himalayan)

1 TBS ground mustard

1 TBS ground coriander

1 TBS ground pepper

1 TBS ground fenugreek (optional)

1/4 tsp asafoetida

1 (15 oz) can coconut milk (I used lite)

6 TBS minced ginger

1 cup cilantro

Vegetables are optional.  Use any you prefer but I added:

5 small turnips – diced

5 small golden beets – diced

1 large sweet potato – diced

5 oz baby kale

1 tomato – diced

6 cups water

2 cups basmati (or other long grain white rice)

(If you are making your rice separate from the stew, as I did, it is nice to add a tsp cumin SEEDS & 6 green cardamom pods to it as it cooks but that is not necessary.)

GARNISH – coconut butter, cilantro, crushed red pepper

DIRECTIONS

Quick soak your beans (see note above) if you did not soak them overnight or for 2 days, as I did.)

Traditionally, the rice is cooked in the same pot with everything else.  My Instant Pot was not large enough so I cooked it separately.  This is your call – or maybe your pot size will determine your choice but it does not matter much either way.

Rinse the rice.  Set aside.

Heat the oil in a very large pot (or your Instant Pot – my pot is 8 Quarts) and soften.  Add the garlic & spices & stir to combine.

If you are using a slow cooker, transfer the onions & spices to it.  Everything else is the same no matter whether you are slow cooking, Instant Pot cooking or going stove top.  Only the cooking time will vary.

Now, add everything else to the pot.  If your pot is easily deep enough to hold the rice, too, add that.  If you are cooking the rice in the same pot – add 4 additional cups of water to the 6 cups used if you are cooking the rice separately (assuming your rice directions ask for 2 cups water per 1 cup rice.  Adjust accordingly if your rice has different directions).  Or – just cook the rice separately as the package directs.  If you are making your rice separate from the stew, as I did, it is nice to add 1 tsp cumin SEEDS & 6 green cardamom pods to it as it cooks but that is not necessary.

Slow cooker – cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

Stove top – bring to a boil uncovered for 5 minutes.  Reduced heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or more or until everything is tender.

Instant Pot – seal & cook manually for 10 minutes.

If it is to thick, thin it with extra water.  If it is too thin, let is simmer, uncovered, for a while longer.

Serve with rice (if you cooked it separately) and garnish with coconut butter (burns fat & lowers cholesterol) and lots of cilantro & maybe some crushed red pepper.

Here are some articles for more info on kitchari & using it to detox:

What is kitchari? – https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/blog-the-banyan-insight/details/what-is-kitchari-why-we-eat-it-for-cleansing

3-Day Cleanse – https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/ayurvedic-living/living-ayurveda/cleansing/a-very-simple-three-day-cleanse/

How to do a kitchari cleanse – http://www.krissyruddy.com/how-to-do-a-kitchari-cleanse/