Friday, June 1, 2012

A Bowl of Kitchery at the Golden Temple

One of my favorite places in Birmingham is the Golden Temple Natural Grocery and Cafe on the Southside. It is a vegetarian restaurant / health food store where you can find all kinds of interesting foods, natural herbs, books and gifts. A great place to go for lunch, it has been one of my favorites for years. If you have time, you can browse the store after you eat, find exotic gifts from India or Thailand, pick up the latest edition of Tricycle magazine or Mother Jones (or any number of publications), buy some organic groceries, vitamins, or Birkenstock sandals. It is where I always go to get seitan, pumpkin seeds, bulk Basmati rice, and natural herbs.

Golden Temple is always an invigorating spot for lunch. Today was a busy day helping our rector and his family  move to a new rectory. I have a pick up truck and they needed a hand. Fortunately, there were several parishioners and three pick up trucks on hand.  Around 12:30 I was needing sustenance and was driving through Southside on Eleventh Avenue where Golden Temple is located. An empty parking spot confirmed that this was the place for lunch. The lunch special today was "Kitchery - a mung bean Indian stew." I got a bowl to go so I could eat it before lifting the next load of furniture and boxes. The kitchery was excellent -- delicious and nourishing!

It was so good and replenished my depleted energy so well, I wanted to get the recipe. I went on line and found this recipe. I haven't tried to make it yet, but I definitely will. There were several recipes available online, but this one seemed to resemble the version I had at Golden Temple. I found in my online search that "kitchery" (sometimes spelled "kitchari") means "mixture," that it is often a combination of rice and lentils and is used in Aruvedic medicine to calm the digestive system and promote healing in the body. In the recipe below, you will notice that it calls for an assortment of vegetables. The vegetables I identified in the kitchery I had included thinly sliced carrots, celery, and a green leafy vegetable - perhaps kale or bok choy.

Mung Bean Kitchari: an Ayuvedic Recipe
Cook Time: 45-60 min

Kitchari (pronounced kitch-a-ree) is an Ayuvedic recipe, prized as a being nourishing and cleansing for the body. It means “food of the gods” in Sanskrit is a staple comfort food in India. Jam-packed with nutrients, fiber, and vegetable protein, kitchari is great for when you are recovering from an illness, zapped of energy, or having digestive problems. It’s very hearty and simple to make. Kitchari would be perfect for making a big batch over the weekend and eating it for lunch throughout the week.

Ingredients (9 servings)

1 cup of mung beans, dry
10 cups water
6-7 cups assorted vegetables (celery, carrots, zucchini, green beans, or broccoli)
2 tablespoons ghee or cooking oil (olive, coconut)
2 onions, chopped
2-inch piece of fresh ginger root, minced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 heaping teaspoon turmeric
1 heaping teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1 cup brown basmati rice
1-inch piece kombu
1 tablespoon Celtic sea salt or Himalayan pink sea salt


Prep Ahead: Wash the mung beans and soak them in water overnight.
In a large stockpot, saute the vegetables in the ghee on medium heat until onions are translucent.
Add the rest of the ingredients, except the salt, bring to a boil. Lower heat, and cook for another 45 to 60 minutes.

Stir in the salt at the very end. Some people say that adding the salt when the beans are still uncooked
makes them harder to digest. They recommend adding the salt after the beans have been cooked.



  1. Hello, my name is Joey and I am one of the managers of the Golden Temple. Thanks so much for your most positive review.... Which brings me to ask if I can copy that and put it on our facebook page. If not, I will understand. Again, thank you.
    Joey G.

    1. Joey, by all means feel free to copy this post to Facebook - and feel free to post that great kitchery recipe you use at Golden Temple if you guys do that sort of thing.

  2. Thanks Charles.... I will ask Harinam next week about the recipe.

  3. I love the Golden Temple too. They are one of the few places I've found that sells patchouli oil. It's the only "cologne" I wear.
    I also love their food. One of the neatest things is the people you meet in there.
    It's a mecca for good vibes.
    Neat update Charles.


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