Amaranth and Whole Mung Gruel

The first week post-cleanse, and ideally for the first month, foods are best kept simple and nourishing.  Low key spice, low key salt, high key nutrition.  Food as crunchy as it comes.  Therefore, taking a break from the kitchari but still preferring soupy-stewy-type dishes, this gruel is a gut-soothing and easy to digest alternative.

If you’re not used to amaranth, the texture can be a little ”slimy” – it’s usually a love or hate affair.  It has the benefits of being a protein powerhouse and a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron and selenium.  Personally, I find it very comforting, particularly if the weather is cold and damp.

Yield: 6 generous cups

What you need:

  • 2/3 cup whole mung beans
  • 1 cup amaranth
  • 1 tablespoon coconut or sunflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 3 pods green cardamom
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a 1” piece of cinnamon stick (true cinnamon, not cassia)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)
  • a 2” piece of kombu seaweed (optional)
  • 5 or 6 cups hot water
  • freshly steamed broccoli (or other vegetables as desired), to serve

What you do:

  1. Soak the whole mung overnight in plenty of fresh water to cover.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker or Dutch oven over medium flame.  When hot, add the cumin, mustard seeds, cardamom, bay and cinnamon.  Stir and fry until the seeds pop, a matter of seconds, and then add the turmeric and salt and stir once or twice.  Add the amaranth and mung beans and stir to coat in the spices and lightly toast, 2-4 minutes. Add the hot water and kombu if using.
  3. For those cooking in a pressure cooker (or Instant Pot), fit the lid, bring to pressure and cook 20 minutes with a natural pressure release.  For those working on stove-top, bring to a boil, cover and then reduce heat and simmer for an hour or more, until the beans are melting.  Stir occasionally to prevent the amaranth from sticking to the bottom.
  4. Remove the cover, stir from the bottom to homogenize the porridge throughout.  Ladle into bowls and serve with a generous helping of fresh steamed broccoli (or other vegetables as desired) mixed in or on top.

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