Recipe: Christmas Kitchari

Winter’s revolting. Don’t argue with me about this, we all know it’s true. I need to have words with my ancestors: a) why did you leave the tropics, you selfish insane bastards and b) why did you have to be complicit in arsing up some perfectly nice countries that I could otherwise have resided in, away from torrential rain and miserable cold and the sky getting dark at THREE IN THE AFTERNOON?

Dreadful bollocks. Best avoided. Draw up a cup of Luke Cage because I’m about to explain what else you can do with that gingerbread spice pre-mix to make your life better. Also to make it taste of Christmas; excitingly, this meal is also potentially a One Pot Wonder, and it’s 100% vegan and gluten-free. Ideal for fussy people who would also like to feel warm and fed.

Serves one hungry person and stops them being hungry:

You will need


  • 100g canned lentils
  • 100g canned chickpeas
  • 100g canned/cartoned black beans (you can also use red kidney beans)
  • 80g short-grain rice, ie. sushi rice, soaked for as long as you’re told to soak it for.
  • 1 tsp gingerbread spice pre-mix* divided into two half teaspoons.
  • vegetable stock cube
  • 1 tbsp oil, I used toasted sesame because that’s what I had
  • 1/4 of a white onion, chopped
  • Handful of pumpkin seeds
  • Half a handful of sesame seeds
  • Optional: slice of lemon
  • Optional: bay leaf


  • a couple of moderately-sized leaves of rainbow chard or other winter green, sliced up wee
  • spring onion/scallion, chopped
  • 1 baby courgette, chopped (or equivalent amount)
  • 1 small handful/half handful of mixed dried fruit like wot you get in cake mixes at this time of year. Or dates or apricots or whatever, I am not the boss of your food choices.

NB: the topping is pretty much mix and match with just… dark greens that wilt.

  • Yuzu sauce/lemon juice/something liquid and citrus.

You will also need:

  • 1 hopefully non-stick saucepan with a non-ventilated lid
  • A spatula
  • A thing for making the saucepan hot like a hob or a hotplate or a bunsen burner or a pet dragon
  • Optional: I also used a rice cooker
  • Optional: and a goddamn chef’s pan because I have no regard for washing up right now. None.

What the hell am I doing?

  1. Cook up that rice with 1/2 tsp of gingerbread spice pre-mix and the vegetable stock cube in the water. You want to get the rice to absorb all the water and thus all the spices etc; I did this with a rice cooker because “rolling boil” is something I haven’t mastered but “scraping burnt rice off the bottom of a pan” is practically my middle name, or it would be if it wasn’t Edward.
  2. Put that rice to one side.
  3. Fry up the onion in the oil at the bottom of your saucepan, with the other 1/2 tsp of gingerbread spice pre-mix.
  4. Wang in the beans, lentils, chickpeas, and seeds, with yer lemon slice and bay leaf if you’re using them, give it a vigorous stir (or an anaemic one, whatever your stir style), and drop the lid.
  5. Let that bubble away to itself.
  6. I used another pan to give the spring onions, courgette slices, and chard a quick pre-fry (is that called sautéing? Mother? I have absolutely no idea what any of the cooking words are). You don’t, strictly speaking, need to do this.
  7. Take the rice and spread it out over the top of the beans and so on. Tamp it down a bit. If you’re using an 800ml pan (I was) this will give you a nice thick layer covering the whole thing.
  8. Now put the green vegetables in on top, drop in your dried fruit, put the lid back down, turn the temperature down a bit and make a cup of tea.
  9. Just as you’re about ready to start drinking your cup of tea the thing should be ready – check the leaves are looking appropriately wilty.
  10. Chuck it in a bowl, take out your lemon slice and bay leaf, season with yuzu sauce/lemon juice.

* If you’re too lazy/using your phone, here’s the gingerbread spice pre-mix again:

To make one small spice jar’s worth

  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom (for some reason this is often hard to find, but you can buy it on Amazon, and if you’re in Europe ubiquitous cheapo chain store Tiger often sell it)
  • 1 tsp ground cloves (again often tricky but keep trying, it’s worth it)
  • Optional: a pinch of black pepper, a pinch of wattleseed