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Saffron Asparagus Kitchari

1/8 teaspoon saffron
2 tablespoons ghee
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
3 to 4 curry leaves
1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
1/2 cup split mung dal
3/4 cup basmati rice
1 pound fresh asparagus (2-3 cups chopped)
1 teaspoon sea salt
6 cups water
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Dry-roast the saffron in the bottom of a heavy pan. Add the ghee, cumin and fenugreek seeds and warm over low heat until cumin seeds are brown. Add the curry leaves, onion and asafoetida and stir. Slow sauté until onion is tender, a minute or two. Wash the dal and rice until the rinse water is clear, drain and add to the spice mixture. Add the water and salt and cook until tender, about an hour. While the kitchari is cooking, wash and chop the asparagus into 1 inch slices. Fifteen minutes before serving, steam the asparagus and stir it and the ground cumin into the kitchari. If working with only vata, the asparagus can be sautéed in an additional tablespoon of ghee until tender, then added to the kitchari.

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