How to make Kitchari – a cleansing and healing Ayurvedic dish, balancing to all doshas (constitutions).
I love exploring all elements of Ayurvedic healing, particularly the recipes. There is great depth in this traditional wisdom – in fact, Ayurveda (Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge) philosophy dates back as far as 5,000 years or more.
What is kitchari, and why is it good for you? Kitchari is a traditional Ayurvedic dish that is a combination of split yellow mung beans and white basmati rice, with a plethora of delicious nourishing and anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric, mustard seed, coriander, cumin, and ginger root. The spices make the kitchari not only bursting with flavor, but also highly nutritious and detoxing.
As far as why it’s so incredibly nourishing and good for us - kitchari is very easy to digest and is tri-doshic, meaning that no matter what your Ayurvedic dosha is (kapha, pitta, or vata), this dish will bring balance.
The combination of rice and mung daal provides all the amino acids needed to form a complete protein. Eaten on their own, each of these foods is missing one or more of the essential amino acids that our bodies are not able to produce. But together they make magic happen! The protein content of kitchari supports stable blood sugar levels so that energy and mental clarity are balanced during the cleansing process.
In fact, it is often taken as a fast, where a person will consume only kitchari for a number of days, to aid in the clearance of toxins (ama) and strengthen their digestive fire (agni). Although, you do not have to be on a kitchari cleanse/mono diet to reap the benefits of incorporating detoxifying, anti-inflammatory kitchari in your daily life. I personally find it like one big warm hug in a bowl, it’s instantly warming, grounding and soothing.
Wash rice and mung dal and soak overnight for optimal digestion. Drain soak water.
In a medium saucepan warm the coconut oil. Add the mustard seeds and spices and sauté for one to two minutes. Add rice and mung dal mixture and sauté for another couple of minutes. Then add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil.
Once the kitchari has come to a boil reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until it is tender (approx. 30–45 minutes).
If you are adding vegetables to your kitchari, add the longer cooking vegetables, such as carrots and zucchini, halfway through the cooking. Add the vegetables that cook faster, such as leafy greens, near the end.
Add more water if needed. Typically, kitchari is the consistency of a vegetable stew as opposed to a broth. A thinner consistency is preferable if your digestion is weak. You will notice that kitchari will thicken when it cools and you may need more water.
Garnish with roasted sesame seeds and add salt to taste (optional). Makes 4-5 servings.
Although kitchari is traditionally made with basmati rice and mung dal, even these ingredients can vary. Kitchari can be nourishing or cleansing, warming or cooling, soupy or solid, all depending on the ingredients used and the method of preparation. Enjoy! Comment below with any questions or if you try it out!
About the Author
Ananda Devi is a yoga teacher, healer, musician and lover of life. She is passionate about sharing Yoga, Ayurveda and holistic living for the benefit of all beings. Learn more about her yoga journey and connect with her here. Many Blessings & Namasté.