Kitchari is Ayurveda’s signature dish and the equivalent of the chicken soup of American culture & congee to Chinese medicine.It soothes the soul & heals the body. Pronounced KICH-A-REE. Don’t let the exotic name deter you from trying it! Though it may be hard to say it is easy to make & is a dish the whole family can enjoy together. You can enjoy it anytime you like, but it’s especially a good choice when you are feeling under the weather, having digestive discomfort or wanting to reset or cleanse the body. Kitchari is incredibly nourishing & easy to digest, making it a great reset for both the body & the mind.
Kitchari is a simple meal that is easy to make & versatile in its ingredients. The foundation of kitchari is mung dahl (a type of lentil), white basmati rice, ghee & a variety of spices. Together this creates a complete protein that makes you feel satiated yet light. With the addition of high quality spices it works to further help your digestive system by increasing your digestive fire, which is the foundation of your health from an Ayurvedic perspective. Traditionally kitchari is made with white basmati rice, not brown, as white rice is much easier to digest. You can use brown rice instead of white, although brown rice is harder to digest. You can use any high quality cooking oil to make it vegan. You can also adjust the spices based on preference & your doshic imbalances.
When using kitchari as a cleanse it is following the principles of a mono diet. You just eat kitchari for a determined amount of day to limit the amount of different foods your body has to digest. It’s great to do as a seasonal cleanse or it can be used as an elimination diet to help identify food sensitivities & allergies. Kitchari is free of all of the major allergens so a kitchari cleanse makes for a great elimination diet. You can purchase my Kitchari Cleanse Guide or if you are interested in being guided through a kitchari cleanse reach out & I would be happy to lead you through your own customized cleanse.
1 cup split yellow mung dal or moong dal
1 cup white basmati rice
3 tbl ghee or high quality cooking oil like coconut oil
2 in piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 piece of cinnamon bark
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp coriander ground powder
2 tsp turmeric powder or 2 in piece of fresh turmeric grated
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaves
2 tsp salt
6-8 cups water, depending on how soupy you want it
1 cup coconut milk
6 cups veggies Carrots, String Beans, Broccoli, Cabbage, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, winter squash like kabocha, pea & greens like Kale, Spinach, Swiss Chard
Sunflower, pumpkin or sesame seeds
Rinse the mung dal & rice by adding the rice & dal to a bowl or pot & cover with water. Use your hand to swirl around & carefully drain the water out. Do this a few times, until the water is clear. Soak the dal & rice for a few hours or overnight. Once you are ready to make the kitchari strain the rice & dal & rinse with clean water. You can choose to make this either on the stove top, in a rice cooker or in an Instant Pot. I will give directions for all 3 options below:
2. If using a rice cooker: Press the sauté button if your rice cooker has that option & heat the ghee/oil for a few minutes to get warm, then add in the spices. Let them toast until they become aromatic, around 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add in the garlic, onion & ginger & sauté until the onion becomes translucent. Stir in all of the other ingredients, close the lid & cook on the shite rice setting. If there is no option to sauté ou can add all of the ingredients together at the same time, close the lid & cook just as you would plain white rice. You have the option to taste the spices in the oil on the stovetop & then sauté the garlic, onions & ginger & then transfer them to the rice cooker with the other ingredients.
3. If making on the stove top:, Heat a large saucepan on medium-high heat & add the ghee or coconut oil. Once the ghee/oil is hot add in the spices & stir for a few minutes until fragrant & you hear the mustard seeds popping. Then stir in the onions, garlic & ginger to sautee. Next add in the mung dal & rice, mix well. Pour in the water, coconut milk & veggies, bring to a boil. Once boiling cover with a lid & bring the temperature down to a medium/low to simmer until the dal & rice are soft, about 20 minutes. If the rice wasn’t soaked cook about 5 minutes longer.
4. If using an Instant Pot: Press the sauté button & warm the ghee/oil for a few minutes. Once warm add in the spices, stirring occasionally. Once they become aromatic add in the onion, garlic & ginger & sauté until the onion starts to become translucent. Then add the rice & mung dal. Secure the lid, close the pressure valve & cook for 5 minutes at high pressure.
5. Transfer your kitchari to a bowl, top it with your toppings like seeds, fresh cilantro, lime or coconut flakes.