Kitchari is a traditional Ayurvedic dish which is highly nourishing, detoxing and balancing. It is a mixture of mung beans and basmati rice with spices and vegetables. Mung beans are easy to digest and known for their ability to remove toxins, specifically pesticides and insecticides, from the body. They are also a great source of protein. Basmati rice is used as it is not too heavy, warming or drying for any of the Ayurvedic constitutions. Spices are added to warm the gut, digest toxins and utilize their adaptogenic properties. Tumeric turns it yellow and enables G.I. tract reparation and optimization. The entire combination nourishes the six tastes and the five senses at the same time. It cleanses the body and soul in a gentle manner while providing ample nutrients while pushing toxins out of your body.
This kitchari recipe is an adapation from Dr. Vasant Lad’s version:
|3/4 cup||Basmati Rice|
|3/4 cup||Mung Dal (split yellow)|
|6 cups (approx.)||Water|
|1/2 to 1 inch||Ginger Root, chopped or grated|
|a bit of||Mineral Salt (1/4 tsp. or so)|
|1/2 tsp.||Coriander Powder|
|1/2 tsp.||Cumin Powder|
|1/2 tsp.||Whole Cumin Seeds|
|1/2 tsp.||Mustard Seeds|
|1/2 tsp.||Turmeric Powder|
|1 pinch||Asafoetida (Hing) (optional)|
|Handful||Fresh Cilantro Leaves|
|1 and 1/2 cups||Assorted Vegetables (optional)|
Carefully pick over rice and dal to remove any stones. Wash each separately in at least 2 changes of water. Add the 6 cups of water to the rice and dal and cook covered until it becomes soft, about 20 minutes.
While that is cooking, prepare any vegetables that suit your constitution. Cut them into smallish pieces. Add the vegetables to the cooked rice and dal mixture and cook 10 minutes longer.
In a separate saucepan, sauté the seeds in the ghee until they pop. Then add the other spices. Stir together to release the flavors. Stir the sautéed spices into the cooked dal, rice, and vegetable mixture. Add the mineral salt and chopped fresh cilantro and serve.
Caution: Kitchari mono-diet can lead to constipation if taken exclusively for several days, as it is low in fiber. To ensure proper elimination, the following may prove helpful if taken once a day, away from kitchari meals: psyllium husks or seeds with water OR oat bran OR prune juice.
- Vegetables such as zucchini,
asparagus, sweet potato
- For Vata or Kapha conditions:
add a pinch of ginger powder
- For Pitta: leave out the mustard seeds
Teas for each Constitution
Vata Tea — equal parts ground ginger, cumin and coriander
Pitta Tea — equal parts ground cumin, coriander and fennel
Kapha Tea — equal parts ground ginger, cinnamon, and a pinch of clove