Traditional Ayurvedic Kitchari
Updated: Apr 2
Kitchari is the ultimate Ayurvedic healing and cleansing meal. It is one of the most basic staples in Ayurveda. Its simplicity has a balancing effect on the body and it’s often prescribed when recovering from illness as it is very gentle on the digestive system.
Kitchari is a mixture of Basmati rice and moong dal (split mung beans) simmered in spices such as turmeric, coriander, cumin seeds, ginger, and black pepper.
Recipe (4 servings)
Moong dal (split mung beans), 200 g
Basmati rice,150 g
Water, 2 l
Ghee (coconut oil or avocado oil for vegan-friendly), 2 tablespoons
Mustard seeds, 2 teaspoon
Fresh ginger, 1 full teaspoon minced (or a pinch of ground ginger powder)
Ground cumin, 2 full teaspoons
Ground coriander, 2 full teaspoons
Ground turmeric, 1 full teaspoon
Black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste (preferably Himalayan salt)
Let the mung beans soak overnight.
Let the Basmati rice soak for a couple of hours.
Rinse them thoroughly with cold water until it runs clear.
Warm the oil or ghee on medium-low heat in a medium pot. Add the cumin seeds and let them cook for about a minute until the seeds start to brown - be careful not to burn them. Then, add the ginger and ground coriander and ground turmeric.
I always start cooking the beans first, for about 1/2 hour. Then I add in the rice.
Season with black pepper. Stir and add 2 litres of water.
Increase the heat to medium-high to bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Turn the heat down immediately to a gentle simmer. Let the Kitchari simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. It should be soft and creamy, kinda porridge-like.
Taste the Kitchari to make sure the mixture is soft. If not, you may need to let it cook a little longer. Turn off the heat and adjust the seasoning if needed, and stir again.
Note that you always add the salt at the very end.
You can garnish with coriander and enjoy it with other vegetables.
You can also let it cool down completely and refrigerate in a sealed container for 2 days.
Ayurveda doesn't recommend to re-heat food as it looses its energy, but you can't make Kitchari everyday, can you? I actually often eat it cold at work, and that's perfectly fine as well.
INGREDIENTS & SUBSTITUTIONS
Basmati rice: Kitchari is traditionally made with Basmati rice. You could substitute with jasmine or brown rice. That being said, Basmati rice will give you the best results. Basmati is gluten-free and low in fat. It contains all eight essential amino acids, folic acid, and is very low in sodium and has no cholesterol. It has a low to medium glycemic index, meaning that energy is released at a slower, steadier rate leading to a more balanced level of energy.
Split mung beans: also known as moong dal, it can be a little difficult to find them. I must admit that I order them on Amazon (and they do have organic ones). You can also use lentils.
Ghee: Kitchari is traditionally cooked with ghee, but you can substitute it with coconut oil or olive oil to make it vegan-friendly.