Kitchari is a traditional Indian dish, and a staple in Ayurvedic cleanses. This nutritious meal is delicious, versatile, easy to digest, and made in one pot for easy clean-up.

You can use this recipe as a short-term mono-diet cleanse for 3-5 days when your GI tract needs a bit of a rest, to prep for a juice cleanse or fast, or just a general reset. As we enter spring but still feel the lingering chill of autumn, it is the perfect time to do a kitchari cleanse.

Not into cleansing? You can have kitchari any time you want a healthy meal.

Throughout the recipe, you will see the terms Pitta, Vata, and Kapha. These are the Ayurvedic Doshas used to guide you to foods, tonics, remedies, and practices to help you heal. You can take the Dosha Quiz to find out what Dosha imbalances you might have, which can aid you in choosing ingredients that may benefit you the most. 

Otherwise, choose what sounds delicious to you!

The spices in this recipe have incredible healing benefits. To learn more about cumin, coriander, and fennel, check out my recipe for CCF tea, another Ayurvedic staple.

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 large onion diced
  • 2 Tbsp olive, sesame, or coconut oil depending on your Dosha or preference

Spices

  • 1/2 tsp. brown mustard seeds (omit for Pita)
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black or long pepper
  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds

Or you can get a Kitchari Spice Mix.

Kitchari Spice Mix

  • 1 tsp Celtic Sea Salt
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing) – optional
  • 6 cups filtered water or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup moong dal, mung beans, mung dal, or red lentils (soak as needed) – see below for the best option for each Dosha
  • 3/4 cup rice or quinoa (soak as needed)
  • 1 1/2 cups assorted vegetables – see below for the best veggies for each Dosha
  • A handful of fresh cilantro leaves
  • Lemon or Lime wedges

Pitta Pacifying Foods

Mung Beans
Rice (basmati, white, wild)
Celery
Cabbage
Cilantro
Kale
Coconut
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots (cooked)
Cauliflower
Collards
Lime
Green Beans
Mushrooms
Lime

Vata Pacifying Foods

Red lentils
Rice (all types)
Mung Beans
Mung Dal
Asparagus
Carrots (cooked)
Cilantro
Green Beans
Leeks
Mustard Greens
Okra
Onion, Cooked
Parsnip
Pumpkin
Spinach, Cooked
Squash, Summer
Squash, Winter
Sweet Potatoes
Zucchini
Lemon
Lime

Kapha Pacifying Foods

Rice (basmati, white, wild)
Mung Beans
Mung Dal
Asparagus
Bitter Melon
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Cilantro
Collard Greens
Green Beans
Jerusalem Artichokes
Kale
Kohlrabi
Leafy Greens
Leeks
Mustard Greens
Okra
Onions
Spaghetti Squash
Spinach
Squash, Winter
Lemon
Lime

Directions

1. Chop the onion, and grate fresh ginger.

2. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add in the oil. Once hot but not smoking, add in the onion, cumin, brown mustard seed, and black pepper. Stir over medium heat for 2 minutes.

3. Add in the fresh ginger, salt, and the rest of the spices or Kitchari Spice Mix. Sauté for an additional 30 seconds stirring constantly.

4. Add in the water or broth and bring it to a boil over high heat.

5. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low-medium and add in the mung dal. Cover the pan, leaving a slight opening to prevent overflow. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring halfway.

6. As the beans are cooking, begin to slice up the vegetables.

7. Add the rice and vegetables to the pot. Stir well and cover the pan, keeping it slightly cracked. Continue to cook for 15 minutes, stirring every 3 to 4 minutes. If the kitchari becomes too thick, carefully add more water by the quarter cup.

8. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan entirely and cook for three more minutes. Stir every minute to avoid the kitchari sticking to the bottom of the pan.

9. Turn off the heat and take the pan off of the hot burner. Add in the cilantro and fresh lime juice. Stir well to blend all of the ingredients evenly. Cover the pan and let it sit for a few minutes to allow the flavors to harmonize.

10. Serve into bowls. For added cleansing effects, garnish generously with extra cilantro and lemon or lime juice. Don’t skip this part; it really adds something to the flavor!

This nourishing dish will keep for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator. Reheat over low heat and add 1/4 cup of water, fresh lime juice, cilantro, and a dash of pepper with each serving.  

Don’t forget to chew each bite at least 30 times!

Have you made a kitchari before? What are your favorite ingredients?

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