Updated: Sep 10
This nourishing 1-pot meal is a staple in ayurveda and in yoga. It is made from rice and mung beans and is spiced with digestive herbs. It has been utilized for centuries as a healing food. This digestive powerhouse is a wonderful choice for yoga practitioners looking for deep nourishment.
Kitchari is a traditional ayurvedic dish that supports the body's digestion while bringing balance and nourishment to the body mind and spirit. It's simple, easy and accessible to prepare. It is natural Gluten free and can be made Vegan as well.
"Kitchari is not just food, it's medicine that can detoxify, nourish, and heal your body." - Dr. Vasant Lad, Ayurvedic physician and author.
As a person who has struggled with digestive concerns, I decided to look into my own culture of ayurveda for answers. What turned up was a staple of my childhood: kitchari. This one-pot meal is slowly cooked with digestive-aiding spices, easily integrated rice and split lentils and can include all the nourishing veggies I want and need. I love the way my body feels after I eat kitchari - whole, warm, supported, and at ease. No more bloating or acid or reflux. My belly feels at ease, simple and happy with this meal.
This is so deeply in alignment with yoga also brings to our lives: ease and flow.
There are many ways that kitchari is prepared throughout the Indian Sub-continent. Recipes are often culture-specific. Given that this is a medicine of sorts, ingredients are also individual specific. Bellow is my simple Ayurvedic easy kitchari that I make in my home for my family. I learned this recipe from my mom who in turn learned it from her mother.
1/2 cup basmati rice
1/2 cup split mung beans
1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter). To make vegan use avocado, coconut or other oil
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon Jira (cumin seeds)
1 pinch hing (asafetida) Just a pinch!
1 teaspoon haldi (turmeric) powder
1 cup chopped spinach, zucchini carrot or any other veggies (choose easy to digest veggies)
1 teaspoon salt (himalayan or other)
1 pinch of black pepper
6 cups water
Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
Prep: combine and rinse the rice and mung beans until the water runs clear. Soak them in water for about 30 minutes or more.
In a large pot, heat the ghee over medium heat.
Temper the spices in the hot oil: cumin, turmeric and asafetida
Add the grated ginger and sauté for a few minutes until fragrant.
Rinse and drain the rice and mung beans and add them to the pot with the spices. Stir to coat the grains with the spices.
Add your optional veggies to the pot
Pour in the water and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let simmer for about 30-40 minutes, or until the grains are fully cooked and soft. If using an instant pot you can set to slow cook for 5 hours on low or pressure cook for 10 minutes. Your final product should have a creamy or soupy consistency.
Once the kitchari is fully cooked, turn off the heat and let it sit for a few minutes to cool. Then, garnish with fresh cilantro leaves, a dollop of ghee and best served fresh.
Note: You can adjust the consistency of the kitchari by adding more or less water, depending on your preference. I like a soupy kitchari so I often add more water. Personalize with additional vegetables or spices to the kitchari to suit your taste and sensibilities.
Leave a comment below and share your own experience in preparing kitchari! Happy and healthy eating to you!