How to Make Kitchari
When rice and dal are cooked together these two Ayurvedic staples combine to make a delicious, thick soup called kitchari. Easy to digest, kitchari is a nutritious whole food that will sustain you throughout your cleanse. It is also a delicious meal in its own right, and balancing for all three doshas in Ayurveda.
If you do not know your dosha or state of imbalance, we recommend taking our Ayurvedic Profile™ quiz.
- 1 cup basmati rice
- ½ cup yellow mung dal
- 3 teaspoons Kitchari Spice Mix*
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 6 cups water
- 1–2 cups chopped vegetables (optional)
The Kitchari Kit has all the basic ingredients you'll need to get started.
Wash rice and mung dal and soak overnight. Drain soak water.
In a medium saucepan warm the ghee. Add the Kitchari Spice Mix and sauté for one to two minutes. Add rice and mung dal and sauté for another couple of minutes. Then add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil.
Once the kitchari has come to a boil reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until it is tender (approx. 30–45 minutes).
If you are adding vegetables to your kitchari, add the longer cooking vegetables, such as carrots and beets, halfway through the cooking. Add the vegetables that cook faster, such as leafy greens, near the end.
Add more water if needed. Typically, kitchari is the consistency of a vegetable stew as opposed to a broth. A thinner consistency is preferable if your digestion is weak. You will notice that kitchari will thicken when it cools and you may need more water than you originally thought.
Garnish with fresh cilantro and add salt to taste (optional).
Makes 4 servings
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed
- 1 small pinch of asafoetida (hing) powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 4 thin slices of fresh ginger root
- Fresh cilantro (great for pitta—ok for vata and kapha)
- Coconut (great for pitta, good for vata, but not so good for kapha)
- Lime (ok for everybody)
Although kitchari is traditionally made with basmati rice and mung dal, even these ingredients can vary. Kitchari can be nourishing or cleansing, warming or cooling, soupy or solid, all depending on the ingredients used and the method of preparation.
An alternative to the classic kitchari, this recipe combines creamy urad dal with basmati rice and agni strengthening spices. Keep this vata balancing kitchari on hand during times of cleansing, or when you’re looking for a simple and delicious Ayurvedic meal.
Light and warming toor dal is used in place of mung in this kitchari variation. Best for balancing vata and kapha, this recipe is a classic nutritious meal all in one pot. This dish goes well with almost any vegetable, so add in your favorites and try to keep it fresh and in season!
Ayurveda’s Staple Food
In Ayurveda, things that we ingest are divided into three categories:
Poison is defined as anything that hinders digestion. Medicine is considered anything that we ingest that aids the digestive process. Neutral is anything we ingest that gives support and nourishment without either aiding or hindering the digestive process.
Kitchari is unique because it falls under both the neutral and medicinal categories. It not only provides nourishment for the body, but, due to its spice combination, also benefits digestion. This makes kitchari an ideal food of choice during times of stress on the body, such as during an illness, periods of overwork, or change of seasons.
It is also an especially good food to use while on a mono-diet as part of an internal cleansing regime. In order to provide the best quality of energy to your body, kitchari should be made the day that you wish to eat it and served hot.