Kitchari (pronounced kich-uh-ree) is the traditional cleansing food of Ayurveda. One of the most quintessential Ayurvedic meals, it is a combination of split mung beans and white basmati rice cooked with a variety of flavorful spices.
One of the wonderful things about this tasty Ayurvedic dal recipe is that kitchari is balancing for all constitution types—vata, pitta, and kapha. And the process of soaking, cooking, and spicing this meal of kitchari rice and dal makes it incredibly easy to digest.
In fact, it is so gentle on the digestive tract that it is often fed to babies, the elderly, and those who are recovering from illness. Depending on your dosha and on what your body needs, the blend of kitchari spices can be adjusted endlessly to create a personalized dal kitchari recipe that’s perfect for you.
Kitchari is also an excellent source of protein. Eaten on their own, both rice and dal are each missing one or more of the essential amino acids that our bodies are not able to make on their own. However, together they make magic happen! The combination of rice and mung dal provides all the amino acids needed to form a complete protein.
Because it is so versatile, nourishing, and easy to digest, a fresh-cooked bowl of kitchari soup is considered the basic, foundational meal of an Ayurvedic kitchari cleanse. Eating a simple monodiet of primarily kitchari for several days gives the digestive system a chance to rest and reset, making this rice and lentil cleanse an effective way to nourish and detoxify the body.
While many other fasting cleanses can have a fairly intense effect on the body and leave our energy levels low, a kitchari cleanse is detoxifying yet substantial enough to fuel you as you accomplish your day-to-day responsibilities.
And whether or not you’re officially cleansing, the nutritional value and gentle balancing qualities of kitchari have numerous benefits for the body. It naturally removes toxins from the system, nourishes healthy tissues, and supports balanced digestion.
Ayurveda considers digestion to be the golden key to health—essential to maintaining a healthy immune system and preventing imbalance. With its easy digestibility and adaptable blend of spices, incorporating kitchari into your diet on a regular basis is an excellent way to support optimal digestive health.
Feeling hungry and wondering how to make kitchari for yourself? Here are some of our favorite recipes. Keep in mind this Ayurvedic meal lends itself to endless variations to meet your needs wherever you are—you will find vata-friendly kitchari, pitta-friendly kitchari, kapha-friendly kitchari, vegan-friendly kitchari, cleansing kitchari, breakfast kitchari, and even a quick and easy instant pot kitchari!
And unless you’re feeling adventurous, you don’t need to worry about finding a kitchari spice mix recipe. Banyan’s Kitchari Spice Mix offers a delicious, pre-mixed blend that is easy to use and great for all doshas. It can even be used beyond kitchari to bring flavor and spice to your veggies, stir fries, soups, and stews.