What Makes Kitchari Spice Mix So Delicious?
The inspiration behind Banyan Botanicals' Kitchari Spice Mix comes straight from the kitchens of families who have been making wholesome kitchari for generations, as well as from our well-respected Ayurvedic teachers. When using this traditional spice mix recipe, you can be assured that you are taking in something that is time-tested and authentic.
Kitchari is the Ayurveda staple food. It has the features of being nourishing and building, yet cleansing at the same time! As such, it is both health promoting and something that can be eaten on a regular basis. For thorough instructions on how to make kitchari, take a look at our How to Make Kitchari article.
As it is, the yellow mung dal and rice are non-aggravating to any dosha and are very easy to digest. The dal also has a slight mucilage which helps hydrate and nourish the entire digestive system and body. Couple this with the Kitchari Spice Mix, and you get a meal that has an amazing ability to support the digestion and digestive fire.
Most Indian kitchens have a box that contains five to six essential spices that are used in almost every meal. We have combined these spices together so that you can simply use a spoonful of the mix when cooking kitchari, making your life a whole lot easier. This blend is 97% organic and you can rest assured that you are using high quality ingredients.
Kitchari Spice Mix includes the following spices:
- Turmeric powder. Most Ayurvedic cooking includes turmeric. The benefits of turmeric are quite vast, ranging from bolstering the immune system, purifying the blood, and promoting clear and healthy skin. It also is slightly heating, supporting the digestion (and associated organs like the pancreas) and the elimination of natural toxins from the gastrointestinal tract.
- Mustard seeds. Mustard seeds have a heating quality that will kindle your digestive fire (agni) and help with occasional bloating and digestive discomfort. It is fantastic for kapha and vata individuals. When used in moderation, as in this spice mix, it is also quite beneficial for pitta individuals.
- Cumin seeds. This herb promotes digestion without being heating. Not only does it support digestion, but it has a taste that will stimulate a healthy appetite. In fact, many people chew on the whole seeds after meals for the taste and to also calm excess vata in the digestive tract.
- Ginger powder. Ginger is known as the “universal medicine” for its broad range of benefits. It is warming, promotes digestion, supports healthy circulation, and removes excess kapha from the lungs. It will also burn natural toxins (ama), which occur when food is not being digested properly.
- Asafoetida. Asafoetida is the primary herb for soothing vata within the digestive tract. It is the key ingredient in hingvastak (which is our Vata Digest if you are looking for it in tablet form). As such, it helps with occasional bloating, gas, and stagnation in the gastrointestinal tract. This herb will also remove natural toxins from the digestive tract and soothe excess vata throughout the body.
- Fenugreek. Fenugreek, with its bitter, pungent, and sweet tastes, is also a huge aid in digestion. It supports absorption of nutrients and is warming, making it especially balancing for vata and kapha.
- Mineral salt. Salt is well known for its ability to stimulate the appetite and enhance the sense of taste. Aadditionally, it kindles the digestive fire, helps digest natural toxins, and can help soothe excess vata. Natural mineral salt is an excellent choice because it is easy to digest and does not cause water retention as readily as other types of salt.
4 Ways to Use Kitchari Spice Mix
Of course, Kitchari Spice Mix is your go-to for kitchari, but what about thinking beyond the kitchari bowl? Kitchari Spice Mix is extremely versatile! Here are four of our favorite ways to get creative with this spice mix. There are sure to be many more!
Immune-Boosting Lentil Soup
Red lentils with Kitchari Spice Mix is a very easy alternative to kitchari while getting the benefit of this spice blend. Thanks to the turmeric and ginger in this blend, this recipe can add a healthy boost to the immune system. For a serving of 2–3, you will want:
- ½ cup red lentils
- 2–2½ cups water
- 1½ tablespoons Kitchari Spice Mix
- 1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
Wash and drain lentils. In a saucepan, melt the ghee or oil over low-medium heat. Stir in the Kitchari Spice Mix and heat until the seeds begin to pop. Add the drained dal and stir, coating the lentils in the spices. Add the water and cover. Simmer for 20–30 minutes or until the dal is soft to taste, stirring occasionally.
Serve with rice and seasonal veggies or eat alone for a simple but nutritious meal.
Kapha- and Vata-Friendly Popcorn
Popcorn can be a good snack choice for kapha because of its dry and light qualities. With a little extra ghee, a pinch of salt, and the warming herbs of Kitchari Spice Mix, popcorn also becomes a satisfying choice for vata. And, beyond bringing balance, it tastes great!
Melt the ghee in a pot over medium-high heat (make sure the pot is large enough for the popcorn to expand!). Add the Kitchari Spice Mix and popcorn kernels, cover, and shake gently to coat. Don’t walk away, this will happen quickly! Keeping the lid on, gently shake the pot every 15 seconds to prevent the kernels from burning.
Once there is a 2-second pause between each pop, turn off the heat and remove the lid. Add salt or additional ghee to taste.
- 1 bunch of kale, purple or green depending on preference
- ¾ tablespoon olive oil
- ¾–1 cup nutritional yeast
- 1–1½ tablespoon Kitchari Spice Mix
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Wash and completely dry kale by patting it dry with a towel. Remove stems and tear into chip-sized pieces.
Place kale in a bowl and drizzle with oil. Stir and "scrunch" the kale while you sprinkle it with Kitchari Spice Mix and nutritional yeast (be generous with the nutritional yeast).
Place kale on a baking sheet. Cook for 10–12 minutes. Keep your eye on it and check at least once, especially the first time you cook these to test how hot your oven is. These chips burn quickly! Stir midway through if kale edges start to brown. You will know it is ready when the kale is crispy but not brown.
Remove from oven and put kale chips into serving dish immediately so the kale doesn't continue to cook on the sheet.
Kale chips make a wonderful addition to other dishes and are delightful to eat on their own.
Veggies, Veggies, and More Veggies
There is no end to what can be done with Kitchari Spice Mix and veggies. Try it anywhere you might be inclined to just use salt and pepper. Coat a vegetable medley before roasting, or add it to a stir-fry. Or, add the spice mix to your ghee and cooking oil before sautéing. Try it in a veggie-packed egg scramble and enjoy the beautiful golden hue.
However you choose to add Kitchari Spice Mix to your life, we hope you enjoy this tasty and traditional blend. May it add health and ease and inspiration for new creative kitchen endeavors.