By Angela Glaz
500 Hour E-RYT and Ayurvedic Counselor
What is Kitchari?
Kitchari is a traditional Ayurvedic dish that’s known for providing a ton of nutrients to the body while at the same time pushing out the toxins. In India, kitchari is a regular household meal, but it’s also often used to heal those who are sick because it is so easy to digest – soothing the belly and healing the gut wall so nutrients can be better absorbed.
A Kitchari cleanse is typically done for 3-7 days (eating only Kitchari), depending on the individual’s schedule and the amount of cleansing needed to be performed. Ideally, this is a planned out regimen that will allow the system to ease into the cleanse and eventually ease out of it. Begin to phase out refined sugar, processed food, caffeine, etc. at least 7 days before the cleanse and continue to keep out of diet 7 days after cleanse.
* Please note: If you are not careful, a cleanse can do more harm than good, further destroying the digestive system and depleting the energy levels. It's recommended to try it for 1-2 days to see how your body reacts to the cleanse before going for a full 7 days. A cleanse of any kind should be avoided during menstruation.
Prep Time: 20-30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
¾ cup Basmati Rice
1 cup Mung Beans (Tri-Doshic) - Soak over night in 2 inches of water before cooking
* Mung Beans are normally good for all three doshas, but if you notice the kitchari has made your digestion worse, try switching to another legume.
- Vata: Red Lentils
- Pitta: Chick Peas, Kidney Beans, Pinto Beans
- Kapha: Chick Peas, Navy Beans, Adzuki Beans
6 cups Water
½ to 1 inch Ginger Root (chopped or minced)
2 tsp. Ghee or Coconut oil (traditionally ghee is used)
¼ tsp. mineral salt
½ tsp. Coriander Powder
½ tsp. Cumin Powder
½ tsp. Turmeric Powder
½ tsp. Whole Cumin Seeds
½ tsp. Mustard Seeds
1 pinch Asafoetida (hing)
* Asafoetida that is not made with fillers is hard to come by in the U.S. I recommend the Banyan Botanicals Kitchari Mix – The mix includes the spices listed above in addition to the Asafoetida.
3-4 cups Chopped Vegetables (Choose according to body constitution’s needs)
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Rinse rice and mung dal – soak mung dal over night or up to 8 hours.
In a large pot (big enough to add all ingredients and 6 cups of water) warm the ghee/coconut oil on medium heat.
Add fennel, mustard and cumin seeds, sauté seeds until they start to pop. Once seeds start to pop, add the rest of the spices, ginger, rice, and mung beans.
Cover rice and mung beans completely in ghee/coconut oil and spices. Slowly add the six cups of water and your choice of vegetables (any leafy greens can be added toward the end) and bring water to a boil. Once the kitchari has reached a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until all ingredients are tender (45 minutes).
Add fresh cilantro and salt to taste.
- Mung Dal (Split Yellow Peas) – Mung Dal is high in protein and fiber. It’s filled with tons of nutrients and vitamins, including; iron, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B. Mung Dal is the only legume that is Vata balancing. This means that the legume will not cause gas. Wooohoo!
- Basmati Rice – Long grain rice is both easier to digest and has a lower glycemic index than other varieties of rice.
Did you know…
With popular diets like “Atkins” and “Paleo”, carbohydrates have gotten a bad name. However, when you eat beans with rice you are creating a complete protein and actually getting more from beans than you would without the rice.
- Asafoetida (Hing) – Asfafoetida comes from the root of the ferula species or the carrot family. It’s mighty stinky before you cook it, but delicious when cooked and packed with nutrients. Benefits include: eliminates flatulence (add a small sprinkle to any variety of beans to help reduce excess indigestion or gas created from the legume), holds anti-inflammatory properties, helps provide relief from menstrual cramps, lowers blood sugar, helps control high blood pressure, and is a powerful anti-oxidant.
- Increases the digestive capacity
- Removes toxins from the system
- Removes heaviness and congestion from the body
- Removes heaviness and congestion from the mind
- Enhances the “Satvic” (balanced) state of an individual
- Enhances energy and feelings of wellness (prior to the cleanse; during the cleanse one may experience low energy due to the flushing of toxins and mild diet)
- Increases one’s confidence and motivation levels