Kitchari is a delicious and nutritive whole food from India that is known for its properties to detox the body and balance the three doshas (constitutions): Vata, Pitta and Kapha. This ayurvedic dish is used by yogis who want to cleanse the body and soul in a gentle manner, kitchari supply enough nutrients while removes toxins stored in bodily tissues and restores systemic balance.
Ayurveda believes that all healing begins with the digestive tract, and kitchari can give it a much-needed rest from constantly processing different foods while providing essential nutrients. Its mixture of spices is believed to kindle the digestive fire, the Ayurvedic description for your innate digestive power, which can be weakened by poor food combinations.
Kitchari is made with mung beans, basmati rice or barley, seasonal vegetables, ghee, and spices. The blend of rice and mung beans or red lentils offers an array of amino acids.The mung beans are known for their ability to remove toxins, specifically pesticides and insecticides, from the body. Mung beans are also a source of protein and the barley provides ample carbohydrates and fiber.
Add whatever seasonal vegetables you have on hand to complete the dish. Consider zucchini, burdock root, carrots, kale, spinachs and the list goes on. The key is to use what’s available locally because Ayurveda is linked to the natural transition of the seasons. Go light on the salt in this recipe, allowing the natural flavors of vegetable boullion.
You can safely subsist on kitchari anytime in order to detox, build vitality and strength as it helps balance all three doshas (3 to 7 days). For restless Vata, the warm soup is grounding; for fiery Pitta, its spices are calming; and for chilly Kapha, it provides healing warmth. It is recommend during the change of seasons, particularly Fall and Spring, to help cleanse the body. It’s very easy to digest, so it’s great for anyone suffering from digestive issues
Kitchari tastes like a cross between a creamy rice cereal and a light dal, or lentil soup. If it is a cold, blustery day or you are feeling under the weather, a steaming bowl of this classic Indian comfort food can both warm up your bones and restore sagging energy.
1-cup basmati rice
½ cup mung dal
3 teaspoons kitchari spice mix (cumin seeds, turmeric, mustard seeds, ginger and asafetida)
2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
6 cups water
1-2 cups chopped vegetables
Wash rice and mung dal and soak overnight or two-three hours before cooking
Drains soak water.
In a medium saucepan warm the ghee, add the kitchari spice mixture and sauté for one-two minutes. Add rice and mung beans and sauté for another couple of minutes. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. When kitchari has come to a boil reduce the heat to medium-low, cover an cook until it is tender, approximate 30-45 minutes. Add vegetables to your kitchari: the longer cooking such as carrots halfway through the coking and vegetables that cook faster such as leafy greens near the end. Add more water if needed.
Garnish with cilantro and fresh grated ginger if you like and ENJOY!
**NOTE** Because Kitchari meal not include fiber I recommend to take kale salad with olive oil, lime, salt and pepper in between!