Kitchari – the Yogic comfort food
Kitchari or khichadi is a common food in India, and among yogis and ayurvedic communities around the world. It is a good meal to eat all around the year. The mixture of split mung beans and rice make a complete protein, all without any animal protein. Kitchari is especially good for this moist, cold and windy season, as it helps to balance our systems with the combination of herbs and spices. If you want to read more about ayurveda, dosha and balancing your dosha, take your ayurvedic dosha test clicking here.
Kitchari can be made to be a medicine, or just like common food. In both cases it is nourishing and easy to digested. Kitchari also forms a part of ayurvedic detox. As medicine, kitchari is made without veggies, simply split mung dahl and white rice added with spices and herbs. As such is very easy to digest and heals the intestine. When cooked for common meal, vegetables can be added. You can also “play” with the recipe, for example make it out of complete rice and non-split mung beans, or other different kind of lentils. The following recipe has been inspired by the recipe I found at LifeSpa.com.
What do you need:
- mung dal, i.e split mung beans
- basmati rice
- vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, zucchini, green beans, broccoli… use 1 or two different, on your own liking with the preference of season’s veggies
- spices, such as turmeric, ginger, cumin, coriander seeds or powder, fennel seeds or powder, fenugreek seeds or powder, mustard seeds, cloves, cardamom, bay leaves, oregano.
- rock salt or sea salt
- herbs, such as coriander (cilantro), basil.
- Ghee or coconut oil
- Large cooking pot
2.5 dl (~1cup) split yellow mung beans (mung dahl)
2,5 dl (~1cup) White basmati rice
chunk of fresh ginger root (2-2.5cm)
1 tsp of Black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin powder (jeera)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
3 Bay leaves
1-2 Tbsp of Ghee (clarified butter), or coconut oil if strictly vegan.
1/2 tsp rock or sea salt
1,6-2,4 l (~7-10 cups) water
1 small handful of fresh chopped coriander
- Rinse and soak the split mung dahl for minimum 3-4 hours, or overnight if you have any trouble digesting (meaning if you usually or often get bloated after eating lentils, beans or even fresh vegetables). Soaking them makes them easier to digest, removing hard-to-digest substances. After soaking the water should be clear and the dal has probably more than doubled the original size.
- Wash and rinse the rice. The water should be clear. Set the rice and dal close-by aside to wait the next step.
- Heat a large pot on medium heat, melt the ghee (or coconut oil) in it and add the spices (except the ginger and bay leaves), and roast for a minute or two. Keep your eyes into the roasting process, so not allow them to burn.
- Add rice and dal and stir well.
- Add water, salt, ginger and bay leaves and bring to boil.
- Allow to boil for some 4-5 minutes.
- Turn the heat lower, cover the pot and continue cooking until dahl and rice become soft (about 30-40 minutes). Add water if the mixture gets too dry. The end result can be consistent or soupy, depending on your own preference.
- Add the fresh coriander just before serving.
The kitchari as medicine is typically eaten when sick, or while detoxing. During an ayurvedic detox, kitchari is cooked with some vegetables and usually spices and herbs selected for the individual dosha. Kitchari then forms a monodiet, eaten 3 times a day during 4-7 days. This will allow the digestion to rest and remove toxic waste from the intestine and the whole body.
Cooking kitchari for a common meal
Follow the previous recipe, play with spices and herbs, use complete rice, or quinoa, use other kind of lentils, add your preferred vegetables and more water towards the end of cooking time.
- Carrots: 15-20 min from the end
- Sweet potatoes, pumpkin, green beans: 10-12 min from the end
- Broccoli, zucchini: 7-10 min from the end.