Ayurvedic Kitchari Recipe
Kitchari is a wholesome, balanced and nourishing meal which is suitable for consumption by any Doshic type. It is a powerful digestive-aid, regulating AGNI and restoring balance to the colon.
Typically, an Ayurvedic Kitchari ‘cleanse’ is done for medicinal purposes, and could last between 2-14 days during which the practitioner consumes only Kitchari for all meals. A less ‘extreme’ version would be to have Kitchari for at least 2 main meals (the other meal should be light & fresh where possible). Please don’t try it without careful consideration & research.
But even if you’re not keen on the idea or in need of a cleanse, Kitchari is a delicious and easy to make meal for any time of the day – I make at least one big pot a week and keep it in the fridge (although fresh is ALWAYS recommended – I wouldn’t leave in the fridge longer than a day or two!)
The combination of spices, ghee and denser ingredients in the Kitchari means that hunger is satiated, whilst still maximizing nutritional benefit and providing an easy-to-digest ‘belly hug’ – which also boosts OJAS.
Any accumulated waste or toxins (‘Ama’) in the digestive tract are drawn out by the spices, leaving the body and mind feeling lighter, nourished and at ease.
Here’s a method I like to use that’s quick & easy, and is extremely versatile (**Keep in mind there are MANY different ways to prepare this dish, & I rarely if ever measure or weigh my ingredients – these measurements I’ve guesstimated – but it should make at least 2 large portions!)
- Mung Beans (128grams /1 cup)
- Basmati Rice (long or short grain) (128grams/1 cup) *soaked in water for a few hours if possible*
- 1-3 different vegetables chopped up small – I like to use carrots, peas or broccoli, but really whatever you have in the fridge usually works.
- Ghee or Extra Virgin Olive Oil (2 tablespoons)
- Turmeric (1 tspn)
- Cumin (2 tspn)
- Black Pepper (minimal amount)
- Fenugreek (1 tspn)
- Cinnamon (1/2 tsp)
- Ginger – small root sliced
- Mustard Seeds (1 tspn) (Avoid if treating excess Pitta)
- Fresh Coriander
- Chopped fresh & ripe Avocado (optional)
- Lime juice
- Coconut/natural yoghurt (optional)
- Boil the rice in water whilst preparing the rest
- Add the mung beans/lentils to a pot and turn on the heat
- Chop your veg and add it to the beans/lentils as they simmer
- In a pan/wok, heat the ghee until melted, and add in the spices (mixed together) with a drop of water
- This will create a paste quite fast, and when it’s thick enough, take it off the heat and add it to the pot with the veg & beans
- Stir until well mixed in
- When the rice is almost done, add it to the bigger pot with all other ingredients (this is the perfect one-pot dish!) and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- Take off the heat, cool, serve & enjoy!
- If you have an excess or dominance in the PITTA Dosha (Fire & Water), be especially careful not to over-spice your Kitchari. Omit the mustard seeds, and go easy on the pepper!
- Kitchari is probably the most soothing and nurturing for VATA Dosha (Air & Ether), as the warming, heavier qualities balance out the LIGHT and COLD nature of Vata perfectly. However, if your digestion is particularly weak or painful (VATA can have a variable digestion due to excess of AIR), being mindful of the portion size at the beginning of your ‘cleanse’ would be wise.
- For KAPHA people, that little bit of extra spice can work wonders – maybe even try adding cayenne pepper for an optional extra kick! This is because the extra heat & lightness generated by the spices will soothe Kapha’s COLD and HEAVY qualities, stimulating the senses and also stimulating the slower digestion. Again, being mindful of portion size for Kapha is advised.
- The fewer variety of vegetables used the better – the simpler the dish is the easier it will be to digest. I’d recommend a max of 3 different kinds if you really want to add them in.
(Title image via www.ascensionkitchen.com)