‘Kitchari’ is an age old Ayurvedic nourishing stew, consisting of rice and beans (to be put simply). Usually in a traditional context yellow mung beans and basmati rice are used, as these are easily digested.
Another component of of kitchari is that fact that you can create custom spice blends according to your Ayurvedic dosha or ‘body constitution’ to be used as a base for the dish.
In Ayurveda, there are 3 main doshas: vata, pitta and kapha.Usually people have two of the three that are more dominant. By using a pacifying spice blend for example, you can control or calm down an aggravated dosha and return to homeostasis. Want to find out what your dosha is? Check out our helpful guide.
Kitchari is great as a cleansing dish in the colder months, when some people have trouble ingesting too much raw juice as they are too cold and dry. Kitchari is known to heal the gut and sooth any malfunction within the intestinal walls, which is why it is such a revered food from an Ayurvedic context.
Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 25-30 mins | Serves 4
- 3 ⅓ cups (800ml) filtered water
- ⅓ cup (80ml) split mung beans
- ⅓ cup (80ml) red lentils
- ⅓ cup (80ml) basmati rice
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 12 curry leaves
- 1 teaspoon crushed fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 5 peppercorns
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 medium zucchini, chopped
- 2 kale leaves, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon ground rock salt or pink Himalayan salt
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ⅓ cup (80ml) chopped fresh cilantro
- Juice or 1 lemon and 1 lime
- Bring water to a boil in a medium pot.
- Add mung beans, lentils, rice, turmeric, curry leaves, and fresh ginger.
- Once it is boiling again, reduce heat and simmer.
- In the meantime, grind cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and pepper corns in a coffee grinder. Add 1 teaspoon of the spice blend into the kitchari.
- Add carrots, zucchini, kale, and salt and cook uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender and the mixture resembles a thick porridge.
- Stir occasionally and add more water if it is getting too dry.
- Heat ghee in a skillet, add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and fry for 30 seconds.
- Add the rest of the ground spice blend from step 4, then immediately add a little bit of the kitchari to prevent burning and stir well.
- Add the spice fry to the kitchari and stir some more.
- Garnish with fresh lemon and lime juice and chopped cilantro.
For a spicier variation, add chopped fresh green chili and/or fresh chopped ginger.
All images courtesy of Lakshmi Harilela, founder and chef at Love True Food.