Kitchari is a traditional Ayurvedic dish that is known to assist in detoxing the body and balancing the three doshas. Kitchari provides many nutrients while cleansing the toxins out of the body. It’s a great way to cleanse the body and soul in a gentle way.
Kitchari is made with mung beans, basmati rice, seasonal vegetables, ghee and spices. The mung beans are known for their ability to remove toxins, specifically pesticides and insecticides, from the body. Mung beans are also a great source of protein and provide a source of good carbohydrates and fiber. It’s also a great dish for those having digestive problems and recovering from illness. There are many versions of Kitchari to aid various health complaints!
½ cup Dry Green Mung Beans
½ cup of Dry Mung Dal (split yellow)
1 cup high quality Indian Basmati Rice (good Indian rice makes all the difference)
4-6 cups Water (more water will make it soupier)
6-7 cups assorted vegetables (e.g. yam, carrots, courgette etc.)
2-3 tablespoon Ghee (or clarified butter or coconut oil)
2 inch piece of Ginger (minced)
1 tbsp. Turmeric
1 tbsp. Cumin
1 tbsp. Black Mustard Seeds
1 tbsp. Fennel Seeds
1 tbsp. Mustard Seeds
½ tsp. Ground Coriander
½ tsp. Fresh Cracked Pepper
1 tbsp. Himalayan Pink Sea Salt
1 stick of Kombu (seaweed)
½ tsp. Cinnamon
- Prep ahead: soak the mung beans overnight (after washing them) for 4-8 hours (this helps with digestion)
- In a large wok, melt the ghee until its liquid form
- Add the seeds to the ghee and sauté until you hear the seeds pop
- Quickly add the spices, ginger, rice and beans to the mix. Coat the rice and beans with the spices and seeds (important to do all these steps fairly quickly so you don’t burn the spices).
- Slowly add in the water
- Add the vegetables and lightly stir all the ingredients
- Bring the water to a boil
- Lower heat, cover and cook gently for another 45-60 minutes
- Stir in the salt at the very end
- Mung beans– beans are low in fat and high in fiber, they also provide significant amounts of protein, iron, B vitamins and other trace minerals. Split mung beans (aka yellow dal) are highly regarded in Ayurveda. They are lighter and easier to digest than most other beans and are widely used for healing especially in kitchari and dal. They tend to have a cooling effect on the body therefore they are good for Pitta types, and can also be good for Vata and Kapha when paired with warming spices such as ginger or mustard seeds (such as in this recipe).
- Basmati Rice– it is the one grain which is tridoshic in effect; it can be eaten by all three constitutions with benefit. It is slightly cooling, sweet, light and moist. Because it is lighter than many other grains, it can be eaten by Kapha, in small quantities. Its coolness, sweetness and moisture are valuable for Pitta. And its sweet moist attributes balance Vata. It is east to digest
- Ghee– highly valued in Ayurvedic healing as a rejuvenative and elixir. With milk, or alone, it is particularly restorative to Vata and Pitta. It is sweet, cool, light and oily. Kaphas can use it in small amounts to good benefit. It is easier to digest and aids absorption of other nutrients in a way that regular butter cannot.
- Black Mustard Seeds– Pungent and mildly diuretic, making it quite useful for Kapha. Its warmth stimulates “agni” and overall digestion; it is beneficial in dispelling gas. Ayurveda values it for gout, arthritic and feverish conditions. It should be used in minimal amounts for Pitta, preferably balanced with cooling coriander (such as in this recipe).
- Coriander– cooling, soothing, carminative and digestive.
- Kombu-balances Vata and Pitta. Aggravates Kapha.