Kitcheree the one pot Ayurvedic cleansing food

Kitcheree (also spelled Kitchari) stands out as a cornerstone in the realm of traditional Ayurvedic cleansing. This wholesome one pot wonder isn’t just a delightful meal, you might even call it a super food!

The Gut, Gateway to Health.

The age-old holistic science of Ayurveda believes that most diseases begin in the gut. A healthy digestive system is the principal to good health and wellness. In this context, Kitcheree regarded as a healing food, excels in promoting seamless digestion. This not only allows your body to redirect its energy from digestion to rejuvenation but also nurtures every tissue in the body, cultivating strength and vitality.

Cleansing Rituals with Kitcheree.

Celebrated for its cleansing properties, eating Kitcheree is highly recommended if you are going through a cleanse or detox program. Whether you are undertaking a home detox, an intensive Ayurvedic or Yogic cleanse incorporating Kitcheree into your routine offers a respite for your digestive system, fostering a profound reset. You would eat it for a period of three to five days to give your digestive system a rest and reset.

On a more intensive cleanse, for example a Panchakarma (Ayurvedic cleanse) or Shankhaprakshalana (yogic cleansing of the entire digestive tract) you would likely be served Kitcheree as part of the program.

Everyday Nutritional Elegance.

Kitcheree isn’t just eaten as part of a cleanse or detox program, Kitcheree stands as a staple for many, especially embraced by yogis and vegetarians. Boasting a perfect trifecta of macronutrients proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. It emerges as a nutritionally complete, balanced meal. It is a brilliant source of protein which is important because it helps to keep the blood sugar and our mood stable.

The Anatomy of Kitcheree.

If you are not familiar with Kitcheree, it is traditionally made with a combination of basmati rice and mung dhal.  Kitcheree becomes a canvas for personalization. The basmati rice (Carbohydrate) is easy to digest and the dhal provides a high level of protein.

Ghee is traditionally used as the ‘oil’ component but if you are Vegan, a vegetable, sunflower or seed-based oil can be used. The oil provides the lubricant that also aids the digestion process.

Different combinations of spices are used depending on your Ayurvedic constitution. If you are going through a cleanse, then the spices are removed. The spice “chuna,” we introduce to Kitcheree sparks our Agni, our digestive fire.

Versatility in a Bowl

Easy to prepare, Kitcheree is comforting, warming and cheap to make. And it is delicious!

For us, we eat Kitcheree every week for its nutritional qualities, we usually batch cook so we can eat it for lunch the next day! We also like to add seasonal and root vegetables like carrots, sweet potato, Pumpkin, Kale or Chard to our Kitcheree. This helps to boost the vitamin content of the dish.

There are different variations of this staple food, and different lentil or beans that can be used. Generally, it is basmati rice and mung dal. We love to use mung beans in our recipe. Everyone we know who cooks Kitcheree has their own favourite variation or way to prepare.

While proportions may vary, 1-part rice to 1 part of beans/dhal, (Ram’s version) I like to use 2/3 dhal/beans to 1/3 rice. But both these options are valid and the spices used can be varied according to your individual preference and Ayurveda constitution.

The flexibility in preparation mirrors the diversity of those who cherish this wholesome dish.

Here’s Ram’s version of Kitcheree.

Ram’s Kitcheree (Serves 4 people)
Kitcheree recipe review
Kitcheree recipe

1 cup Mung beans. (Soaked overnight, you can use mung dal, or red lentils).

1 cup basmati rice.

½ cup Sunflower oil. (You can use “ghee” but it won’t be vegan)

1 ½ inch piece of fresh ginger (pealed & chopped finely)

1 tsp black mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp black pepper powder

2 bay leaves

1 stick of cinnamon (if small use 2)

4 cloves

4 whole cardamon pods (split)

½ tsp Asafoetida (hing) (Asafoetida can be found in good Indian grocery stores, if you don’t have it, it can be left out).

½ tsp cayenne.

Salt (to taste)

6 cups Vegetarian stock or water (heated)

2 cups of carrots (small dices)

2 cups of broccoli or cauliflower (small florets).

You can add any other vegetables, like potato/sweet potato or pumpkin.

Small handful of fresh coriander, chopped.

  • Soak the mung beans overnight, this will help to aid the digestion process.
  • Make a vegetarian stock with vegetable scraps and peelings. (If you don’t have time you can use a store-based vegetable stock or use hot water).
  • Wash the mung beans and the basmati rice until the water runs clear.
  • Heat a pot on medium heat and add the oil (or ghee). Then add finely chopped ginger, stir for a moment and then add the black mustards and cumin seeds. When they start to pop add the turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon barks, cloves, cardamon and hing.
  • Stir for a couple of minutes and then add  the basmati rice and the mung beans, stirring very well until all is mixed together.
  • Next, add the hot vegetarian stock (or water), cover and bring to the boil. Let it boil for 5 minutes, then turn down the heat very low to a simmer. Lightly cover the pan.
  • It is important to give the mixture a stir every 5 minutes, so it doesn’t get stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  • When it has been simmering for about 15 minutes, add the carrots and continue to keep stirring every 5 minutes.
  •  After 15 minutes more add the broccoli or cauliflower. Keep a close eye on it for another 5 minutes.
  • You can add a little more stock of water if it is needed or if you want a runnier consistency.
  • Add salt to taste and turn off the heat.
  • Sprinkle with the chopped coriander and serve.

Serving Options

  • You can serve Kitcheree on its own. With a dollop of yoghurt, (we use coconut yoghurt) and a squeeze of lemon.
  • IF you are using ghee, it’s also nice to serve with a little melted ghee on top.
  • We also serve ours with Sauerkraut or a nice tomato Kasundi.
  • You can serve with a leaf side salad.
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