Kitchari ("KITCH-aree") is a healing, nourishing food used to “nourish babies, the elderly, and the healthy in times of detox or deep spiritual practice” (Douillard).
Mung beans (split yellow lentils) are the easiest legume to digest and produce no gas. White rice is the easiest grain to digest because the fibrous husk has been removed. This meal is easy to metabolize and assimilate, so your body has extra energy to repair other areas. Kitchari is detoxifying and cleansing, while tasting like delicious comfort food.
Kitchari is a complete one pot meal of protein rich mung beans, nourishing white rice, and your favorite vibrant seasonal veggies. The spices used boost digestion and decrease inflammation. Make this weekly to maintain health, when you feel run down, or any time you need a reset. I always make this when I return from travel and often for lunch when I work in the hospital (in a metal soup thermos). This is also great for kids who get “travel belly”.
½ cup white rice (can also substitute quinoa)
Rinse beans and rice well in mesh strainer, soak for at least 1 hour or overnight
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp ghee, plus more for serving (sub coconut oil if vegan)
1 tbsp spice mix (recipe here)
6 cups water
1 cup chopped seasonal orange veg (carrots, sweet potatoes, any squash)
2 cups chopped seasonal greens (spinach, chard, kale, collards)
½ to 1 tsp pink salt
Chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime, quartered
Melt ghee and sauté ginger until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add rice, beans, and spices; stir to coat. Add water and bring to boil then turn down to a med/low simmer.
Add hard veggies (like carrots) and simmer 25 minutes with lid ajar.
After 25 minutes, if there is no more water, add a little more, like 1/2 cup or so. Add quick cooking greens and simmer 5 more minutes (if using tender lettuces like arugula or baby spinach, stir at the end, off heat).
Turn off heat and add salt and ghee.
Ladle kitchari into bowl. Top with a little more ghee, cilantro, and lots of lime.
Instant pot/pressure cooker method: saute ginger in ghee, add rice/beans/spices, stir to coat. Add water and hard veggies, set to high pressure for 15 minutes. Allow pressure to release for 10 minutes or more. Open lid, stir in tender greens like baby spinach and season with salt and toppings.
Use more rice when sick, returning from travel, or when you need more nourishing
For excess vata (dryness, cold, anxiety) add more ghee and cinnamon, soak rice and beans overnight
For excess pitta (heat, acid, anger) omit ginger, add coconut flakes and raisins
For excess kapha (heaviness, foggy) use less oil, add black pepper, omit rice (use 1.5 cup dried mung beans in the initial recipe)