Kitchari Recipe for You
I'm frequently asked for a kitchari recipe. Over the last decade I've maybe been asked 300 times. One might think I would have posted a kitchari recipe like this in my first blog post and avoided a few dozen of those emails asking for a recipe. If you want the recipe – click the image and print it. And if you're wondering why so many people want to eat kitchari, read on.
Why Kitchari + Ayurveda:
Kitchari is the traditional detox food of Ayurveda. The philosophy is simple. The body detoxes when it is given the opportunity. Lighten up what you eat, and nourish the 6 tastes, and 5 senses at the same time, and voila, you’ve created the opportunity.
Kitchari is a considered a complete food in Ayurveda. You can eat it for weeks. Or do kitchari for a day. It’s like baby food. Simple to cook and digest … and then you don’t have to worry about food for the day.
Kitchari is also a great transition food. Whenever you lose interest in food, go to kitchari until a more complex cuisine beckons you to diversify. If you're stuck in a rut, or your habits are hellacious… go to kitchari for a day or two.
Kitchari, kitcharee, kicharee however you spell it is the most basic nourishing meal from the Indian sub-continent. It's a mushy mix of rice and beans. Turmeric turns it yellow and enables g.i. tract reparation and optimization. Other spices are added to warm the gut, digest ama, and work their adaptogenic magic. All in all, kitchari is the simplest healing meal that you can live off indefinitely. Mung beans are used because they are the easiest legume to digest. White basmati rice is traditionally used for it's not-too-heavy, not-too-warming, not-too-drying qualities which help Kaphas, Pittas, and Vatas respectively. However a zillion variations exist which affect the doshas in all sorts of combinations. Dr. Cousens has a raw buckwheat version in a few cookbooks.. but most of the Yogidetoxers find it unpalatable.
When to eat Kitchari:
- you’re stressed out or overwhelmed
- you’re sick
- you’re cravings are unhealthy
- you need a change of diet
- you need to give your body a break
- you’re too busy to prepare other food and need deep nourishment
Vegetables in Kitchari
This recipe is the most basic for detox or rejuvenation. Adding 2-3 cups of vegetables is a good idea. The strict detoxers might not add vegetables to their kitchari. This is bizarre to my body as I need vegetables to poop. Take out the vegetables … no poop. Many people suffer from constipation on the kitchari monodiet. If this is you… definitely add lots of vegetables, and more water to the recipe as well.
- Add diced roots in the last 20 minutes of cooking: carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, or sweet potato.
- Stir in greens when done cooking. Allow to sit for a few minutes: kale, chard, collards, celery,or shredded fennel
- Stir in delicate greens just before serving: spinach, arugula, alfalfa sprouts, sunflower sprouts.
If kitchari makes you constipated … add beets and sprouts. Radish sprouts are particularly good for this.
If kitchari tastes bland to you… add more spice. Go crazy. Add cayenne or hot sauce… unless your pitta is spiking. Then just add more cilantro, mint and lime juice.
If you're looking at this recipe and thinking… I need more calories then add fat. Replace half the water with chicken stock or add a cup of coconut milk. Works wonders for Vata.
Have a kitchari suggestion? Leave a comment below.