When you start digging into Ayurvedic cookbooks and protocols, kitchari will likely come up a lot. You may be wondering, “what is kitchari” and “what are kitchari benefits?” We are here to answer your questions—to uncover the veil on this simple yet beneficial recipe!
Kitchari means mixture, implying the mixture of grains and legumes that form the basis of kitchari. This dish is a simple porridge that is typically made of basmati rice and split yellow mung dal. However, aduki beans and other beans or legumes can be used in kitchari recipes.
In addition to rice and beans, ghee, spices, and vegetables are other common ingredients.
Kitchari is often consumed because of its many benefits. For one, the combination of rice and mung dal forms a complete protein.
In addition, since kitchari is generally easy to digest, it is both nourishing and detoxifying. This makes it a staple food for anyone undergoing a cleanse or in need of digestive help.
Another reason kitchari is so beloved is its versatility. For instance, you can thoughtfully choose spices and vegetables to influence the flavor and energetics of your kitchari. It doesn’t have to be the same every time! For instance, in this simple kitchari recipe adapted from the Ayurvedic Institute, choose the vegetables and spices to add based on your dosha.
- To pacify Vata dosha, opt for carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips and/or spinach, with warming spices, like ginger and turmeric.
- For calming Pitta dosha, choose any combination of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, or kale, and cooling spices, like cumin and coriander.
- Kapha dosha does well with cabbage, spinach, broccoli, and/or mustard greens, and heating spices, like mustard seeds and ginger.
The vegetables mentioned above are by no means an exhaustive list. And, you can decide to add anywhere from 1-3 different types of vegetables. Kitchari can also be made very simply with just basmati rice, mung beans, spices, and ghee.
For all three doshas, garnish with a handful of fresh chopped cilantro leaves, a small wedge of fresh lime, and teaspoon of ghee to tie it all together.
What is Kitchari?
Kitchari is simple, yet it is so many things. It is nourishing, and is often the sole food consumed in Ayurvedic cleanses. You can make this classic Ayurvedic dish with very few ingredients or several. Furthermore, kitchari can be spiced so that it is warming, cooling, or somewhere in between. However you prepare your kitchari, we hope you enjoy and savor this good for you time-tested dish. Kitchari is a wonderful, easy meal any time of day. You can even eat it for breakfast. Have a spoonful of Chyawanprash 15 minutes before your morning kitchari for a balanced, nutritive start to your day.
(1) The Ayurvedic Institute. (n.d.). Kitchari. Retrieved from https://www.ayurveda.com/recipes/kitchari
Greta Kent-Stoll is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner (NAMA), as well as a writer, editor, and Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher. Her Ayurveda practice is based in Asheville, North Carolina and she is the co-owner of Iyengar Yoga Asheville.