Kitchari, a cherished dish in Ayurvedic cuisine, is a flavorful and nourishing meal that has been enjoyed for centuries. This simple yet versatile dish offers a wealth of benefits, making it a popular choice for those seeking a comforting and nutritious meal. In this article, we'll explore what kitchari is, delve into its numerous benefits, highlight its key ingredients, and provide you with an easy-to-follow kitchari recipe.
Kitchari, pronounced "kitch-uh-ree," is a traditional Indian dish that's renowned for its balancing and healing properties. It is typically made from a harmonious blend of rice and split mung beans, along with a medley of spices and vegetables. The consistency of kitchari can vary, from a porridge-like texture to a drier, pilaf-style dish. It is often consumed during Ayurvedic cleanses or as a light meal to support digestion and overall well-being.
Digestive support: Kitchari is revered for its gentle nature on the digestive system. The combination of rice and mung beans provides a good balance of fiber and protein, aiding in proper digestion without causing discomfort.
Detoxification: The spices used in kitchari, such as turmeric, cumin, and coriander, possess natural detoxifying properties that help to cleanse the body and support the elimination of toxins.
Nutrient-Rich: Kitchari is a well-rounded meal that offers a range of essential nutrients from its ingredients. It's a source of complex carbohydrates, proteins, and a variety of vitamins and minerals.
Rice: Basmati rice is commonly used for kitchari due to its aroma and lightness.
Mung Beans: Split mung beans are the primary protein source in kitchari, providing nourishment without being heavy on the stomach.
Ayurvedic Spices: Turmeric, cumin, coriander, mustard seeds, and asafoetida are often used to enhance the flavor and medicinal value of kitchari.
Vegetables: A variety of seasonal vegetables like carrots, peas, zucchini, and spinach can be added for additional nutrition and taste. Keep reading to find out which vegetables are suited for your dosha!
1 cup long-grain white basmati rice
1 cup split mung beans
1 medium yellow onion
1-2 inch piece of fresh ginger root
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 large pinch hing (asafoetida) - optional
1 ½-2 tbsp of ghee (or coconut oil if vegan)
1 whole dried red chili
3-4 whole cloves
4-5 fresh curry leaves
4-6 cups of water
freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
Wash rice and mung beans thoroughly and soak for about 30 minutes.
In a pot, heat ghee or coconut oil. Add onion, and ginger and cook until translucent. Stir in cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and asafoetida.
Once the seeds start to sputter, add turmeric and curry leaves, stirring briefly.
Drain the soaked rice and mung beans and add them to the pot. Sauté for a couple of minutes.
Add water, cloves, and red chili. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Reduce heat, cover, and let it simmer until rice and beans are tender (approximately 45-60 minutes).
Adjust water quantity for desired consistency.
Garnish with a squeeze of lemon and other garnish ingredients as desired.
Incorporating these seasonal vegetables into your kitchari not only adds a delightful twist but is also a wonderful choice, especially if you're doing a gentle Ayurvedic cleanse and savoring this dish throughout the day. Below, we've provided options tailored to each dosha type.
Vata Pacifying Vegetables
Pumpkin, squash, asparagus, beets, carrots, green beans, green chilies, leeks, sauteed sweet onion. parsnip, radishes, rutabaga, sweet potato, zucchini.
Pitta Pacifying Vegetables
Asparagus, beetroot, parsnip, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, fennel, leafy greens, cooked sweet onion, parsley, peas, radishes, squash, sweet potato, zucchini, arugula, collards, artichoke, kale, spaghetti squash.
Kapha Pacifying Vegetables
Artichoke, arugula, bell pepper, broccoli, celery, carrots, chives, cilantro, collards, corn, spinach, sprouts, parsley, leeks.
Kitchari can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. If you're making a large batch, consider freezing portions for a longer shelf life. To reheat, simply add a little water or broth and gently warm it on the stovetop or microwave.
Kitchari isn't just a meal; it's a harmonious blend of flavors, textures, and health benefits. Incorporating this time-tested Ayurvedic dish into your diet can bring about a sense of balance and nourishment, promoting overall well-being. With its simple recipe and versatile nature, kitchari is a culinary gem that invites you to savor both its taste and the positive impact it can have on your body.