Kitchari is easy to make & versatile in the many ways in which you can prepare it. Kitchari is appropriate for all doshas & you can focus on reducing or increasing a particular dosha simply by adjusting the spices & vegetables that you choose to include.
Kitchari is a simple meal of basmati rice, mung dahl, ghee & spices. When undergoing an Ayurvedic cleanse, a mono-diet of kitchari is always recommended due to the body’s ease in digesting; giving your digestive tract a much-needed break. During this break, your body is given the time it needs to focus on cleansing & detoxifying its systems, allowing for deeper healing to occur. Ghee is an essential component to this dish because it provides moisture to the mucous membranes of your body, heals & soothes the digestive tract & lubricates the joints. Appropriate spices are an equally as necessary component to kitchari because they help to stimulate & balance your agni, otherwise known as your digestive fire.
Below we share with you one of our favorite go-to kitchari recipes for the summer, created by author, teacher & Ayurvedic practitioner, Amadea Morningstar. In her recipe, Amadea includes cooling herbs such as burdock root, an ideal summer ally, which assists in cleansing the kidneys & the blood. The inclusion of fennel, cumin & coriander in her recipe support digestion, while also helping to minimize skin breakouts by balancing excess pitta dosha, which is responsible for sensitive, blemish-prone skin.
Please note, if you are vegan, feel free to substitute the ghee for coconut oil. Coconut oil is a perfect summertime cooking oil!
Amadea Morningstar’s Cooling Kitchari
The Ayurvedic Cookbook
½ cup basmati rice
¼ cup split mung dahl
½ cup burdock root, (about 8 inches)
1.5 cup green beans
2 tablespoons ghee
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon amaranth
1 stick kombu
6 to 10 cups water
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon coriander powder
Garnish: chopped cilantro leaves; yogurt is a nice addition as well but should be used in moderation if trying to balance pitta
Additional veggies for pitta season: spinach, zucchini, bok choy, kale & chard
Wash rice & mung until the water is clear; drain. Wash burdock root & peel it; then slice to 1-inch slices like a carrot. Wash green beans; chop into 1-inch pieces.
Warm ghee in a medium saucepan. Add fennel & cumin seeds & sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add rice & mung & sauté for another couple of minutes. Put burdock & green beans in immediately after the rice & beans, stir sauté for one minute. Add 6 cups of water & bring to a boil. Put kombu, amaranth, & salt in once the kitchari has come to a boil & reduce to medium-low heat. Cover & cook until tender, 1 to 1.5 hours, adding water as needed to keep the mixture moist.
Before serving, add the coriander powder, stir well. Garnish with fresh, chopped cilantro leaves & yogurt to preference.
Image courtesy of Carly Beaudin, RYT & Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist