So what exactly is Kitchari?!? Kitchari is the "chicken soup of Ayurveda"! It's what you reach for when not feeling 100%. It's what you eat when your body is in need of a break or a "cleanse". Digesting food takes an enormous amount of energy, and when you eat food that is easy to digest, it gives your body a break, and an opportunity to put energy towards other systems that need nourishing. In the West, we often see cleanses geared around Raw Foods, these juices, salads and smoothies are fine for a healthy person in moderation, but when a person with a weak gut (or weak Agni, digestive fire) consumes these foods for every meal, it takes its toll. It requires a ton of energy and often leads to an overworked system.
What about Kitchari makes it so easy to digest? The rice and lentils are pre-soaked and strained, which prevents excess gas in the stomach that un-soaked beans can cause. The spices it's cooked with help to keep your Agni, digestive fire, going at the right temperature. On top of that, it contains healthy fiber, protein and fat that the body assimilates easily.
Spiced Spring Kitchari
Time: 30–45 minutes
Balancing for vata, pitta, and kapha
- ½ cup mung dal
- ½ cup basmati rice
- 2 teaspoons ghee or coconut oil
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cardamom pods
- 3 whole black peppercorns
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 tsp Brown Mustard seed
- 1 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp Natural Mineral salt
- 1 tsp Cumin seed
- 1 tsp Fenugreek
- 1 teaspoon (heaping) freshly grated ginger or ginger paste
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro including stems
- ½ cup Chopped Veggies (carrots, asparagus, peas, bamboo, zucchini, broccoli rabe)
- 1 cup greens (spinach, kale, snow pea tendrils)
- 1 ¾ cup water
Rinse rice and mung dal 2–3 times in cold water and soak for 2–3 hours or overnight.
In a 4-quart pot over medium heat, warm the Ghee (I like using Cognitive Function's Cordyceps Ghee for an extra dose of medicinal mushrooms! This recipe would also pair well with our Chai Spiced Ghee with Cordyceps, Ashwagandha, Shatavari and Guduchi) or Coconut Oil (try Cognitive Function's Brain Lube which has Lions Mane Mushroom). When the oil has melted and is warm, add the whole spices: cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, and peppercorns. Sauté for about 30 seconds to release the aroma. Add the ground spices, and stir for about 45 seconds to 1 minute to gently activate the spices, but not burn them. Mustard seeds will begin to pop, keep a lid handy to cover if needed.
Add in the diced veggies, chopped cilantro, grated ginger, and salt. Stir to meld the flavors together, about 1 minute. Add the drained rice, mung, and water. Stir gently and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat to low and cover. Cook for about 15 minutes, then gently stir in the greens and continue to simmer on low for another 7–10 minutes or until the rice and mung are cooked and the water is absorbed.
Turn off the stove and let sit covered for about 3 minutes to absorb any bits of water. Letting it sit in the steam also continues the cooking process and creates a fluffier rice without adding additional water. Top with chopped cilantro if desired!