The first time I tried a Kitchari recipe was when I was in my friend’s kitchen during grad school. He is the one who introduced me to the raw vegan lifestyle and one of his favorite cooked vegan meals was kitchari with mung beans.

At the time, I was running a lot and training for marathons, so a nourishing and warming dish was exactly what I needed.

Over the years, I’ve come back to this recipe, exploring all of the different interpretations of this meal. From traditional kitchari at an ashram in India to a rice and dal kitchari-like dish at home, this absolutely delicious dish can be customized to your own tastes (and creativity!).

I’ll share with you a basic kitchari recipe that I’ve developed over the years so that you can begin your healing rice and mung dal journey.

Kitchari Ayurveda: the healing power of kitchari

vegan kitchari recipe

Kitchari is a traditional Indian recipe in Ayurvedic cooking. Translated literally, kitchari is a “mixture” of rice and mung dal (aka lentils). You can add any Indian spices and vegetables that are compatible with your dosha. Popular spices include turmeric, coriander, cumin, ginger, fennel, and fenugreek. Popular vegetables include sweet potato, split mung beans, peppers, squash, root vegetables, and more.

Traditionally, kitchari is a healing recipe. Because it is cooked down into a porridge like consistency, it is easy to digest and gentle on the body.

How to make kitchari

ingredients for kitchari recipe

Melt the coconut oil. Add cumin seeds and mustard seeds and toast them until the mustard seeds start to pop. Add the diced onions, diced carrots, minced ginger, and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat, until onions have softened.

Once the onions have softened, add the salt, turmeric, cloves, and black pepper and stir until the spice blend coats the vegetables. Add the rice, moong dal, vegetable broth, and water. Bring everything to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cover the pot and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes.

The kitchari should develop a porridge like consistency.

If the kitchari is looking too runny, let it simmer, uncovered, for a few more minutes. If the kitchari is too thick, turn off the heat and add 1/2 to 1 cup of water and stir.

Serve in bowls, along with chili, chopped cilantro, and lemon or lime juice if desired.

Key takeaways:

  • Kitchari is at the core of Ayurvedic cooking and is a kind of healing comfort food.
  • The prep time is minimal.
  • This dish is naturally vegan.
  • This dish is Instant Pot friendly.

Kitchari cleanse recipe

A delicious recipe that is easy to digest and incredibly nourishing.
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Ayurveda, Indian

Equipment

Ingredients

Optional toppings

Instructions

  • Melt the coconut oil. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds and toast them until the mustard seeds start to pop. Add the diced onions, diced carrots, minced ginger, and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, until onions have softened.
  • Once the onions have softened, add the salt, turmeric, cloves, and black pepper and stir until the spices coat the vegetables. Add the rice, moong dal, vegetable broth, and water. Bring everything to a boil. Cover the pot and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes.
  • If the kitchari is looking too runny, let it simmer, uncovered, for a few more minutes. If the kitchari is too thick, turn off the heat and add 1/2 to 1 cup of water and stir.
  • Serve in bowls, along with chili, cilantro, and lemon if desired.

Notes

  • Whole spices – You can play with the spices you add. Try playing with fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, and coriander seeds.
  • Warming spices – Try different spices that can bring a new depth of flavor, like fresh ginger or black pepper.
  • Instant Pot kitchari – You can adapt this kitchari recipe for the Instant Pot and cook it in under 5 minutes.
  • Additional ingredients – I like to add red lentils, sweet potato, split peas, and green beans whenever I have them around. They boost the nutritional value of the dish and deepen the flavor in deliciously subtle ways.

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