Balancing Ayurvedic Kitchari (Kichadi)

 reading time: 3 min

Kitchari, also known as kichadi or khichdi, and pronounced kich-uh-ree, is a traditional Ayurvedic porridge-like savoury dish known for its detoxifying and cleansing properties, as well as for balancing the doshas (the combination of elements that determines the Ayurvedic constitution). It is said to purify the digestive system, heal the gut and support recovery from illness or physical stress, giving strength and vitality.

It is also undoubtedly one of the easiest dishes out there (and also one of the most inexpensive), as it basically only consists of basmati rice, beans (traditionally mung beans), and a few spices. Vegetables are optional, but highly recommended.

It's the perfect meal for when you're feeling stressed out or overwhelmed, when you've been seed and need to pump up your immune system, or when you have unhealthy cravings and need some deep and nourishing reset. Ever since undergoing my 2 week Ayurvedic cleanse (panchakarma) earlier this year where you eat nothing but kitchari for breakfast, lunch and dinner over the course of 7 days, kitchari has – inevitably – become a staple comfort food of mine.


Preparation time: 45 mins
Main ingredients: basmati rice, mung beans, cumin, ginger
difficulty level: easy
serves: 4
suitable for: vegan, lactose-free, soy-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, low-fat


1 cup white basmati rice, soaked *
1/2 cup yellow moong dal, soaked * (split mung beans or sprouted whole mung)
2-3 cups of your favorite vegetables, depending on your Ayurvedic constitution (I used carrots, cauliflower, and kale)
1-2 tbsp ghee, coconut oil or sunflower oil (less for kapha, more for vata)
1 inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
1 tsp cumin seeds
1-2 tsp ground turmeric
mineral salt, to taste
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
5-6 cups boiling water

1 medium yellow onion, chopped (for kapha and vata)
2 garlic cloves, minced (for kapha and vata)
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds (for kapha and vata)
1/2 tsp chili flakes (for kapha)
1 tsp fennel seeds (esp. for pitta)
mustard seeds (for kapha)

fresh cilantro to serve
fresh lemon or lime to serve (esp. for vata)
coconut yogurt to serve (for pitta)
chutney to serve (for vata)

* About 12 hours before you want to cook the dish, place rice and mung beans in a large bowl and submerge in filtered water. Allow to soak for 12 hours, or overnight. If you are in a hurry, you can reduce the soaking time to 15-20 minutes instead.

Rinse the soaked rice and beans in a fine mesh colander until the water runs completely clear.

To a saucepan or pot, add your ghee / oil, and spices. Heat up and gently fry until the cumin seeds (and fennel / coriander / mustard seeds, if using) start to pop, about 1 minute. You want them to pop to release their aromatic fragrance.

Add the grated ginger and sauté for another 30 seconds, constantly stirring. If using, also add in your chopped onion and garlic cloves.

Add the rinsed rice and beans to the pot – be careful as any water from the rinsing is going to sizzle and pop in contact with the hot oil! Stir frequently, letting it cook for a bit, until the rice starts to look somewhat shiny.

Add turmeric powder to the mixture, stir together for another minute, then add the water.

Cover and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer and allow to simmer uncovered for about 30-45 minutes or until the water has been absorbed mostly, and the rice and beans have become soft, similar to oatmeal. Stir on occasion to make sure it is not sticking to the bottom. You can always add more water if you want a soupier consistency!
While your kitchari is cooking, prepare any vegetables you want to add, according to your constitution. Longer-cooking vegetables such as carrots, sweet potato and cauliflower should be added halfway through the cooking, so after about 15 minutes. Vegetables that cook faster such as green beans, broccoli, bell pepper or leafy greens can be added about 10 minutes or so before the kitchari is cooked through.

When most of the water is absorbed and the rice and vegetables are tender, it's ready!

Adjust seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Serve kitchari in bowls, garnished with
a few fresh sprigs of fresh cilantro and/or fresh squeezed lemon or lime if desired. A dollop of coconut yogurt is also nice, at least for pittas like me :) You may also serve this dish with a smidge of vegan butter or ghee, or with a tomato and onion salad on the side.