Kitchari has been Ayurveda’s age-old signature detox dish! The word “kitchari” (pronounced kitch-a-ree) in India means a mixture of two or more grains. Traditional kitchari is made by mixing white basmati rice and split yellow moong dal.
Kitchari has gotten huge popularity in recent years in the US and other western countries. And this dish takes a western twist with protein-rich quinoa in place of white basmati rice, making it extra nutritious and flavorful.
How To Make Kitchari
My recipe is a mixture of organic quinoa (you could use amaranth, couscous, or brown rice) and organic split moong beans. I like having it this way; it brings more nutrition to every bite and even makes the dish more flavorful and filling.
I have also taken this traditional kitchari to a whole new level by adding toppings of assorted raw veggies marinated in a spicy tangy curry sauce! Yum, yum, yum!
The reason this dish is revered highly in Ayurveda is mainly because it balances all the three doshas – kapha, pitta, and vata. Kitchari has been a staple food in India for many, many years and is eaten mainly for its amazing taste and texture; the long list of health benefits is an added side benefit!
What Are The Benefits Of Kitchari?
- Easily prepared
- Easily digested
- Builds vitality and strength
- Excellent detox dish
- Brings aroma and flavor and reawakens the digestive fire (agni) through the spices
- Cleanses toxins from bodily tissues
- Restores sagging energy
- Acts as a medicine to bring the body to a balanced state
The secret to a great tasting dish lies in the spices used! Kitchari uses the right kind of spices in the right proportion to give you not only a comfortable warm-tasting meal but the medicinal benefits of the spices, which aid in proper digestion, assimilation, and elimination. This, in turn, makes this a high-powered detox meal!
The easiest way to make this recipe is by using a pressure cooker. You can also make this in a stockpot.
Ingredients (2–3 Servings)
- 1 cup quinoa (preferably soaked for 3–4 hrs)
- 1 cup split moong beans (preferably soaked for 2–3 hrs)
- 1 tsp EV olive oil or coconut oil
- 1 tsp cumin and mustard seeds
- 1 tsp fennel powder
- 1 ½ tsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp asafoetida powder
- 1–2 tsp red chili powder (optional)
- 2–3 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1 tsp freshly squeezed lime/lemon juice
- Salt to taste
- Approx. 2–4 cups of water
If using a pressure cooker, you can cook the grains and make the kitchari all in one pot!
- Add the oil in the cooker pan and sauté the mustard and cumin seeds.
- Add the quinoa and beans, mixing them slowly with the spice powders.
- Sauté this for a minute until you smell the aroma.
- Add water to cover the pot and pressure cook for 4–5 whistles. The consistency should be thick and mushy.
This can be easily done in a stockpot; the only difference is that you need to cook the quinoa and moong beans separately following the packet directions. Later on, you can follow the procedure given above.
Ingredients For Raw Toppings Sauce
- 1 cup of assorted veggies (colorful peppers, zucchini, onion, avocado, cucumber, cherry tomatoes)
- 1–2 tsp curry powder
- 1–2 tsp EV coconut oil
- 1–2 tsp pure maple syrup
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp lime/lemon juice
- Water as needed to make the sauce
Mix all of these ingredients in a bowl with the assorted veggies. To get the best flavors, marinate the veggies for about 30 mins. Having the kitchari with these flavorful raw toppings takes this dish to a whole new dimension of flavor and nutrition. You can have it for breakfast to kick start the day, make it a wholesome lunch on any hectic weekday, or have it as a soothing dish on any lazy weekend.