Ayurvedic Cooking 101:
Learn how to make this sattvic yogi staple at home anytime you need to have a protein-rich meal that’s quick and easy to digest. It’s a perfect accompaniment to cooked veggie dishes like curries or even with a fresh salad if you want to eat light, yet stay grounded.
Lunch or Dinner
Awesome Ayurveda | Beginner
About this Recipe
By: Ramananda Mayi
Kitchari is is THE staple food of yogis. Delicious, nutritious, quick to make & digest, Kitchari is absolutely filling while keeping you light and full of energy. Similar to Ven Pongal in South India, Kitchari is often given away as prasadam (blessed food from the Gods) in temples and ashrams due to its sattvic nature. Yellow split mung beans have a very calming effect on the mind and reduces anger, aggression, and agitation. Great for both the body and mind, learning how to make your own Kitchari at home will take your yoga and meditation practices to the next level of shanti. This particular South Indian inspired Kitchari has more of a “crunch” than the traditional recipe, as we like to add cashew nuts and whole black peppercorns to give it more texture and elevate it to a “cosmic” status. If you want a more smooth traditional Kitchari, simply omit the cashews and use cracked black pepper or powder instead.
- 1/2 cup white rice
- 1/2 cup split yellow mung beans
- 4 cups water
- 2 tbsp ghee (or coconut oil)
- 2 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp black peppercorns
- 10-20 cashew nuts (optional)
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
The base of Kitchari is rice and split mung beans. Though you can use almost any type of rice you wish, to really make authentic Ayurvedic Kitchari white basmati rice is preferred. Though brown rice is more nutrient-rich, Kitchari is best made using white rice, as it is easier to digest. Brown rice is un-milled and its husk is not removed, thus according to Ayurveda, it takes longer to digest.
When making Kitchari it is important to only use split yellow mung beans. When whole green mung beans are dehusked and then split in half they are known as split yellow mung beans. Make sure NOT to use whole green mung beans. According to Ayurveda yellow split mung beans are the easiest type of beans to digest and produce the least amount of gas in the intestines. The husks of whole green mung beans are more difficult to digest, require a longer cooking time and will produce more gas.
- 1/2 tsp hing (aka asafoetida)
- 15-20 curry leaves
Hing and fresh curry leaves are optional, but highly recommended items. They, along with the whole black peppercorns and cashew nuts are what really give this Cosmic Kitchari recipe it’s signature South Indian taste.
Hing (aka asafoetida) can be found online or at Indian grocery stores and is used as a replacement flavor for garlic and onion (both discouraged in yogic meals). It is a bit of an acquired taste, especially considering it’s strong smell, but once you get accustomed to it, you can use it as a rajasic replacement in many cooked dishes that call for garlic and/or onion (classified as tamasic).
Fresh curry leaves can also be hard to find, so you can omit them if they are unavailable. Yet, if you can find the fresh leaves, they are a spectacular addition!
1 cup of Kitchari
- Protein 17% 17%
- Carbs 63% 63%
- Fat 20% 20%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Step by Step Cooking Instructions
Begin by washing and draining the rice and mung beans in a vessel multiple times, until the water runs clear to remove the starch.
Add the rice and mung beans to a pot, add 4 cups of water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and cover to cook until it becomes soft and mushy (about 20-30 minutes).
While the rice and mung beans are cooking, add the ghee to a pan and heat on medium-high (2-3 minutes). Once the ghee is hot add the mustard and cumin seeds and wait about 1 minute until they begin to pop. Then add the black peppercorns, hing, curry leaves and cashews. Fry together until the cashews are golden brown and the curry leaves have become crispy.
Add this mixture to the pot of cooked rice and mung beans along with the salt, turmeric and grated ginger. Mix well until your get a consitency similar to mash potatoes.
Place the Kitchari in a bowl and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.
For an authentic South Indian touch, you can pour a few teaspoons of ghee on top of the cooked Kitchari once it is served.
So What’s so awesome about kitchari?
….and why have yogis been eating it for thousands of years?
It’s a Complete Protein perfect for vegetarians & vegans!
The combination of mung dal with rice provides all the essential amino acids needed to form a complete protein. Eaten on their own both rice and dal are missing one or more of the amino acids that our bodies need. Yet, when combined in Kitchari the rice and dal blend perfectly to form a complete protein.
It’s super Easy to Digest
The addition of warming spices like ginger, black mustard seeds, cumin, whole black peppercorns, and curry leaves stimulate the gastric juices and make digesting Kitchari quick & easy. The use of split mung dal (rather than the whole green dal beans) makes Kitchari a perfect choice for those with sluggish digestion.
It’s Great for MonO-Diet Cleansing
Kitchari is a staple in Ayurvedic cleansing. Unlike other types of cleansing methods, Ayurveda typically does not recommend extended periods of fasting using only juices and herbal teas. Instead, a mono-diet of Kitchari is recommended to ease the digestive tract, improve digestion, while providing essential nourishment.
Instead of ghee (clarified butter) you can use coconut or sesame oil.
This recipe is already gluten free
If you have nut allergies omit the cashews
The best thing about Kitchari is that it balances all 3 doshas. In Ayurveda, it is actually used specifically to bring the doshas into balance. In this way, Kitchari serves not only as a wholesome meal but also as a medicine. When eatened regularly it can heal the body of various ailments.
Cosmic Kitchari for the Doshas
Vata is aggravated by most types of beans. However, split yellow mung beans are the one exception. The addition, the warming spices like ginger & black peppercorns, along with the smooth texture, make Kitchari an ideal meal to ground a deranged Vata.
Pitta does well with Kitchari, however, you may want to half the portion of ginger, mustard seeds and black peppercorns which will create heat in the body. The addition of 1 tsp of fennel seeds and 1 tsp of coriander powder will help cool off this dish if it is a hot day or your pitta is aggravated.
Kitchari is perfect for Kapha due to the warming spices and quick digestion time. A perfect comfort food, Kitchari can be eaten in large portion sizes to fill the belly and satiate hunger, while not significantly slowing down the digestive process.