Ayurvedic Kitchari (vegan rice and lentils) for a healthy cleanse

ayurvedic kitchari recipe

Ayurvedic Kitchari is one of those dishes that I’m now making and eating at least once a week. Why? Because apart from currently starting to eat according to an Ayurvedic diet (most of the time, let me be honest!), it’s a simple dish that is very comforting yet full of flavor and spice. It’s the Indian equivalent of a bowl of creamy pasta or hearty chili.

What is Ayurvedic Kitchari?

Kitchari is a typical Indian dish that is usually served to children or to people when they’re sick or in need of a detox. It’s full of healthy protein, carbohydrates and fats, and is very easy to digest, which is perfect when you’re feeling under the weather or having been partying a bit too hard lately.

The texture is supposed to be very creamy, like a soupy version of porridge, so don’t hesitate to add way more water than you’d usually do. The amount of water I’ve put in the recipe is approximate, so feel free to adjust it until you get a lovely, almost soupy texture.

Why is it Ayurvedic?

Ayurveda recommends several ways to eat better so that you can digest easier. The idea is that you need to stimulate your ‘digestive fire’ so that your body can make the most of the nutrients you ingest during your meals. If your fire is too strong, it ‘burns’ the food and doesn’t absorb enough nutrients’. If your fire is too weak, your food never digests properly and you feel sluggish and bloated. The idea is to balance your meals with several tips and tricks, to include lots of healing spices like turmeric, cumin, mustard seeds, cinnamon etc, and to use ghee in cooking (which contains very little lactose when compared to butter).

Rice is also considered to be the best carbohydrate as it’s gluten-free and easy to digest, and lentils are a fantastic source of plant protein since Ayurveda recommends limiting animal products and meat. That’s why Ayurvedic Kitchari is such a healing dish!

How do I serve Kitchari?

Once you’ve cooked your Kitchari, you can (and should!) top it with fresh lime and fresh coriander. You can also serve some spicy mango pickle on the side to give it a bit of an extra kick. I like to sprinkle it with toasted cumin seeds as I find they add a lovely new dimension of flavor. To make them, simply dry roast cumin seeds in a pan on medium heat until they’re almost black, but not burnt. Then grind them in a mortar and pestle until they’re slightly powdery. Use this to sprinkle on top of any dish, along with a bit of sea salt. I promise you, it’s divine.

You can also add any simply cooked vegetables on top, like carrots, zucchinis, or green beans, if you want to make this Ayurvedic Kitchari even healthier. Just make sure that they’re properly cooked, as raw or lightly cooked vegetables are harder to digest.

Finally, make sure to add a generous spoon of ghee on top right before serving. The heat of the dish will melt the ghee, creating little golden puddles that are absolute heaven.

My recipe for a truly Ayurvedic Kitchari

Ayurvedic Kitchari

A simple, Indian recipe made of lentils, mung beans, and Ayurvedic spices, perfect for a healthy detox
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: ayurvedic kitchari, kitchari, lentils, mung, rice
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 200kcal
Author: Gitanjali

Ingredients

  • 100 g basmati rice
  • 100 g split mung beans (moong dal)
  • 1.5 liters water approximately
  • 1 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil for a vegan version
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 pinch asafoetida
  • 1 cm ginger grated
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • fresh coriander to garnish
  • lime to garnish
  • toasted cumin seeds (optional)
  • more ghee for serving

Instructions

  • Start by washing the rice and mung beans together in a strainer.
  • In a large pot, heat the ghee or vegetable oil, add the cumin seeds and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add all of the remaining spices, plus the grated ginger, and cook for about 10 seconds, being very careful not to let it burn.
  • Add the rice and lentils to the pot, cover with the water, bring to a boil and then turn down the heat and let it simmer (with the lid off) for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils and rice are very soft and creamy.
  • If the water has evaporated but the lentils and rice are still not cooked, feel free to add more water as needed.
    Note: Kitchari is supposed to be quite soupy, so having added too much water is not really a problem. The consistency should be like a very creamy porridge.
  • When it's fully cooked, top with lime, fresh coriander, and a dollop of ghee. Sprinkle toasted cumin seeds on top if you like.

Francais

Le kitchari est un plat typiquement Indien. Ca nous est servi quand on est malades ou quand on a besoin de faire un petit detox. Pourquoi ?

Parce que il est:

  • tres facile a digerer
  • il apporte à notre corps tout ce dont on a besoin (sans trop charger notre digestion)
  • il est plein d’épices qui sont utilisées dans l’ayurveda pour notamment stimuler ce qu’ils appel le ‘feu digestif’ et pour equilibrer les 3 doshas.

Si vous avez aucune idée de quoi je parle, il s agit de l’ayurveda. C’est une pratique Indienne qui date de centaines d’annees, qui cherche à équilibrer notre alimentation avec notre esprit. Je vous conseille vivement d’en lire un peu plus car c’est vraiment passionnant. Apres, si vous aimez pas ce genre de chose, pas de souci. Ca reste quand même une bonne recette a faire ! 😉

C’est un plat tres simple. Il est fait avec du riz basmati, des lentilles mung (mung/moong dhal, qu’on trouve dans les épiceries Indiennes), du ghee (du beurre clarifié), et quelques epices. C’est tres reconfortant, tout en étant simple mais relevée et pas fade.

La recette du Kitchari

Ingredients

  • 100 g riz basmati
  • 100 g lentilles mung (moong dal)
  • 1.5 liters d’eau (environ)
  • 1 cas de ghee ou d’huile végétale (pour une version vegane)
  • 1/2 cac graines de cumin
  • 1/2 cac poudre de cumin
  • 1 pincée asafoetida
  • 1 cm gingembre râpé
  • 1/2 cac graines de moutarde
  • 1 cac curcuma
  • 1 cac poudre de coriandre
  • de la coriandre fraîche (pour dresser)
  • du citron vert (pour dresser)
  • des graines de cumin toastees (facultatif)
  • un peu de ghee en plus pour servir

Procedure

  • Commencez par laver les lentilles et le riz ensemble dans une passoire.
  • Dans une grande cocotte, faites chauffer le ghee ou l’huile végétale sur feu moyen, ajouter les graines de cumin et faites cuire une minute.
  • Ajoutez toutes les épices restantes, avec aussi le gingembre râpé, et faites cuire environ 10 secondes, en faisant tres attention a ne pas laisser cette melange brûler.
  • Mettez les lentilles et le riz dans la cocotte, couvrez avec l’eau, portez a ebullition, et ensuite baissez le feu pour le laisser mijoter environ 30 minutes (sans couvercle), ou jusqu’à ce que le mélange soit bien crémeux.
  • Si l’eau a évaporée mais les lentilles ou le riz ne sont pas encore assez cuites, n’hésitez pas à ajouter encore de l’eau et de le faire cuire encore. Le Kitchari a une consistance très crémeuse, un peu comme un porridge ou presque une soupe de lentilles, donc il vaut mieux avoir trop d’eau que pas assez.
  • Quand c’est pret, dressez le avec de la coriandre fraîche, un peu de citron vert, et du ghee (qui va fondre dessus). Vous pouvez parsemer de graines de cumin toastées aussi, si vous le souhaitez.

If you’re looking for more Indian recipes, be sure to check out all of my Savory recipes.

And if you’re interested in learning more about Ayurveda, I highly recommend checking out this book: Ayurveda, a Life of Balance

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you buy something through those links I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!


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