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Unlocking the Secrets of Ayurvedic Kitchari: A Step-by-Step Recipe Guide

Updated: 3 days ago

Kitchari is a cleansing comfort food that is the foundational to Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle. Bonus: Cutsomized spicing option for Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Let's dig in!

How to Make Ayurveda Kitchari mage of kitchari wtih cilantro and peppers

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Unlocking the Secrets of Ayurvedic Kitchari: A Step-by-Step Recipe Guide


Variety is the spice of life. Spices are digestive herbs that play an important role in your daily wellness program. Not only do herbs make our food taste great, they help us digest and absorb food.


You learned about kitchari, you dove in and went for it, you felt great, it became part of your wellness routine. Ahh, but now your mind says it cannot look at another bowl. I’m here to tell you--no pot of kitchari need ever be the same. As much as the spelling varies--from kitchari, to kitcheree, khichadi, and kitcheree—so does each pot.


What Is Kitchari?


You may have seen it written several ways—kitchari, kichdi, khichdee, and khichri…by any spelling, this traditional Ayurvedic cleansing food is a simple, delicious cleansing food—it is the epitome of food is medicine.

 

Let’s face it, we’re reading about wellness and health topics because we’re stressed and we want (and need) to be healthier. Yet, we’re bombarded with confusing information and that alone is stressful. Modern diet trends, one-size -fits-all approaches--let’s ditch the stress, and learn how to reduce Pitta in both mind and body by eating this foundation of Ayurvedic lifestyle and diet.


What Is Kitchari Exactly?


It’s split, washed (meaning the green husk is removed) mung dal (little beans), aromatic white basmati rice, and spices (aka digestive supporting herbs that taste yummy) that combine to create the Ayurvedic healing meal.


Kitchari is plant based and gluten free.


Why use white basmati rice?


Simple--because it is easy to digest. When we're cleansing, foods need to be as easy to digest as possible to give the digestive system a rest, to break down the food well, so the body can use the energy it saves for rejuvenation and repair.

There are alternatives used in preparing kitchari depending on individual needs such as brown rice, oats, quinoa, barley, etc., but white basmati is the grain typically used.


bowl of uncooked split washed mung beans

Why use washed, split mung (moong) dal (dahl)? Split washed mung is used because it to is easy to digest. Using only the inner part of the mung bean, it has dry and astringent qualities supporting the cleansing effect. The astringent quality draws out toxins (ama) from the digestive tract lining. The fiber of mung dal and basmati rice aid in the removal of toxins out of the body.


White basmati rice combined with mung dal has all the amino acids to create a complete protein. That's a nutritionally powerful combination and it provides ample energy. Cleansing with kitchari is nourishing, rejuvenating--not depleting and energy zapping.



woman balancing on rocks


How Do I Know If I Have a Dosha Imbalance?


Peruse these comprehensive and convenient lists of signs and symptoms of dosha imbalances.


As we are all comprised of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, there can be an imbalance in any of the doshas, or a combination of dosha imbalances. Read all three lists and see if anything looks familiar.

colorful Ayurveda spices in spoons

What is the role of spices in kitchari?

Spices make food taste delicious, and they are digestive herbs that boost digestion. Which spices are supportive for each individual varies. Under the ingredient list, you'll find spices that support Pitta digestion.


glass jar and wooden spoon with ghee

What's the role of ghee in kitchari?

Ghee balances the digestive fire. Which oil is best to cook with depends on one's Ayurvedic constitution and current symptoms. Ghee is a good cleansing option for most people. (Use small amounts for a short period if high cholesterol is an issue.)


Vegetables can be added to kitchari for flavor and fiber.


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How to Make Ayurveda Kitchari  image of beautiful spices

This nourishing, cleansing and easy to digest dish needs to be as dynamic as we are. As the dance of the doshas shifts, so may our kitchari change with the season, as part of an Ayurvedic cleanse, or to address a specific concern (lung kitchari, as an example).

For kitchari to optimally do its work, it needs to be simple, appealing, balancing to Vata, Pitta and Kapha doshas, aligned for you, the season, where you live, and tailored to your current condition. All of that’s good news because it means more variety.

Here are five tips to kick start your kitchari creativity.

1. Flip Flop Ratios

Washed split moong dal and basmati are the traditional ingredients. Both are easy to digest and soothing the digestive tract. It is the combination of the rice and dal that supports Ayurvedic cleansing. Most kitchari recipes consist of 1 cup rice to ½ cup dal. Let’s be flexible about what this can look like. Sometimes we need a soupier kitchari and other times a heartier, thicker version. Ask yourself what you need and take it from there. Recovering from a seasonal bug? Appetite gone too low? Go for a lighter, soupier version.

Choose more rice and you will create a kitchari that is more like rice pudding. This is even more easily digestive and provides your digestive fire a chance to reset.

Opt for more dal and your kitchari is loaded with protein and fiber. Make sure your digestive fire is strong and more fire is needed to break down this protein packed version. A protein rich version of kitchari may be used towards the end of a Home Guided Cleanse when the digestive fire is burning strong.

2. Try quinoa or a rice and basmati quinoa combination

Quinoa is an ancient seed chocked full of nutrients. It’s a compete protein providing all essential amino acids. If you haven’t tried quinoa before, you may really enjoy this nutty seed food. Energetically it is somewhat warming, nutrient dense and light—making it supportive for all three doshas. Quinoa Kitchari recipes are available on the internet—remember to make it your own using modifications what best suit you, now.

3. Cook your veggies separately from your kitchari Cook your rice, dal, best oil and savory spice mix to the consistency and ratios that are most supportive for you at this time. Switch things up and keep the veggies out. Cooking your veggies separately will keep them livelier in terms of texture.


4. Toppings. Garnish. Whatever you call it-just do it

Just like with a good pizza, it’s about the toppings, isn’t it? Toppings add texture, flavor and health benefits. If you are cooking for a group, start with tridoshic kitchari, and each person can top their bowl with garnishes that customize the meal so it’s maximally beneficial for them.

  • Vata: Squeeze of lime, salt, fresh ginger, ghee, coriander chutney

  • Pitta: Fresh cilantro, coconut flakes, ghee, coriander chutney

  • Kapha: Squeeze of lime, fresh ginger, ghee, coriander chutney


silhouette of three woman representing vata, pitta, amd kapha


Explore the Saumya Online Recipe Blog-Selected Top Ayurveda Recipe Blogs.


How to Make Ayurveda Kitchari  image cilantro


  1. May lower blood sugar. High blood sugar levels increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

  2. Rich in immune boosting antioxidants.

  3. May lower heart disease risks.

  4. Anti-inflammatory properties may protect against brain diseases.

  5. Supports healthy gut and digestion.


glass jar with homemade cilantro chutney

Ayurvedic Cilantro Chutney


Health Benefits according to Ayurveda: Clears ama from the system. May remove heavy metals. Improves digestion. Make fresh and may be enjoyed daily.


1. ½ c chopped fresh cilantro, wash thoroughly

2. ¼ teaspoon Hawaiian Red Alaea Sea Salt

3. Fresh juice from ½ lime

4. ¼ cup water

5. ¼ cup raisins

6. ¼ teaspoon your Saumya savory spice mix

7. 1/3 cup raw cashews

8. Blend together in a small Cuisinart or Magic Bullet


colorful Ayurveda herbs

5. Herbs

Spice is the variety of life. Use your custom Saumya spice mix, return to the spice list on your food program and come up with your own dosha balancing mixes. Digestive herbs (aka spices) used correctly, support a balanced digestive fire that turns your meal into absorbable nutrition that detoxifies and heals. Mediterranean blends, garam masala, kitchari mixes. There’s no end to the possibilities

Have some fun. Get creative. If you’ve been feeling stuck in a rut, here’s the cure.


Make sure your spices are fresh. For dried herbs and spices, the shelf life is about a year, although the exact length depends on the quality of the spice (how fresh was it at the time of purchase) and how the spice has been stored. Rancid, depleted spices should be replaced. Spices are digestive herbs that helps us digest, assimilate and eliminate foods properly which, according to Ayurveda, is fundamental to good health.


Unlocking the Secrets of Ayurvedic Kitchari: A Step-by-Step Recipe Guide is easy. You can change it up every time so no two pots are the same.


colorful wood blocks spelling out helpful tips

Make sure your spices are fresh. Remember, these spices are digestive herbs so quality counts. For dried herbs and spices, the shelf life is about a year, although the exact length depends on the quality of the spice (how fresh was it at the time of purchase) and how the spice has been stored.


Rancid, depleted spices should be replaced. Spices are digestive herbs that helps us digest, assimilate and eliminate foods properly which, according to Ayurveda, is fundamental to good health.


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Read and watch our client's stories. “Veena possesses a wealth of intuitive knowledge about the subtle influences of the natural and psychical forces Ayurveda obtained by years of intensive meditative practice.

She has developed a keen awareness of the healing powers of plants, as both food and medicinal herbs.

This powerful combination of yoga practice and experience allows Veena to provide an effective path of healing tailored especially for you. You are in good hands with Veena.” – Hame Persaud, Executive Vice President, HP Ingredients, Florida


 

“Veena is a knowledgeable and experienced Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner. Over the years, she has helped many of my therapy clients, particularly those for whom allopathic approach to treatment was insufficient. She treats the whole person in terms of Ayurvedic diet, lifestyle, and the many options for cleansing and herbal treatment. Veena’s products and services are made with knowledge, care but also a selfless compassion for other’s suffering. In Veena you will find both skill and care. “

--Dr. Stephen Parker, Adjunct Professor, St. Mary’s University, Minneapolis, Minnesota


 

“It is with great pleasure that I write this review! Working with Veena has remarkably changed my life – even in the places I was unaware that it demanded to be changed! Throughout the course of four months, Veena’s gentle and succinct approach allowed me to easily refine my routines into a more structured foundation that left me feeling more in graceful governance with myself – emotionally and physically.


Not only had she brought forth awareness in how I prepare/relate to the food I eat, but she also prescribed me wonderful herbs to help calm my anxiety, detox my liver, and heal the ugly night sweats I’ve been experiencing due to hormonal imbalances.


Lastly, her guided meditations are a great grounding force, and I have since continued to explore the euphoric benefits of Yoga Nidra.


Veena is a well of divine knowledge, and her humor and light will be eternally appreciated!”

--Rachel Monson, Wisconsin


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Creating a relaxed mind before eating is key to good digestion, absorption, and elimination. Perform our 2-minute meditation (or make it one minute if needed), before your meals and snacks. It relaxes the nervous system, is grounding, and having a calm mind is the first step to good digestion and enjoying your food.


There is a saying, "The mind is more in the body, than the body is in the mind." The Saumya 3 step meditation process shifts us from fight-flight-freeze mode, to rest-restore-relax mode. Give it a try for forty days and observe the changes. The more grounded and relaxed we are, the smoother life flows.


"The breath is the connection between the mind and body, so by training the breath, we become calm, focused, and grounded, we slow down the aging process by decreasing stress. These practices are so simple and easy to have as part of our daily life. We actually feel and look younger."

- Veena, Saumya Ayurveda


1. Learn Diaphragmatic Breathing and Change Your Life. When we re-learn to breath diaphragmatically, we move from the flight-fight-freeze mode, to rest, restore, relaxation mode from where we want and need to live.


2. Free Daily Guided Practices: 11 minutes in the morning and in the evening, as anchors of your daily Ayurveda routine.




"Choose a couple of practices from the Ayurveda routines that provide you with the greatest support. Perform them while applying our two minute meditation technique and your mundane tasks, just transformed into a mellifluous meditation. This is meditation applied to daily life." - Veena, Saumya Ayurveda

 

"Veena was able to help me regain my energy in just a few months and I’m feeling like my “young” self again! I love the food plan she designed for me, and all the supporting practices (am/pm routines, breathing techniques, herbs, and spice mixes) are so enjoyable to incorporate into my day. I highly recommend Saumya Ayurveda if you want to feel better and have more vitality.”

-Molly Rossini, Minnesota



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We all want to be heard, understood, and cared for as whole beings, not a set of isolated symptoms. True health is more than the absence of disease, which is why Western medicine so often leaves us feeling hopeless and unseen.


Deep down, you already know what you’re searching for: a new framework for living – one that brings your entire being back into balance. With Saumya Ayurveda, you’ll receive individualized guidance to create the physically, mentally, and spiritually vibrant life you crave.


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Veena is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and meditation teacher, and monk.


She is President Emeritus and teaching faculty of the Meditation Center.


Veena fell in love with the traditional medicine used in her family’s home, learning herbal remedies at her grandmother's knee.


These childhood experiences were the seeds of a lifelong passion. For over 30 years, Veena has dedicated her life to the world’s oldest healing system: Ayurveda.


She draws on this ancient wisdom to help others find their compass to a healthy life – and support those left wanting by Western medicine.


An experienced Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, Veena’s deep, intuitive knowledge of Ayurveda empowers her clients to reclaim their fullest, most vibrant lives –mentally, physically, and spiritually. Veena individualizes treatment plans to each person, rather than offering a one-size-fits-all approach, so it fits your life and becomes woven in your lifestyle, naturally.



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