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Pitta Kitchari: The Perfect Meal for Cleansing and Cooling Your Body

Updated: Apr 26

Kitchari is a perfect food--and it is food as medicine at its best. Kitchari provides the digestive system a much-needed vacation because it's easy to digest, cleansing, nourishing, and it balances all three doshas. Ready to learn about what kitchari is and how to detox Ayurveda style? Let’s dig in!

Ayurvedic Recipe: Vata Soothing Kichari for cleansing and grounding

Explore more on the Saumya Blog, selected top Ayurveda blogs and websites to watch.


Pitta Cooling Kitchari


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.


Wondering if you have a Pitta imbalance? Check out our Hot List of Common Pitta Imbalances


split washed mung dal

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.


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spoons with colorful spices

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 d varies. Under the ingredient list, you'll find spices that support Pitta digestion.


glass jar and wooden spoon of ghee

What's the role of ghee in kitchari?

Ghee balances the digestive fire without aggravating Pitta, so it's perfect for Pitta kitchari. Ghee soothes the digestive tract, oleates it (coats it), and counter balancing dryness and heat in the body.


Vegetables can be added to kitchari for flavor, fiber, and Pitta cooling qualities.


Energetically cooling foods reduce Pitta-- heat in the body and mind. Learn how to eat and drink your way into better dosha balance. Click here for more about Cooling Foods in Ayurveda.


Explore more: Pitta Dosha Guide


close up of basmati rice, mung bean, and cilantro

What Are The Benefits of Kitchari?


Kitchari is the Ayurvedic healing meal. Kitchari provides many benefits, and it is a key Ayurveda food as medicine tool. It is healing to the digestive system, it's cleansing, and it's balancing to all three doshas- Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.



How Is Kitchari Cleansing?

  • The ingredients are easy to digest

  • The astrigent quality draws out toxins (ama) from the digestive system

  • Kitchari improves digestion, absorption, and elimination (in other words, it optimizes the whole digestive sytsem)

  • Kitchari spices support healthy agni (digestive fire)

  • Kitchari helps remove toxins (ama)

 

"Think of kitchari as a mouth-watering, porridge-like thick soup, that double as a healthy, cleansing comfort food. It doesn't get better than that!"

-Veena, Saumya Ayurveda


This article is focused on Pitta cooling kitchari. For our Vata grounding kitchari, click here, and for our Kapha invigorating kitchari, here you go.


Bowl of Pitta cooling kitchari

Ingredients:


  • ½ cup white basmati rice

  • 1 cup organic yellow (washed meaning the green husk has been removed) split mung dal

  • 2 tablespoons ghee

  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds

  • 1 teaspoons cumin seeds

  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

  • ½ teaspoon of Hawaiian Red Alaea Sea Salt (mineral rich)

  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder

  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric

  • Or, use your custom Pitta Savory Churna from your Saumya Ayurveda plan

  • 1 stick of kombu (seaweed—you can substitute a little wakame—one “leaf” per pot of soup) *If you don't have any on hand, don't sweat it. Try it in your next pot.

  • 6 cups of water

  • If you want to include vegetables, use 1–2 cups chopped vegetables from your custom Saumya Pitta food program.

  • Or, look to suggestions from our Pitta Cooling Foods.

Instructions:

  • Wash rice and split washed yellow mung dal.

  • Soak for about three hours. Drain and rinse the dal and rice well.

  • If you have an Instapot use the pressure cooking setting.

  • If you have a pressure cooker, use that.

  • Otherwise, in a pot, warm ghee over heat until it melts.  

  • Add the spices and coat them with the ghee, sauté for about a minute. (If you have seaweed, now is the time to add it.)

  • Next, add rice and mung and sauté for a few minutes ensuring they are coated with the ghee and spices.

  • If you’re using vegetables, add them now and sauté for a minute.

  • Now add 6 cups of water and bring it all to a boil.

  • Reduce heat to medium-low.

  • Cover and cook until everything is (really) tender and brothy, porridge like consistency. (approx. 30–45 minutes).

  • Add more water to prevent scorching, if needed.

  • Garnish with fresh cilantro, squeeze on some fresh lime, sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes, and add salt to taste.

  • Use our delicious cilantro chutney. It's perfect to pair with Pitta Cooling Kitchari.


cilantro chutney


Ayurvedic Cilantro Chutney


Health Beneifts 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


fresh cilantro

Benefits of 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


wooden blocks saying helpful tips

Make sure your spices are fresh. Remember, these spices are digiestive 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.


image of Selected Best Ayurveda recipe blog and website to follow 2023


Selected top Ayurveda recipe blogs, check out more kitchari recipes:

Vata Soothing Kitchari: Cleansing and Grounding image desk wtih notepad saying client testimonials

“I feel so lucky to have found Veena. Her care and diligence have really made a positive difference in my wellbeing in ways that I never even expected. She is careful to not cause overwhelm when prescribing lifestyle changes and I’ve found that even the simple changes make a difference. Her excitement about Ayurveda is infectious and I’m excited to continue my healing with her as a guide.”

--Sophia Keller

 

“All is well here thanks to Veena and my Saumya Ayurveda plan which has been gently integrated in my daily routines. I love to start my day with cooked apples, detox tea and herbs. Your 2-Minute Meditation throughout the day helps a lot as well. Being gentle with myself is such a great help.”

-E.A., North Carolina

 

“Veena is a treasure of wisdom, support, and encouragement. I have made such progress since working with Veena. Her advice is transformational. In every single conversation and email I learned such valuable information and gained tools that are helping me be my best and healthiest self. I am so grateful I discovered Veena and took the leap to work with her.”

-Jenny Hubbard, New Jersey

 

“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


Saumya Ayurveda's 3 steps for transforming your daily life with image of a woman by a lake

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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Discover the Saumya Ayurveda Way


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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Our practice model is client focused, we’re not in the retail herb business. We’ll guide you where to order herbs directly online. Our top-shelf Ayurveda oils and herbalized ghees are the best in the land and we’ll ship your care package right to your doorstep.


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Vata Soothing Kitchari: Cleansing and Grounding image Veena at Saumya Ayurveda

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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