Sometimes called khichdi, kitchadi, kitchari, kitcheree or khichri is a famous one-pot wonder that combines rice and mung beans. Its best known in Ayurvedic tradition as a cleansing and complete meal. Kitchari is very easy to digest, and super easy to make!
Kitchari is not only very tasty, it contains all of the 6 tastes, being: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. Having all of the 6 tastes in one meal is wonderfully wholesome for the body, as all of the tissues are being nourished and the complete digestive tract is supported. You can find more on the 6 tastes in my previous article. Kitchari is easy to digest and allows your digestive system a break from it's busy functioning in everyday life.
Our digestion is at the core of human health. Ever heard of the gut-brain axis? Having a healthy intestinal flora promotes physical and mental wellbeing, happiness and supports the body in self-healing. Digestion and health are not only about what you eat, how you digest food is just as important. True health depends on how your body absorbs and assimilates nutrients from the right foods. You can eat the best nutrition, but if your body cannot digest it properly, you will not fully benefit from it. You probably know the saying "you are what you eat" but in Ayurveda we prefer to say:
"You are what you can digest”
A strong and stable digestive fire allows for the daily digestion of waste materials or unassimilated food, called ama. The formation of Ama is a normal process in digestion. However if your digestion is not working optimally, the ama can not be eliminated properly and will stay in the body. This potentially causes all sorts of health problems.
So go ahead and bring Kitchari into your life, as a balancing meal, or maybe you become inspired to do a mono-diet for a few days. Taking 1-7 days of exclusively eating kitchari gives the digestive organs a serious break. If you do, make sure to prepare your body properly by omitting all processed foods (Yes.. also wine and coffee) from your diet a few days before the start.
There are a million recipes for making kitchari out there. I like to keep it simple and quick ;-)
Here is one of my favorite versions:
serves 3-4 persons
Melt 2 tablespoons of ghee, sesame oil or coconut oil (depending on season or your needs)
Fry a teaspoon each of cumin seeds and black mustard seeds in the oil.
When you hear the seeds pop, add 3 cm of fresh ginger and a pinch of hing (asafoetida)
Then stir in 1/2-1 teaspoon each of ground coriander and curcuma.
Add the yellow split mung beans (ca. 100gr) and stir.
Add water until the beans are under water and boil the mixture for 10 minutes
Add 200 gr. basmati rice or quinoa
Add more water, salt and bring to a boil
Let it boil for 10-15 minutes
Stir in the veggies and boil until they are done.
Cover the pot and let it sit for 10 minutes more.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
I love love love to eat this with lots of fresh coriander, or parsley. In the winter, add a squeeze of lemon juice which is warming, and in the summer replace the lemon with lime, which is cooling. Another great addition is some roasted sesame seeds, especially beneficial in autumn and early winter.
Personally we like to use quite a lot of spices. If you use the recipe for a mono-diet cleanse, or if your pitta is aggravated, be more gentle with the spices. You can omit the mustard seeds and the hing when you have too much heat in the body and replace them with for example fennel.