Few things bring me more joy in the morning than a nice hot bowl of kitchari. I was first introduced to this aromatic dish at a visit to the Kripalu Center in Lenox, MA and it turned out to be the highlight of the trip. Since that time I have made many variations of kitchari and experimented with different spice blends etc. The recipe I am sharing here is the best of the best of all my tinkering.
Kitchari is a combination of rice and lentils with spices and is very easy to digest making it a great candidate for cleanse diets as well as a daily staple. Some people choose to do a “kitchari cleanse” which is considered to be effective in giving your digestive system a break so it can repair and eliminate built up toxins and waste. Be aware that kitchari is low in fiber and can be constipating, so be sure to get your recommended amount of fiber along with this dish if you do decide to do a cleanse.
The most important step in preparing the kitchari is blooming the spices in oil (there is a specific name for this process but I can not remember what it is and google wont help me!). Heat the ghee (or coconut oil if you are vegan… unless you are a ghee-gan… which means you are vegan in every way as long as its not ghee!!) and when it liquifies add in the mustard seeds. Saute on medium and cover until the seeds begin to pop, then add in the remaining spices and ginger.
Add 5 cups of vegetable broth (or water) to a pot along with the rice and the dal and bring the mixture to a boil. Once the water, rice and dal are boiling reduce the heat to simmer and cook covered for about 20 minutes and add in any vegetables you may like along with the oil and spices. I am a big fan of carrots but you can use anything. Replace the lid and continue to simmer until the grains have absorbed all of the water and have cooked through.
Have you every made kitchari? Have you ever done a kitchari cleanse? Do you have any recipes or tricks you would like to share? Bring it on!