This Ayurvedic Kitchari is made with split lentils, rice, and warming spices. The perfect savoury and nourishing porridge, you might know it as the anglicized kedgeree, or even Khichri, but it all boils down to the same thing. Vegan kitchari is delicious as breakfast or a light dinner, and the ultimate feel-good food.
Make this when you're not feeling your best (the spices are great for a stuffy nose!) or anytime you want a good legume-packed energy boost. If you're a fan of savoury porridge, try my Simple Ginger Dal, Quinoa Congee, or Creamy Steel Cut Oats with chard and pine nuts.
You'll need several spices to make this recipe, but once you get them, you can make kitchari at home again and again. The other dry ingredients are easy to find and the vegetables used can be switched up as you'd like!
- Moong Dal: aka split mung beans. Find these at any South Asian grocer and in many grocery stores.
- Spices: you'll need cumin, fennel, and mustard seeds, ground turmeric, chili flakes, and ground coriander. Fresh ginger is a must and fresh turmeric can replace ground if preferred. Stock up!
- Moong Dal: sub red lentils (whole, if possible) if necessary.
- Brown rice: basmati has the best taste but any short or long grain brown rice will work.
- Mixed vegetables: I prefer cauliflower and carrots, but virtually any vegetables can be used, including frozen.
What is Kitchari?
Kitchari is one of my all-time favourite "healing" foods. A basic meal to Ayurvedic cooking, kitchari is a simple one-pot dish made up of basmati rice and mung beans, that dates back thousands of years.
In Ayurvedic practice, there are three types of dosha (or forces in a body - you can take a test here to find yours) and kitchari is one of the few foods that's supposedly good for all of them. Although this dish is typically eaten during cleanses because of it's high levels of complete proteins, vitamins, and its ability to be easily digested by the body, it can be enjoyed at any time. It's basically India's own chicken noodle soup. Good for the body, mind, and soul.
While I like to eat my kitchari for breakfast (think savoury oatmeal), it can easily be consumed for any meal of the day and is one of those dishes I love having in the fridge for leftovers. I like to add veggies like cauliflower to mine, but feel free to sub whatever you have on hand, or exclude them altogether.
How to Make This Recipe
Step 1: begin by heating the oil in medium. Add the cumin, coriander, fennel, and mustard seeds. Cook over medium heat until the spices become fragrant.
Step 2: next add the ginger, turmeric, rice, lentil, mixed veggies, and water.
Step 3: bring this mixture to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and porridge like, and the rice cooked.
Step 4: season to taste and serve warm with any toppings you'd like.
How to Store
Storage: this can be kept in a sealed container for several days in the refrigerator and gently reheated before serving.
Freezing: while kitchari can be frozen, it's not amazing after thawing, so I don't really recommend it.
- Change up the legume: if you don't have moong dal, use red lentils, which can be found virtually anywhere.
- Any vegetables will work: use whatever veggies you have access too. Try frozen mixed veggies for an easy option!
- Rinse that rice: rinsing removes excess starch, making for the best individual texture of the rice when cooked.
Can you eat kitchari cold?
Definitely! Rather than cold, it's best to serve at room temperature if you don't want to heat it up, for best digestion.
When should I eat kitchari?
It's great for breakfast but some people think it's best to have for lunch or dinner, depending on your personal digestive patterns. You can try it at different times of day to see what's best for you.
Can I eat kitchari everyday?
You can! It's just rice, legumes, and spices, so there's nothing that will harm you if consumed daily – it's just like any other porridge.
More Lentil and Bean Dishes
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Healing Ayurvedic Kitchari
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Medium pot
- Wooden spoon
- 1 cup Moong Dal split mung beans
- ½ cup Brown Basmati Rice rinsed
- 1 tablespoon Oil
- 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds crushed
- 1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
- ½ teaspoon Ground Turmeric
- 1 teaspoon Ground Coriander
- 1 teaspoon Fennel Seeds
- A large 1 Inch Piece of Ginger grated
- 1 ½ cups Mix Veggies I used cauliflower and carrot, chopped small
- 5 cups Water
- 1 teaspoon Sea Salt plus more to taste
- Cilantro and chilli for garnish
- Heat the oil in medium pot and add the cumin, coriander, fennel, and mustard seeds. Cook over medium heat until the spices become fragrant. Add the ginger, turmeric, rice, lentil, mixed veggies, and water.
- Bring this mixture to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and porridge like, and the rice cooked. Season with salt and serve with a handful of cilantro and chilli for garnish.
Thank you SO much for this recipe. I've made it probably close to 10 times at this point now. It is really delicious and tastes healthy and nourishing. I find that this dish really agrees with my body, and it also goes well with a lot of things.
Flavorful recipe! I've made it twice and found I like it with 1Tbsp of cumin (3x) and 2t coriander (2x). I also chop 5 or so garlic cloves along with the ginger in a mini food processor. Next time I think I'll use even less rice. I also find it needs 6 instead of 5 cups of water, not sure why. Thanks for creating a tasty recipe!
Love this! The smoke has been pretty bad here too. I hadn't experienced it before this week but it really is difficult to endure and apocalyptic. Hang in there! Yay for kitchari and thanks for the shout out! P.S. Try adding curry leaves next time...
Awe, thanks a million, Sasha. I can just imagine, you're so close. It's definitely frightening and helps put things in perspective a little. Wishing you the best of health and fresh air soon. I must get my hands on some of those curry leaves 🙂
This looks amazing and wonderfully heartwarming. I have always used to food to heal and lean towards a natural aspect to anything in life. So glad you are doing it too! Looking forward to more recipes like this!
I love your perspective, Denise! You said it perfectly. And thank you ever so much for your support. I hope to do more recipes like this soon 🙂