Cleansing Ayurvedic Kitchari
Kitchari is a classic Ayurvedic recipe that is easy to digest and used as a cleansing dish. It’s the Indian version of chicken noodle soup, and is often the dish reached for in times of illness because of how nourishing and healing it is.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your food choices, something is up with your digestion, of you just feel like you need a reset: cue the kitchari cleanse. A typical kitchari cleanse is a mono-fast that involves eating only kitchari for each meal- as well as herbal teas and water, prioritising sleep, warm epsom baths, and minimizing the use of all technology for 3, 7, or 10 days. A reset for the mind/ body/ spirit. Even a single day can be a nice reset for the digestive system.
There are a million variations of kitchari on the web and in recipe books…so this recipe will make it a million and one. You can’t really go wrong- the anti-inflamatory spice blends tend to be quite similar in all recipes online, and I suggest using seasonal vegetables to bulk up your dish. Note that my version technically disqualifies the recipe from even being a kitchari because it doesn’t contain rice. I opted for gut healing, mineral-rich bone broth instead of just water, and I for cauliflower instead of white rice. I also sneaked in a few extra goodies like miso, and medicinal mushroom reishi.
Be mindful your own body’s needs. The reason I swapped out rice for cauliflower is foremost that I am always trying to manage my blood glucose because of my history of PCOS (a metabolic syndrome). I’ve been craving cruciferous veggies recently, so cauliflower makes for a great option; for others- cauliflower (and cruciferous veggies in general) can cause stomach distress.
Cleansing Ayurvedic Kitchari
6-10 cups of organic bone broth (make your own using THIS recipe)
1 cup of organic mung beans (whole) - I got mine pre-sprouted
1 cup of organic split mung bean (aka moong dal) OR split click pea (aka chana dal)
1 tablespoon organic, traditionally fermented miso paste
3 tablespoons organic grass-fed ghee OR organic coconut oil OR organic toasted sesame oil
1-2 inch fresh organic ginger, grated
1 tsp whole organic black mustard seeds
1 tsp whole organic coriander seeds
1 tsp whole organic cumin seeds
1 tbsp organic turmeric powder
1 tsp organic cumin powder
1 tsp wildcrafted, dual extracted reishi powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp organic ceylon cinnamon (optional, but suggested if in cooler season)
1/4 tsp organic black pepper
1/4 tsp organic clove powder
a tiiiiiiny pinch (about 1/4 tsp) asafoetida (also known as hing) powder
6-7 cups of local, organic, seasonal vegetables. I used:
1/3 large organic celery (chopped)
4-5 stocks organic collard greens (chopped)
2-3 cups organic cauliflower (“riced”)
2 tbsp organic coconut cream
fresh organic coriander (to garnish)
dollop of organic coconut kefir yogurt (to garnish)
fresh lime juice (to garnish)
First soak your beans for 12-24 hours, in filtered water. I personally used pre-sprouted mung beans for even better digestibility, but I still soaked them the night before.
Place your soaked beans in a sieve, and rinse them thoroughly, and set aside.
Chop all your chosen veggies now so everything is ready to put in the pot; if your cauliflower is whole, either grate it or use the food processor shredding fixture. Set them all aside.
In a large, sturdy pot- heat all the coconut oil on medium heat, and add in all whole spices (mustard, coriander, cumin seeds). Stir with a wooden spoon until the seeds start to “pop,” this releases aromatics and really develops the flavour.
Once the seeds start to pop, add in the rest of the spices (except for the salt), and stir right away for about 10- 20 seconds to avoid them from burning.
Add in a cup of your bone broth, and stir; then add the mung beans (whole, and split), the miso, coconut cream, and vegetables.
Add in the rest of your bone broth, the liquid should sumberge all the contents of your kitchari. For a more soup-y kitchari you can add more liquid, for a thicker stew keep the liquid leveled with the contents.
Bring the pot to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cook on a low simmer for 50 minutes with the top uncovered, stirring occasionally. Add the salt at the very end.
Serve with a dollop of coconut yogurt (or kefir), some fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.
A traditional kitchari contains rice instead of cauliflower “rice”- and this does serve a specific purpose when it comes to Ayurvedic cleansing. First of all it’s the combination of legume and rice that forms a “complete” vegetarian protein. Second of all, rice is much easier to digest for some than (especially) cauliflower. Some people are pretty adamant about the names of these traditional dishes (dal vs. kitchari, etc), but it is what it is. Feel free to use white basmati rice (1 cup) instead of the cauliflower, but make sure you soak it overnight, like the mung beans!
If you’re cleansing for multiple days, remember to soak your mung beans continuously so that they’re prepared for the next batch. When you’re running low on kitchari, make sure you soak them the night before so that they’re ready the following morning.
Be mindful of your own body’s needs- feel free to swap any vegetables that best suit your needs. Easy to digest veggies include: carrots, celery, green beans, summer squash, sweet potato, winter squash, or zucchini.