The first time I learned of Kitchari was in 1999 when we first moved to California from Maine.

“It’s delicious and nutritious,” said the guy behind Dharma’s counter (a quintessential California vegetarian dive). It was one of the two soups offered that day, and it came with a salad and their infamous tahini dressing. So, I ordered it not knowing what it would taste like.

Not surprisingly, I loved it.

Kitchari is a warm, fragrant, flavorful soup that is super easy to enjoy. I have ordered it many more times since then, at various places. I have also made it at home a bunch. And just last week, we were back at Dharma’s and I ordered it again for old time sake.

It was just as I remembered it. Warm, fragrant, and flavorful.

Many years have past since my first bowl of kitchari. I still don’t know much about Ayurveda Medicine (since my specialty leans toward Chinese medicine), but I do know that kitchari plays a very important role in Ayurvedic healing. 

Ayurveda is a traditional healing modality originated in India. It believes that all healing begins in the digestive system. If we are not digesting properly, our whole system will be out of balance and we will be prone to illness.

My latest bowl of Kitchari from Dharma’s restaurant

 

Kitchari is the chosen Ayurvedic prescription for cleansing. This one dish resets the entire system (a little bit like chicken soup in the U.S. — the soup that heals all).

Kitchari is a simple dish made of mung beans, rice and healing spices. It takes no more than 20 minutes to make and you can double or triple the recipe for several days of kitchari detox.

I am currently getting Ayurvedic consultation with Betty Brown who is completing her Ayurvedic studies. It is exciting to be learning about my own body via a whole different medical system!

For my Spring Clean Eating Reset, I thought it would be fun to try something a little different. And why not bring in the healing Kitchari?!

I will, for the most part, let Betty guide us through this Ayurvedic Spring Detox. It is supposed to be super gentle and cleansing and good for Spring Allergies (I am particularly excited to see if my hay fever will be more manageable after the detox!) and most digestive and autoimmune issues.

 

The Spring Detox will be a 7-day Reset, from April 16 – April 22.

 

Join us! If you are not already a part of my Clean Eating Reset group, go ahead and sign up here.

This Detox will be FREE to join and participate. You can get all the ingredients for Kitchari making at Bexley Natural Market (if you are local). You are also encouraged to join our Detox Workshop on April 22 at Bexley Yoga Studio for the grand finale of the Spring Detox.

Let’s reset together this Spring and work toward a happier, healthier rest of the year!

****

 

Kitchari Recipe from Betty Brown

INGREDIENTS

  • 1⁄4 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1⁄2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 small pinch garlic powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp rock salt *Note: You can use 1 Tablespoon of Kitchari Spice Mix instead of the above.
  • 2-3 TBS ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 cup split yellow mung dal, rinsed well and drain.
  • 1 cup white basmati rice, rinsed well and drained
  • 4-5 thin slices of fresh ginger root
  • 2-3 cups of seasonal greens and produce
  • 6 cups of water

Instructions:  *Using a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the ghee on medium heat.

*Sautee the Kitchari Spice Mix or just the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and ground garlic powder.   

*Add the drained mung dal, turmeric, and salt and stir until the mix almost starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.

*Add the rice, water, cumin powder, coriander powder, and ginger.

*Bring the mixture to boil on high heat, then cover the pot and turn the heat down and let it simmer untilboth the rice and dal are mushy (approximately 30-45 minutes).  

*Add water as needed to prevent scorching. The consistency should be that of a thick vegetable stew.

 *You may have to experiment with the amount of water you use to find the right consistency for you (the more water, the thinner the consistency).   

*You may also choose to add some of your favorite vegetables half way through the cooking process.

GARNISHES: Try these garnishes for added flavor.• Coconut (great for pitta, good for vata, best to avoid for kapha) • Cilantro (great for pitta, okay for vata and kapha)• Lime (great for everyone!)

VARIATIONS: Consider adding variety to your kitchari with these options for different textures and flavors. *Cook the dal in the same way as above, but cook the rice separately. This will give you a soupy dal to add to your rice, which is better formed and not as mushy. *Change the proportions of dal and rice. Add more dal and less rice for a heavier, protein-rich kitchari. Add more rice and less dal for a lighter, easier to digest kitchari.    *Play with the amount of water. Adding more water (to the point that it is like a thin soup) is ideal for very weak digestion. Less water can give you a more solid dish that is heartier and more filling.       *Be creative and use different grains and dals (whole mung dal, split green mung dal, or red lentils). You can use different grains (such as quinoa, amaranth, barley) depending on what is good for your doshic type.