A combination of cooked white basmati rice and split mung has been shared through centuries as a simple and nourishing way to heal your body and mind. This is kitchadi – Ayurveda’s healing food.
Why does kitchadi heal? First, the rice, mung and (optional) vegetables offer balanced nourishment for your body. Second, by adding spices, like cumin and ginger, the meal becomes cleansing, balanced and satisfying. Finally – and most importantly – by gently cooking the ingredients together to a soupy consistency, the meal is easily digestible, which gives your body a break and restores the natural strength of agni, digestive fire.
Rejuvenate with a five-day kitchadi cleanse
A five-day kitchadi cleanse is a simple and balanced way to bring healing to your entire being. It’s a gentler and more simple approach than panchakarma and can be a great entry point if you’re new to Ayurveda. Panchakarma is a series of deep treatments that reverse the disease process and provide a reset for your body, mind and soul.
It begins with dinacharya
For the kitchadi cleanse to be truly effective, it is important to commit to a dinacharya - or daily routine - that will support the cleansing process.
Here is a sample dinacharya:
We’ve posted seven recipes below to get you started on your own kitchadi cleanse. Once you are familiar with the basic recipe, get creative.
Here are some simple tips:
Plain kitchadi recipe
The most basic form of kitchadi is simply rice, split mung and ghee, with no vegetables and a few spices for easier digestion. This is best if you are recovering from illness, injury or surgery. Try a day or two with plain kitchadi to support agni - your digestive fire - and work your way up to simple kitchadi with vegetables.
½ tsp. cumin seeds
½ tsp. coriander seeds
½ tsp. brown mustard seeds
2 tbs. ghee
1 cup basmati rice
1/2 cup split mung beans (if split is not available, use whole and cook well)
1 strip kombu cut into small pieces
6-8 cups water, more as needed
1/8 tsp. asafoetida
1 tsp. rock salt
½ Tbs. fresh grated ginger root
½ tsp. turmeric, fresh or powder
¼ tsp. cardamom
Simmer all of the spices and salt in the ghee until the aroma comes up. Add rice, split mung, and kombu. Stir together for a couple of minutes. Add water and simmer for 45 minutes in a covered pot on the stove. If you are using a pressure cooker, bring to pressure and cook for 18 minutes, allowing the pressure to come down naturally.
Let sit for 5 minutes so the tastes can become friends. Serve warm and enjoy.
Simple kitchadi recipe with vegetables
This is similar to the plain version but includes augmenting and extractive vegetables. You can enhance the digestibility by adding a teaspoon of oregano.
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. brown mustard seeds
3 Tbs. ghee
½ cup basmati rice
¼ cup split mung beans (if split is not available, use whole and cook well)
1 strip kombu cut into small pieces
6 cups water, more as needed
1/8 tsp. asafoetida
1 tsp. rock salt
1 Tbs. fresh grated ginger root
1 tsp. turmeric, fresh or powder
½ tsp. cardamom
3 - 4 cups freshly chopped veggies, including 60% augmenting vegetables and 40% extractive vegetables (see our handy guide for a list).
Simmer the salt, cumin, coriander, and brown mustard seeds in half of the ghee until the aroma comes up. Add rice, split mung, and kombu. Stir together for a couple of minutes. Add 4 cups water and simmer for 45 minutes in a pot on the stove. If you are using a pressure cooker, bring to pressure and cook for 18 minutes. Allow the pressure to come down naturally.
Put the remaining ghee in a small pan on medium heat. Add salt, ginger root, asafoetida, turmeric and cardamom. Simmer the spices for a few minutes until the aroma comes up; then add the vegetables and a little water. Simmer gently with the lid on until veggies are slightly soft. Add to rice and mung, stir thoroughly and let sit for at 5 minutes so the tastes can blend. Serve warm.
The kidneys are important organs since they are responsible for metabolizing all liquids. Stress can put a lot of strain on the kidneys so this version is ideal if you are trying to find balance during stressful periods or want to calm vata dosha. This is a good option for dehydration, overhydration or during or after a urinary tract infection.
Use the simple recipe and substitute adzuki beans for split mung. Soak beans in advance for at least 6 hours. Increase asafoetida to ½ tsp., add ¼ tsp. fennel seeds, 2 bay leaves, 3 curry leaves, 1/8 tsp. cinnamon, and ¾ tsp ground rock salt. Leave out the ginger. Add 8-10 inches of chopped burdock root. Use 2 tablespoons dried burdock root if fresh is not available.
The liver and gall bladder are two other important organs for removing toxins from the blood and supporting good digestion. Try this liver kitchadi if you are recovering from exposure to toxins or stress or have excess pitta dosha.
Use simple recipe, but substitute equal amounts barley for rice. When adding water, add 6-8 inches fresh burdock root, 1 chopped parsnip, and 1 Tbs. chopped dandelion root (substitute dry if fresh is not available). Use broccoli or dark leafy greens for the extractive veggie and whatever augmenting veggie is available and appealing.
Liver/gall bladder kitchadi
Sweet potato kitchadi
A nourishing and delicious kitchadi, great for grounding vata dosha and warming both vata and kapha doshas.
Use the simple recipe and increase ginger to 3 Tbs. Add 2 Tbs. shredded coconut, ½ cup cilantro, 4 green cardamom pods, 11 black peppercorns, 3 inches cinnamon stick, 3 bay leaves, and 4 whole cloves. For vegetables, use 1-2 large cubed sweet potatoes and greens, such as kale or collards.
Blend the ginger, turmeric, cilantro, and coconut in blender. Add to ghee with other spices in the beginning, then add this mixture to rice and split mung. If it is summer or you tend toward excess pitta, decrease the peppercorn, cinnamon and clove by half or more. This is a particularly nice recipe from autumn through spring.
A great summertime kitchadi that balances pitta dosha.
Use simple recipe and add 6–10 inches of fresh burdock root, 1–2 cups green beans, 1 tsp. fennel seeds. Leave out the ginger.
Good for balancing vata dosha. A great option for a kitchadi cleanse during vata season (September – January) or any time you feel anxious, flighty or cold. To reduce excess kapha dosha, use this same recipe and reduce the amount of ghee.
Use the simple recipe, but increase the cardamom to ¾ tsp. Add ½ tsp. black peppercorns, 1 large bay leaf, ¾ tsp. cinnamon, and ¼ tsp. clove powder or 2 whole cloves. After cooking all of the spices in ghee, place in a blender and grind thoroughly before adding to kitchadi.
If this is your first time doing a kitchadi cleanse or if you are new to Ayurveda, we recommend starting with an Ayurvedic health consultation. This will give you a better sense of your imbalances and how you can build a five-day kitchadi cleanse to bring you to your natural state of health.
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