Simple Kitchari Recipe: Step By Step Guide
Kitchari, a traditional Indian dish, is a timeless comfort food that evokes fond memories of home-cooked meals and family gatherings. This simple yet satisfying dish has been passed down through generations, with each family adding their own unique twist to the recipe. With its aromatic blend of spices and the hearty combination of rice and lentils, kitchari is a dish that brings back fond memories of childhood, family gatherings, and cozy evenings spent indoors. The process of soaking the dal and rice, the sizzling of cumin seeds in ghee, and the familiar scent of turmeric and black pepper are all part of the sensory experience that makes kitchari such a nostalgic and comforting meal. So, let’s soak some rice and dal, fire up the stove, and take a trip down memory lane with this flavorful and wholesome Kitchari recipe.
Kitchari is a traditional Ayurvedic dish that has been a part of Ayurvedic cooking and medicine for centuries. It is a simple one-pot dish made with a unique blend of warming and digestive spices. The main ingredients in kitchari are a combination of rice and split yellow mung beans, or moong dal. This traditional recipe can also include other ingredients such as turmeric, ginger, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, garam masala, and ground coriander, which add to its health benefits and delicious flavor. I tend to keep kithcari simple as shown in the recipe card. Kitchari is a great way to give your digestive tract a much-needed break and enjoy a simple, delicious meal. It is also a part of Panchakarma, an Ayurvedic practice that involves a cleansing process to remove toxins from the body. It is a warming and nourishing meal that is suitable for all doshas, including Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
Kitchari is versatile and can be prepared in different ways, including the traditional Kitchari Recipe, moong dal khichdi, vegan kitchari, or an instant pot kitchari. The cooking process is straightforward, and the recipe card includes instructions for a porridge-like consistency. You can also add seasonal vegetables such as sweet potatoes, green beans, and leafy greens, or use vegetable broth instead of water. Moong dal, also known as Mung beans, is a staple in Indian cuisine with significant cultural and traditional significance. Moong Dal promotes optimal health by stimulating the digestive system, known in Ayurveda as the “digestive fire.” It contains a complete protein and is a good source of amino acids, making it an essential component of the vegetarian diet.
In Ayurvedic cooking, moong dal is combined with various digestive spices, such as mustard seeds, cumin seeds, black pepper, and fennel seeds, to promote optimal digestion and absorption of nutrients. I find that the optimal balance of spices include just cumin, turmeric, black pepper, and ginger. Kitchari really is a simple one-pot dish made with a unique blend of warming and digestive spices, and a combination of rice, seasonal vegetables, and moong dal. This dish is now increasingly popular in the Western world as a delicious and healthy meal that is easy to make and provides many health benefits. You can find many recipes for kitchari online or in recipe books, and you can make variations on the traditional recipe by using an Instant Pot, adding coconut milk, or using different grains or legumes.
Ingredients For Kitchari Recipe
Moong dal and rice
These are the main ingredients of the Kitchari recipe. Moong dal provides a creamy and smooth texture, while rice adds a soft and fluffy texture to the dish. Together, they form the base of the dish. This is the brand of Moong dal that I use.
Water helps to cook the dal and rice to a porridge-like consistency. It also helps to soften and cook the ingredients.
Ghee is used as a cooking fat and adds a rich and buttery flavor to the dish. It also has a high smoke point, making it a good choice for high-heat cooking.
Cumin seeds add a nutty and earthy flavor to the dish. They also aid in digestion and have other health benefits.
Onion adds a sweet and savory flavor to the dish. It also adds texture and a slight crunch. These should be left out if you are trying to heal your gut.
Green chili adds a spicy and slightly bitter flavor to this Kitchari recipe. It also adds texture and color. These should be left out if you are trying to heal your gut.
Ginger and garlic
These ingredients add a pungent and spicy flavor to the dish. They also have many health benefits, including aiding in digestion. Garlic should be left out if you are trying to heal your gut. But do not forgo the Ginger. Ginger is extremely important to this dish.
Black pepper powder
Black pepper corns or powder add a mild and slightly spicy flavor to the dish. It also aids in digestion and has other health benefits.
Turmeric adds a bright yellow color to the dish. It also has many health benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties.
Coriander leaves / Cilantro leaves
Coriander leaves (also called cilantro) imparts a fresh and herbaceous flavor to the dish. They also add color and texture.
Step By Step Instructions For Kitchari Recipe
In a large bowl, add 1/2 cup of basmati rice and 1/2 cup of yellow mung dal. Soak them in water for 2 hours. Set aside.
In a large pan or kadhai, heat 2 tbsp of ghee or butter over medium heat.
Add 1 tsp of cumin seeds and let them splutter for a few seconds.
If your digestion is doing well, go ahead and add 1 chopped onion, 1 tbsp ginger, and 1 tbsp garlic in this step. If you are not feeling great, leave out the onions and garlic, but make sure to add 1 tbsp ginger.
Fry for a minute or until the onions turn translucent.
Add 1 chopped green chili if you are going for flavor, but skip chili if you are aiming for gut healing. Add 1/2 tsp of black pepper powder or black pepper corns and 1/2 tsp of turmeric. Mix well.
Drain the soaked rice and dal and add them to the pan. Slightly fry them with the spices for a minute.
Add 4 cups of water to the pan and mix well.
Let the mixture come to a boil. Then cover the pan with a lid and turn the heat to low. Let the kitchari simmer over low heat until the kitchari is soft and mushy.
Once done, turn off the heat and let the kitchari sit for a few minutes.
Serve the kitchari hot, with 1 tbsp of ghee on top.
To make your kitchari meal even more satisfying, there are several serving suggestions to choose from. First, you can garnish your kitchari with fresh cilantro for an extra pop of color and flavor. Additionally, pairing your kitchari with crispy papadum is a great way to add a crunchy texture to the meal. Another option is to serve kitchari with a side of Indian pickles, such as mango pickle or lime pickle, for an extra tangy and spicy kick. For a creamy texture, add a dollop of plain yogurt on top of your kitchari.
You can also top your kitchari with fried onions for an added crunch and flavor. Adding a spoonful of mint or tamarind chutney to your plate is another option for a sweet and tangy complement to your kitchari. Lastly, serving kitchari with a side of roasted vegetables, chutney or dal fry, is a great way to add more nutrition and color to your meal. These serving suggestions are just a few examples of how you can elevate your kitchari experience and make it a more complete and satisfying meal.
To start, allow the kitchari to cool down to room temperature before storing. Once it has cooled, transfer it to an airtight container, making sure to seal it tightly. To store, place the container in the refrigerator, where it can stay fresh for up to 3 days. When you are ready to reheat the kitchari, there are two options. One is to transfer it to a pan or pot, add a splash of water to loosen it up, and heat it on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally until it is heated through. Alternatively, you can transfer it to a microwave-safe dish, cover it with a lid or damp paper towel, and heat it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through. By following these simple storage instructions, you can extend the shelf life of your kitchari and enjoy its delicious flavors for up to three days.
Kitchari is a traditional Ayurvedic dish that originated in the Indian subcontinent. It is a one-pot meal made with a combination of rice and legumes, such as mung dal, yellow split mung beans, and is spiced with a unique blend of digestive and warming spices, such as cumin seeds, ginger, black pepper, and turmeric powder.
The main ingredients in Kitchari are the legume, such as mung dal, and typically white basmati rice. Other optional ingredients include seasonal vegetables, such as sweet potatoes or green beans, digestive spices, such as cumin and fennel seeds, and warming spices, such as cinnamon stick and garam masala.
Kitchari is considered an Ayurvedic superfood due to its ability to nourish the body and promote optimal health. The combination of rice and legumes provides a complete protein, and the spices used in Kitchari help to support the digestive tract and the digestive fire. It is also a great way to give the digestive system a much-needed break, making it a popular choice for those who follow Ayurvedic practices.
There are many ways to make Kitchari, depending on your taste preferences and the season. For example, you can use brown rice instead of white rice, or yellow split peas instead of mung dal. You can also add different vegetables, such as leafy greens or sweet potatoes, and adjust the spices to your liking.
Yes, If you do not use ghee, Kitchari is a vegan dish, as it does not contain any animal products.
To store Kitchari, let it cool to room temperature, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you are ready to eat it, simply reheat it on the stove or in the microwave until heated through.
The cooking time for Kitchari varies depending on the type of legume and grain used. On average, it takes about 25-30 minutes for Kitchari to reach a porridge-like consistency when cooked on the stove over low heat.
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Hi! I’m Ravi Kumar.
I am a husband, father of 4, board certified neurosurgeon, and a lover of South Indian Food!
I created PaattisKitchen.com to memorialize the most delicious foods on earth. South Indian food is easy to make and hard to mess up. So pull up your sleeves, and come with me as we explore the vibrant spices, colors, aromas, and flavors of South Indian culinary tradition.