KITCHARI: the ultimate comfort food.

January 18, 2012

Who doesn’t LOVE comfort food?



Imagine a comfort food you don’t have to feel guilty about, you can eat as much of it as you want and it’s super easy to make…seems unbelievable, eh? Well, Kitchari fits the bill for me..and a lot of other people I know!  It’s TOTALLY soothing and completely guilt- free…it’s creamy, it’s warm and really filling. Growing up my family loved kitchari after  long trips (where you’ve eaten out and are ready for some simple, home cooked food), when one of us got sick or an upset stomach and  on cold days when you just want to eat something warm and hearty.

Kitchari is a traditional Indian dish made from rice and lentils…you can make it fluffy or porridge like…whatever means comfort for you. There are also many variations of this dish….you can add different seeds/ spices, vegetables, lentils, etc…not to mention the many different cooking methods you can try…directly on the stove, a pressure cooker, a rice cooker etc, etc. For those of you familiar with Ayurveda (an indian-based, holistic medical system), kitchari is often recommended for cleansing the system because it is light and easy for the body to digest, therefore gives your body time to rest. 

For now, I’ll share the most BASIC (but de-lish) version and then over the next month or so, I’ll post different variations. I usually serve this basic recipes with a side of greens, zucchini or broccoli…traditionally, it’s often served with a tomato based curry that has potatoes, peas, eggplant or squash in it. However, it tastes good with any vegetable…and makes it a more complete meal.

Kitchari: yellow mung dal & basmati rice (2-4 ppl)


  • 1 cup yellow split mung
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • ½- ¾ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • Pinch of hing
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups water (6 cups if you desire porridge-like consistency)


Wash rice and mung dal in a mixing bowl 2-3 times.  Let soak for 10-20 minutes.

 Directly on Stove Method:

Put everything together in a pot and cook it on the stove.  When the water starts boiling, cover lid, reduce the heat to a low temperature and cook until water is gone.  Let it simmer for a few minutes.  Keep the lid closed. Make sure not to overcook or it, too will stick to the bottom.

Pressure Cooker Method:

Put the rice and dal in a cooker with water and other spices and ghee and stir gently.  Close and lock lid and cook on high until pressure point indicates it has reached its height.  Then turn on medium for 3-4 minutes.  Then turn off burner and let pot sit there until all pressure has released and you are able to open the lid. Be careful not to overcook or else kitchari will burn and stick to bottom of the pan.

Rice Cooker Method:

Put everything together in rice cooker, plug in the cooker and press start.  When cooker beeps to indicate it is done, make sure to unplug to make sure it does not burn.



  • You can substitute the ghee with an oil that works well with your body’s constitution.


  • It’s all gluten free!


  • Many people put additional ghee on top of their individual portion…ghee is a rejuvenator as well as an internal lubricator, which can really aid in cleansing your intestines.

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