Kitchari-The Ayurvedic Detox Food
Kitchari has been Ayurveda’s age-old signature detox dish! The word “kitchari” (pronounced kitch-a-ree) in India means mixture of two or more grains. Kitchari is the Ayurveda Superfood for a Spring Reset. Traditional Kitchari is made by mixing white basmati rice and split yellow mung dal. This dish takes a western twist with protein-rich quinoa in place of white basmati rice, which makes this Kitchari extra-nutritious and flavorful.
Why do we use Kitchari?
To reset the digestive fire, a diet of kitchari and ghee is recommended. When we have digestive toxins in our GI tract, our ability to digest well is reduced. In other words we become really inefficient at fat burning. Our toxins are stored in the fat – so we build up those toxins. That translates to achy joints, impaired sleep, gas and bloating and a heavy feeling after eating. We can also feel foggy, a little spacey and fatigued. Sound like you?
Kitchari nourishes the tissues of the body, is excellent for rejuvenating the cells and helps the detoxification process.
How to Make Kitchari?
Kitchari “the” most popular Ayurvedic detox dish, has gotten huge popularity in recent years in US and other western countries. This recipe from Curejoy.com is interesting as it is a mixture of organic quinoa (you could use amaranth, couscous, brown rice) and organic split mung beans. I like having it this way; it brings more nutrition to every bite and even makes the dish more flavorful and filling. And if this is not enough, have taken this traditional kitchari to a whole new level by adding toppings of assorted raw veggies marinated in a spicy tangy curry sauce!!…Yum, yum, yum.
The reason this dish is revered highly in Ayurveda is mainly because it balances all the three doshas – Kapha, Pitta, and Vata.
Some of the Kitchari Benefits
· Easily prepared
· Easily digested
· Nutrient rich
· Builds vitality and strength
· Excellent detox dish
· Kitchari spices bring aroma, flavor and reawakens the digestive fire (agni) – that translates to weight loss
· Cleanses toxins from bodily tissues – did you know that mung beans strip pesticides from the body?
· Restores sagging energy – yeah!
· Adaptogen - brings the body into a balanced state
The secret to a great tasting dish lies in the spices used! Kitchari uses the right kind of spices in the right proportion to give you not only a comforting warm tasty meal but the medicinal benefits of the spices aid in proper digestion, assimilation, and elimination – which in turn makes this a high powered detox meal!
Kitchari Ingredients: (2-3 servings)
· 1 cup Quinoa (washed well)
· 1 cup split Mung Beans
· 1 tsp EV Olive Oil or Coconut Oil or ghee
· 1 tsp Cumin and Mustard Seeds
· 1 tsp Fennel powder
· 1 ½ tsp Coriander powder
· ½ tsp Turmeric powder
· ½ tsp Asafoetida powder
· 1-2 tsp Red Chili powder (optional)
· 2-3 tbsp. chopped Cilantro
· 1 tsp freshly squeezed Lime/Lemon Juice
· Salt to taste
· approx. 2-4 cups of Water
If you are using a pressure cooker you can cook the grains and make the kitchari all in one pot! First add the oil in the cooker pan and sauté the mustard and cumin seeds. Later on add the quinoa and beans mixing it slowly with the above mentioned spice powders. Sauté this for a minute until you smell the amazing aroma. Add water to cover the pot and pressure cook for 4-5 whistles. The consistency should be thick and mushy.
This can be easily done in a stockpot; the only difference is you need to cook the quinoa and mung beans separately following the packet directions. Later on, you can follow the same procedure to adding spices as given above.
Ingredients for Raw Toppings Sauce
· 1 cup of assorted veggies (colorful peppers, zucchini, onion, avocado, cucumber, cherry tomatoes)
· 1-2 tsp Curry powder
· 1 -2 tsp EV Coconut Oil
· 1-2 tsp pure Maple Syrup
· Salt to taste
· 1 tsp Lime/Lemon Juice
· Water as needed to make the sauce
Mix all these ingredients in a bowl with the assorted veggies. For best flavors to come out keep these veggies marinated for about 30 mins.
Having the Kitchari with all this flavorful raw toppings, takes this dish to a whole new dimension of flavor and nutrition.
In India, this versatile dish is eaten any time of the day, one can have it for breakfast to kick start the day, make this a wholesome lunch on any hectic weekday, or have it as a comforting soothing dish on any spring day.