This year instead of going away for Labor Day weekend, I decided to treat the hardest working organ in my body, my liver, with a cleanse. After which, I treated myself with khichadi. While today’s recipe is similar to the kichadi or kitchari I grew up eating, called Bhuni Khichadi. A drier khichadi that is similar to pilaf, rather than a porridge, I added some additional ingredients to support me post-cleanse. In knowing that my mind-body has been shaken up a bit, gentle, easy, soft, and nourishing are my keywords. This is why I opted for no veggies and kept to a simple mix of yellow mung, rice and a combination of whole and warming spices. The whole spices intensify the aromatics and add a gentle flavor, while the ginger, turmeric and fennel help keep my digestive fire kindling, and provide carminative support.
Back in the day when I lived with my parents, khichadi or kitchari was a regularly served dinner item. More often than not, my mom would make Naram (soft) Khichadi. Unlike today’s recipe, Naram (soft) Khichadi has a porridge-like consistency. She would make it with split, green moong. Since the moong’s skin or peel stays intact, there is more fiber and intensity in the lentils flavor. While I love this simple 4-ingredient kitchari, post-cleanse I want less water, less fiber and a little spice to keep digestive fire kindling.
While there are endless varieties for khichadi when it comes to cleansing, yellow mung and rice are usually the goto due to the gentle qualities of this combination. If you are cleansing with the support of an Ayurveda Practitioner they will suggest or make a khichadi that best suited to support the cleanse. One all other occasions enjoy the many variations of khichadi, have fun, experiment after all kitchari means a mix of stuff thrown into a pot!
Khichadi is not just an ‘ayurvedic’ detox food, it’s nourishing food, served on the tables of many South Asian homes—it is comfort food.
Post Cleanse 'Ayurvedic' Khichadi or Kitchari
a simple, aromatic, gently kitchari to enjoy anytime, any season or post cleanse
- 1/2 cup yellow moong or mung
- 1/2 cup basmati rice
- 1 tbsp ghee solid
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 6-7 curry leaves opitional
- 1/4 tsp hing or asafoetida
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 3-4 cardamom pods
- 1 tsp ginger grated
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp fennel powder
- 1 tbsp cilantro chopped
- 3/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
- 1 3/4-2 cups water
Gently scrub and rinse moong and rice until water runs clear (about 2-3 times). Soak for at least 20 minutes, preferably overnight. This helps make the lentils even more digestible and helps remove excess starch.
On medium-high heat, warm your pot and then add the ghee. When the ghee is very warm but not smoking hot, add the mustard seeds, here them crackle and then quickly add curry leaves, cumin seeds, cardamom, and asafoetida Stir until cumin is slightly toasted and you can smell the aroma from the spices. About 20-30 seconds. (This stage can also be done in a rice cooker)
Add the moong and rice (strain out the water its been soaking in), ginger, turmeric, salt, cilantro, and fennel powder, and water. Stir and bring to a boil, then cover and let this simmer on medium-low for about 20 minutes or until rice and lentils are cooked and the water is absorbed. Depending on how long the lentils were soaked, the water quantity may need to be adjusted. It’s okay if the rice turn out a little soft.
If using a rice cooker, close the lid and begin the cooking process after adding the water, make sure to mix all the ingredients before closing the lid.
Top with a little chopped cilantro, prior to serving warm.
- a Ceylon cinnamon stick can also be added or substituted for cardamom pods