The goal of Ayurveda is to remove the root cause of disease and balance the doshas. There are many ways to achieve this optimal state of health and one of them is through combining diet and naturally detoxing the body.
Kitchari is a traditional Ayurvedic dish that is prepared with white rice and yellow mung bean. It is cooked in ghee (clarified butter that has the milk solids removed) and spices to cleanse the body. Essentially, this dish can increase agni, the digestive fire, balance the body and mind, and remove excess toxins in the body. It is considered to be a comfort food, a complete protein, and an easily digestible food for all individuals regardless of dosha or imbalance. Kitchari is also extremely nourishing, grounding, and beneficial for rejuvenation as well. Not only is it the perfect choice for cleansing and detoxing the body, but it is also prepared for the elderly, the sick, and babies as well.
Why white rice instead of brown rice? White rice is traditionally easier to digest since the husk has been removed. Brown rice may be nutritionally superior, but white rice is best during times of cleansing and detoxing the body. The body is already using its energy to dispel unwanted toxins, so using white rice further aids the body in releasing these toxins easier.
Yellow mung beans are used because they are vata balancing and produce much less gas (if any) for vata individuals or those that are prone to gas. In addition, they help balance blood sugars, good source of magnesium, and allow individuals to get an adequate source of all ten amino acids in their diet.
- Soak the mung beans and white rice the night before. A good mixture is ⅔ beans and ⅓ rice. If it there are too many beans the kitchari will be too watery, and if there is too much rice it will be too thick.
- Wash the rice and beans and drain out the excess water from the previous night.
- Put the rice and beans in the pot. Add about 5 times as much water as your rice and beans, cover, and allow to boil. Then reduce to low and let the dish cook until soft and blended.
- Heat ghee in a pan and add onions, garlic, ginger, and desired spices. (Onions are optional).
- Add any vegetables to add more taste and fullness to the dish. These can include zucchini, carrots, green beans, potatoes, cauliflower, etc.
- Top dish with fresh cut cilantro. Enjoy!
This dish can be made consecutively for three days to seven days for a detoxing and balancing effect on the body. For deeper cleanses such as a panchakarma, the kitchari is sometimes consumed for many weeks to reset the body and the agni.
Try the dish and let me know how you feel after trying this nourishing dish.