Have you ever heard about Kitchari cleansing? I hadn’t, but I dogged in and loved the concept as the good researcher I am. This recipe encompasses all the basics of Vegan Kitchari Recipe preparation.
Our Ayurveda Lifestyle friends contacted us to develop a Kitchari Detox menu designed for their yoga students making a Kitchari Cleansing at their Yoga Academy.
According to the Ayurveda practice, the cleanse involves juicing and eating in a certain way for the detox duration to cleanse the gut and release the body from inflammation. By the way, we are taking part in the detox!
The idea was to develop a meal plan, including breakfast, lunch, and a light dinner, typically including juice detox, legumes, and cereal-based kitchari recipe, and soup, respectively.
If you like to know more about juicing and how to build the perfect juice according to your needs, read our post where we put together everything you need to know about juicing your favorite juices and vegetables, and what combinations work better.
Juicing is great but it doesn't replace our needs for fiber, it just fulfills different needs. That is why making smoothies also make a lot of sense when we want to add fiber, veggies, protein, and seeds to our diet.
Here is our guide to making the perfect post work out smoothie, where we also cover, how to build the perfect functional smoothie.
We loved the challenge. Having recently graduated from a Plant-based Nutrition Program made this challenge very exciting, so I am putting all my nutrition knowledge next to my kitchen skills to deliver the best, tasty, and nutritious packed recipes. This is one of them!
I will go one by one because I think that the exercise is worth the reading. Moreover, we will explore what each ingredient is contributing to the detox.
Mung beans are easier to digest than all the legumes, making them perfect as a post-illness food option. Mung beans are ideal because they are high in fiber and low in calories. They are safe to eat for people with diabetes because their glycemic load is low. These green pearls also help to regulate blood sugar.
The carbs present in mung beans are digested better than the rest of the legumes, making them optimal for a cleanse period, where some changes are also taking place within our bodies and souls.
You can also find them in their yellow mung daal form. These ones are even easier to digest.
Rice – we all have been given a plain bowl of rice when our stomach feels a little funny. Whole bran rice is an essential source of insoluble fiber (dietary fiber, which we humans cannot completely break down completely. This fiber prevents us from constipation and colon cancer. Rice is naturally gluten-free, making it safe for people to whom gluten gut’s irritation.
Turmeric powder – the curcumin component present in turmeric helps fight inflammation and improves the strength of our immune system.
Ginger root – is an excellent anti-inflammatory as it helps in two ways. One is reducing the inflammation locally, and they stabilize the while globules to release less inflammatory signals. You can alternatively use ginger powder.
Sesame oil – the linoleic acid of this oil, is also antioxidant, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory. Sesame oil is especially advantageous for pacifying Vata dosha. This oil prevents the skin from getting excessively dry. I recommend you go easy on it, as it has a strong flavor.
Traditional Ayurvedic medicine uses Ghee (clarified butter) instead of sesame oil, but we are making a Vegan Kitchari Recipe. If you are vegetarian or omnivore, you may choose to use Ghee instead of sesame oil, as although it is not dairy-free, it has a minimal amount of lactose, which we know a lot of people are intolerant to.
I once read a text I found very interesting:
“You are not lactose intolerant; you are just not a baby cow.”
Since, sesame oil is also part of an ayurvedic diet, we chose to take the vegan path in replacement of Ghee, for this recipe.
Cumin Seeds – these delicious digestive seeds are considered a cooling spice in ayurvedic medicine. It also aids digestion and helps flush toxins out of the body.
Cumin is very versatile, as you can use it either ground or as whole seeds. They can be consumed raw, dry-roasted, sautéed, and roasted. In this recipe, we will slightly sauté cumin seeds to make their flavor and aroma come alive. Although cumin has a strong flavor, it combines well with many other spices, including turmeric, coriander, ginger, fennel, and cinnamon.
Black pepper – this well-known spice activates curcumin’s properties. It also has anti-inflammatory benefits on its own, together with a myriad of other benefits such as helping to control the blood sugar levels, lowering cholesterol levels, and great benefits for our brains.
Coriander Seeds (powdered) – helps to prevent flatulence and controls spasmodic pain. It also offers a boost to the digestive system in hot seasons when our digestion seems to be weaker. Coriander seed is a digestive aid and diuretic. Although the leaves (cilantro) are cooling, the seeds are slightly warming. Its bitterness reduces pitta, while its pungency improves digestion.
An ayurvedic spice mix is a mix of herbs and spices that accompany the cleansing process to enhance metabolism and digestion. Help prevent digestive problems issues and cleanse ama from the body.
Turmeric, cumin, coriander, fennel, mint, asafetida, black pepper, dried powdered ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne are potent Ayurvedic spices that contribute to enhancing metabolism and digestion.
They also cleanse ama (undigested food that gets absorbed into our system without properly been assimilated by our bodies) and help prevent digestive disorders such as gas and bloating.
How to Make Kitchari Recipe: Gut Healing & Anti-Inflammatory
Soak. In a medium bowl, add the rice and mung beans;then pour water until it is covered. Let the mix soak for 15 minutes.
Briefly cook spices. Warm the sesame oil on medium-low heat in a medium or large pot. Then add the cumin seeds and let them cook for about a minute until they start to become fragrant and brown.
Add the rest of the spices. Add the ginger, ground coriander, turmeric, black pepper while stirring.
Strain. After straining the rice and mung beans, add them to the saucepan. Stir and add the water.
Simmer. Increase the heat to medium-high, bringing the mixture to a boil. Then turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and let it cook for 30 minutes, uncovered.
Stir occasionally until you get a creamy consistency.
Serve. You can serve it immediately with coriander or mint leaves or cool down completely to store in the fridge.
We tried and tested different spice options of kitchari. We picked the minimal spice mix for the base kitchari recipe and explored adding some optional ingredients that are also recommended for the kitchari recipe but not “mandatory.” They came out equally delicious and it is a great way to scale it up.
Base variations: cereals and grains
Oats – these cheap flakes are powerhouses. They help keep our cholesterol levels low, are low in fat, and are high on dietary fiber. You would rarely feel constipated if these friends are part of your routine. We are used to eating oats only during breakfast, as part of a chia pudding, or porridge. Still, they are a great kitchen partner to absorb humidity without changing the flavor of meals and improving the dish’s nutritional value; that is how we used them on this eggplant pie or this savory carrot tart.
Oats are also great to make your plant milk in minutes. They are by far the cheapest and most sustainable vegetable milk out there.
Brown Basmati Rice - you can use brown rice, it will just take longer to cook, and the beans will become more of a porridge consistency, which is OK because the idea of a Kitchari is to make it as easy to digest as possible.
Lentils – this super healthy and protein-packed legume is considered the second more manageable to digest legume after mung beans. Feel free to use lentils in replacement of mung beans. You can use any kind of lentils, such as red lentils (our favorite). If you go for red lentils, you will save about 15 minutes, as they only need to be soaked briefly and only need to be cooked for about 15 minutes.
Moong (Mung) Beans – use yellow split moong beans (moong daal), to make the kitchari even faster and easier to digest.
Other ayurvedic cleanse spices and herbs
Mint – this herb is a natural coolant. It has a sweet and intense aftertaste. Mint is great for digestion and has the quality to pacify all three doshas. Mint is also great to aid the assimilation of food and treats colic pain.
Use a teaspoon of dry or fresh mint. If using fresh mint, add it 5 minutes before finishing the cooking.
Fennel seeds – are used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat digestive ailments, and it also has antispasmodic effects easing abdominal cramps. Add the same amount of fennel seeds as cumin seeds, either as a replacement or on top of it for a stronger flavored kitchari cleanse recipe. You can use fennel seeds inside a tea infuser filter, to get a delicious tea that helps with a stomachache.
Fenugreek – you can ground the seeds into a powder and use them directly. Similarly to cumin, we like to lightly toast them before using them as it helps to bring its flavor and aroma alive.
These potent seeds have a strong flavor, so use them in moderation as they can easily change the flavor profile of your kitchari cleanse instant pot. For the recommended recipe, use in replacement of coriander in the same quantity.
Cooldown completely to store in the fridge for up to three days. You can also freeze in portions and thaw.
If you freeze it you can keep it for up to a month.
If you are interested in Ayurvedic medicine recipes, I recommend you to try our Vegan Soothing Golden Milk, to fight inflammation and insomnia.
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
Recipe: Vegan Kitchari Recipe
- Soak. In a medium bowl, add the rice and mung beans and pour water until it is covered. Let it soak for 15 minutes. Then pour the mixture into a strainer and rinse with water until it runs clear.½ cup moong beans, ½ cup basmati rice
- Mince the fresh ginger.2 teaspoons fresh ginger
- Briefly cook spices. Warm the sesame oil on medium-low heat in a medium or large pot. Then add the cumin seeds and let them cook for about a minute until they start to become fragrant and brown and become fragrant. Then add the ginger, ground coriander, turmeric, black pepper while stirring.2 teaspoons fresh ginger, ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
- Cook everything in the same pot. Add the rice and mung beans into the pot and optionally season with salt. Stir and add 6 cups of water. Optionally add oats.½ cup moong beans, ½ cup basmati rice, 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- Simmer. Increase the heat to medium-high, bringing the mixture to a boil. Then turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. Let it cook for 30 minutes, uncovered, while occasionally stirring until you get a creamy consistency. It should be soft and creamy.
- Adjust. Taste the kitchari to ensure the texture is soft. If not, you may need to cook it a little longer. Feel free to add water if required.
- Serve. You can serve it immediately with coriander leaves or cool down completely to store in the fridge.
We sometimes take for granted that we have years (or decades) of cooking experience that the average visitor may not. Add to, or remove from, the list below with health and safety tips.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
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