Balancing and Cleansing Basic Kitchari

Cleansing Kitchari

by SchaOn Blodgett, CCP, BTAT

Kitchari is pretty much a staple within Ayurveda, and there are many, many varieties out there. The basics of all kitchari is that it is rice and beans, with various spices. Kitchari is meant to be easy to digest, cleansing and strengthening without robbing the system of energy like a normal detox often does, and hence can be done a regular basis.

Seasonal ChangesKitcharis in Ayurveda are often done about every 2 months during the seasonal changes, normally starting 7 days before to cleanse the excess of the past season and continuing for 7 days after to cleanse and reduce what is to be built for the coming season.

The seasonal changes are generally:

  • January 15th (1/9 to 1/21)
  • March 15th (3/9 to 3/21)
  • May 15th (5/9 to 5/21)
  • July 15th (7/9 to 7/21)
  • September 15th (9/9 to 9/21)
  • November 15th (11/9 to 11/21)

Now, you could eat kitchari for the full cycle, though often people find this very tough to do when starting out. For those people, I would suggest starting with eating the kitchari for 2 of their meals for the first 3 days of the change, then again for 2 meals for another 3 days starting on the 15th. Keep in mind that during these seasonal transitions, our physical strength is weaker than normal, and there is a higher chance of getting sick and feeling off balance due to the disruption that is naturally occurring during the switch in the nature around us. Additionally, this is a very important time to do your Abhyanga (self-oil massage), even if you don’t normally do it – or if you don’t like to do it, as this helps with the movement of the lymph system in the body, while also providing nourishment through the skin.

Basic Tridoshic Kitchari Recipe with modifications


  • 1 cup white basmati rice
  • ½ cup whole green or split yellow mung dahl (you can substitute lentils – remember each color of lentil provides different properties/benefits, though mung dahl is more beneficial for this recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds (preferably black, though any variety will do)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • A few cracks of black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander powder
  • ¼ teaspoon fennel powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 pinch (about 1/8 tsp) asafoetida (hing)
  • ¼ teaspoon natural mineral salt
  • 1 leaf wakame (or other seaweed like kombu) broken up
  • 6 cups water
  • ½ to 1 cup seasonal vegetables for your dosha (optional) – chopped to bite size pieces


Preferably, soak the mung dahl and rice overnight (or for at least three hours, though if you’re unable to, that’s not a deal breaker on this dish). When you put these in to soak, you can also hold the palms of your hands towards the soak, and think about projecting love and health into the water and grains. After the soaking time, strain the soaking water, and rinse the mixture at least twice, or until the water runs clear, and set aside.

Now, in a large pan or soup pot (this will make about 6+ cups of kitchari), warm the ghee over medium heat. Add the black mustard seeds and saute until the mustard seeds begin to pop. Turn to low heat and add the turmeric, black pepper, coriander, fennel, cumin, asafoetida, and fresh ginger. Note: While adding things into the pot and while stirring, think about making this food with love, nourishment and health – put a smile on your face and allow joy to pour from your soul. Stir briefly until the aromas come out. Stir the rice and dahl mixture into the spices, coating all the kernels of rice and dahl and allow to saute just slightly.

Add the 6 cups of water and increase the heat to high until it begins to boil and stir in the salt, then reduce heat to low and add the optional vegetables. Continue to cook on low for about 30 to 45 minutes (check after about 20 minutes, and each 10 minutes after – you may need to add more water. The consistency should be that of a thick stew instead of a soup. Remove from heat, and serve. Garnish with fresh cilantro or your favorite chutney.

Kitchari Variations and Options

  • For meat eaters: add 1 frozen chicken breast when you add the water. You could also replace all or some of the water with chicken broth if you so feel inclined. You could try fish; I’ve never personally tried this, though want to.
  • For more Vata types: increase ghee to 3 or maybe 4 tablespoons and increase salt from ¼ tsp to ½ – 1 tsp.
  • For Vata or Kapha types: can add ¼ tsp of paprika
  • For Pitta types: add a pinch of saffron. You can also try using coconut oil instead of ghee.
  • Diabetics: try increasing ghee and add ¼ tsp of cinnamon
  • Spring/Fall Allergies, Coughs/Colds: try adding ½ tsp of nettles, ¼ tsp oregano, and ¼ tsp tulsi (or basil)
  • Vegetable ideas: Vata (sweet peas, rutabaga, parsnip), Pitta (asparagus, green beans, burdock, carrots), Kapha (cabbage, cauliflower, celery, mustard greens, garbanzo beans)

10 thoughts on “Balancing and Cleansing Basic Kitchari

Rain Busch
Rain Busch says:

Andrea Sullivan interesting I was craving green and yellow lentils all week last week and beans in general.. I just made green lentils in a stew last week. This Sunday a pot of beans. Interesting. I’ve actually been preparing for fall. I could feel a pressure change in my ears and low back.

I’ve been doing a lot of increased immune and blood building since last week.

    Andrea Sullivan
    Andrea Sullivan says:

    Looks like a delicious stew!
    It is most certainly spleen time… you are craving all yellow things. And good for you to build up blood like this. Would you be willing to share the reciepe?

    Psinergy Natural Health and Holistic Wellness
    Psinergy Natural Health and Holistic Wellness says:

    Andrea Sullivan — yes, it is VERY delicious, and really good for detoxing the blood, supportive for the kidneys, and is really easy to digest and gets a bunch of the “uck” out 😉

    Rain Busch
    Rain Busch says:

    Andrea Sullivan
    My yellow lentils are super easy.
    chop 1 red onion half or whole
    Dice 3 to 4 large cloves of garlic
    grate ginger to taste
    Powder ginger, mustard powder, tumeric to taste. I litter just sprinkle by eyeballing and a little cinnamon.
    Himalayan salt
    and a little crush red peppers.

    Now I soak and sprout my lentils usually or soak at least 1 to 3 hrs. If you don’t have time.

    1cup of lentils usually requires 2 cups of water. I like my still textured. So I stir more than I would of I’m not making actual dahl.

Grace Morgan
Grace Morgan says:

Would this be okay for Crohn’s sufferers? I really don’t need a cleanse, just something soothing and a bit bulky.

    Psinergy Natural Health and Holistic Wellness
    Psinergy Natural Health and Holistic Wellness says:

    You could try it. It would vary from one person with crohn’s to the next.

    Also, some of the #Colorpuncture therapies that we offer in the office might also be pretty nice for you in dealing with the crohn’s. 🙂 One of the first therapies I think of with crohn’s is coordination 1 therapy (resets things).

    Grace Morgan
    Grace Morgan says:

    Psinergy Natural Health and Holistic Wellness Can I PM you about this?

    Psinergy Natural Health and Holistic Wellness
    Psinergy Natural Health and Holistic Wellness says:

    Totally 😉

Lisa Pettigrew
Lisa Pettigrew says:

Laura Arechigo
have you made/done this?

Laura Arechigo
Laura Arechigo says:

Yes ,, I have myself and I also Lead group cleanses ,, very healing for the gut !

Comments are closed.

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