Kitchari is an Ayurvedic dish that can be made in many different ways to focus its healing properties on your personal needs. This particular kitchari recipe has been created to reduce congestion, boost digestion, speed up the metabolism, promote weight loss, awaken the mind, and reduce overall Kapha imbalance.
An ideal Kapha-reducing diet will be high in lean, plant-based protein, colorful vegetables, and filling fiber, while low in calories and carbs. This recipe covers all of these bases by using mung dal (a protein packed, easy-to-digest bean) as the main ingredient, and including quinoa (a lower starch, nutrient dense pseudo grain) instead of the more traditional basmati rice. It also calls for less overall grain, extra vegetables, and plenty of heating, stimulating spices.
As the name implies, this recipe is a great option for Kapha individuals to enjoy regularly. It is very healing during the winter and spring seasons, during times of cleansing, or anytime a light, healthy recipe is needed! Vata types can enjoy this recipe too; however, due to the heating nature of this dish, Pitta types will do better with a more cooling kitchari recipe (try our Pitta-Reducing Kitchari!).
Kapha-Reducing Kitchari Recipe
- Large saucepan or soup pot
- Cutting board and knife
- Measuring cups and spoons
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, whole
- ½ teaspoon brown mustard seeds, whole
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons Kapha Churna
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 5 ½ cups water
- ¼ cup minced onion
- 1 to 2 teaspoons minced serrano pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
- 1 cup mung dal
- 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
- 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
- 1 cup chopped cauliflower
- ½ cup chopped broccoli
- 2 cups chopped baby spinach leaves (substitute with kale)
- ½ cup quinoa
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ½ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
- Chopped cilantro, for garnish
- Chopped green onion (scallions), for garnish
1. Measure the spices and the water. Chop the onion and mince the serrano pepper and garlic. Set aside.
2. Warm the sunflower oil over medium heat in a large sauce pan. Once hot, add in the onion, cumin seeds, brown mustard seeds, and black pepper. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
3. Add in the serrano pepper and garlic. Continue to sauté for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
4. Add in the Kapha Churna, ginger, and cayenne. Sauté for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
5. Add in the water and increase the heat to high. Cover the pan and bring it to a boil.
6. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and add in the mung dal. Stir well and cover the pan, leaving a large crack in the lid. Cook for 15 minutes stirring half way.
7. As the beans are cooking, begin to slice up the carrot, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, and spinach.
8. After 15 minutes, add the quinoa, carrot, celery, cauliflower, and broccoli to the pot. Stir well and cover, keeping the lid slightly cracked. Cook over a medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring every 3 to 4 minutes. If the kitchari becomes too thick, carefully add more water by the quarter cup.
9. After 10 minutes, add in the spinach, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan completely, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir every minute to avoid the kitchari from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
10. Turn off the heat, but leave the pan on the hot burner. Add in the fresh lemon juice and salt. Stir well. Cover the pan and let the kitchari sit for a few minutes to allow the flavors to harmonize.
11. Serve into individual bowls. For added Kapha-reducing effects, garnish generously with cilantro, chopped green onion, extra lemon juice, and black pepper.
Storage and Reheating Instructions
Kitchari is best on the first day; however, it will keep for up to 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator in an airtight, glass container. To reheat, place the amount desired in a small saucepan and add in a couple tablespoons of water. Warm slowly over a low heat. Keep the pan covered and stir every 1 to 3 minutes. After heating, add in fresh lemon juice, cilantro, green onion, and a dash of salt and pepper with each serving. Avoid reheating the kitchari more than once.
Kapha types can observe a weekly kitchari fast (get instructions here!) while taking a digestive aid, such as the digestive appetizer, 10 minutes before each meal, and a stimulating, cleansing tea such as the Extra-Potent Ginger Tea between meals. By following this regimen once a week, your digestion and metabolism will be strong, your energy will be high, and your mood will be elevated!