Just because summer is approaching doesn’t mean that you have to say goodbye to your kitchari (whew!). In fact kitchari is such a balanced, nourishing meal that it is often recommended to be eaten as a dietary staple all year round! Luckily kitchari is so versatile we can easily make it using seasonal appropriate spices, veggies and oils to allow their properties to keep us in balance no matter what time of year it may be. This particular kitchari recipe is perfect for the late spring, summer and early fall seasons; or basically any time your Pitta is out of whack!
Pitta is the dosha type that is manifested mainly from the fire (and secondary water) element. Some common signs and symptoms of increased Pitta would be issues such as skin disorders (eczema, psoriasis, etc), acne, hives, rash, inflammation (any and all types), anger, judgement, criticism, jealousy, hyperacidity, heartburn, H. pylori, loose stools, diarrhea and any inflammatory GI tract issue including Crohn’s, colitis, gastritis, ulceration, diverticulitis and IBS. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, this kitchari recipe will be a beneficial meal to help bring balance back to the system and heal the disorder.
So what exactly makes this recipe so specific for reducing Pitta? The mung dal (split mung bean) and basmati rice are cooling by nature and possess a mild sweetness that is great for calming down Pitta and the excessive heat it brings. Coconut oil and ghee are very cooling and anti-inflammatory, as is the cumin seed, cilantro, lime and shredded coconut. Pitta Churna is used to reduce Pitta digestive imbalances (hyperacidity, IBS, colitis, etc) and although it will strengthen the digestive fire, this blend does so without creating further heat in the system. Finally the vegetables chosen for this recipe are all hydrating, cooling, cleansing and hence calming for Pitta types. Kale and celery are specific for cooling and cleansing the liver and blood, which tend to be common issues in many high Pitta conditions. Asparagus is a close relative of the Ayurvedic herb Shatavari and therefore possesses similar healing properties such as being cooling, soothing and an excellent rejuvenator (especially for the reproductive system!).
Health benefits of Pitta-Reducing Kitchari
- Reduces overall Pitta in the body and mind
- Easy to digest
- Strengthens and balances the Agni (digestive fire)
- Cools and cleanses the liver and blood
- Reduces inflammation
- Beneficial in most Pitta disorders such as skin disorders, acne, hives, rash, inflammation, arthritis, anger, judgement, criticism, hyperacidity, loose stools, diarrhea and inflammatory GI tract issues
- Great recipe option for Pitta types during Ayurvedic cleanses
- Great recipe option during the late spring, summer and early fall seasons (but can be enjoyed all year round for Pitta types and during Pitta imbalance)
- Doshic effect: Vata ↓*, Pitta ↓, Kapha ↓*
- Serving: 2-3
- Time: About 45-50 minutes
*Although this recipe is non-provoking for all dosha types, it is best for Pitta and may increase Vata or Kapha in excess. See the additional tips below the recipe to make it a bit more Vata or Kapha pacifying.
- Large sauce pan
- Measuring spoons and cups
- Cutting board and knife
- 1 c split mung dal (substitute with whole mung beans* if needed)
- 1/2 c basmati rice (substitute with white quinoa if preferred)
- 4-5 c purified water (the more water the more soupy the kitchari will be; the less water the more thick and paste-like the kitchari will be)
- 1/2 c sliced and quartered zucchini
- 1/2 c sliced and quartered yellow squash
- 4-6 asparagus stalks, chopped into 1 inch pieces (remove the ends first)
- 1 large celery stick, thinly sliced
- 1 large kale or collard green leaf, de-stemmed and thinly sliced
- 1-2 Tbsp ghee or coconut oil
- 2-3 tsp extra ghee for individual servings (1 tsp per bowl)
- 2 Tbsp shredded coconut
- 1 Tbsp extra shredded coconut for garnish (about 1 tsp per bowl)
- 1 tsp Pitta Churna spice mix**
- 1/2 tsp cumin seed, whole
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1-2 inch cube of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
- Fresh juice from one lime
- 1/2 c of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1-2 Tbsp extra chopped cilantro for garnish
- Pinch of black pepper, freshly ground
- Lightly salt to taste (pink Himalayan is best)
*When using whole mung beans the cooking time will increase. Make sure to use more water and to cook for at least 30 minutes alone before adding the veggies and rice.
1. In a large-medium sauce pan add 1-2 Tbsp of ghee (or oil) and warm over a medium heat. Once warm, add in the Pitta Churna, whole cumin seed, shredded coconut and black pepper. Stir frequently over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until the coconut turns a very slight shade of brown.
2. Pour the water in the same pan and bring to a boil. Add the mung dal and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pan, leaving a slight opening to prevent the risk of overflow. Cook here for 20 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
3. As the beans are cooking, begin to wash and slice up the vegetables listed.
4. After 20 minutes, add in the rice, kale, asparagus, zucchini, yellow squash and celery. Stir well and place the cover back onto the pot. Continue to cook over low heat for an additional 15-20 minutes.
5. Stir every 5 minutes during the remaining cooking time. If the dal becomes to thick for your liking, add more water in using very small increments.
6. The kitchari is done when the mung dal is extremely soft and almost formless. The rice should still have form, although it will be very soft as well. The veggies should be well-cooked and soft, but still have a bright vibrant color.
7. Once the desired consistency has been reached, remove the pan from the heat. Add the cilantro, fresh lime juice, grated ginger, turmeric powder and salt to taste. Stir well and then cover while off of the heat for an additional 5 minutes to let all of the flavor soak in.
8. Once you are ready to serve, each individual bowl can add their own desired garnishes. This includes extra cilantro leaves, shredded coconut, lime juice, ghee (about 1 tsp per bowl), salt and pepper.
9. Mix in the remaining additions so they are evening blended.
10. Give gratitude for this healing meal! Take a deep breath, sit comfortably in a peaceful space and enjoy with good company!
- For even more gut healing, anti-inflammatory properties the water in this recipe can be replaced with bone broth.
- If one is using this recipe for a cleanse, it is recommended to omit the shredded coconut and increase the ghee, cilantro and lime juice in the recipe. The spices can also be increased as desired.
- If one has a simultaneous Kapha imbalance, this recipe can be adjusted to meet the needs of both Pitta and Kapha. For this one should omit the shredded coconut (or cut it in half), replace the ghee with sunflower oil and replace the basmati rice with white quinoa. The spices used in this recipe should also be increased to help boost the sluggish digestive fire that Kapha is known for.
- If one has a simultaneous Vata imbalance, this recipe can be adjusted to meet the needs of both Pitta and Vata. For this one should soak the mung dal overnight, straining and discarding the water before adding the beans to the recipe. Using bone broth or chicken broth in place of the water will also help to nourish Vata while still being beneficial for Pitta. The cooking time can be increased and the water or broth can be used generously to create a more soupy, well-cooked and mushy dish (all good qualities for Vata!). The spices, including the fresh ginger, can all be used generously.