Kitchari - a simple ayurvedic recipe for gut health


Kitchari - a blend of basmati rice and moong dal - is staple recipe in Ayurveda, India's ancient system of healing. The combination of rice and dal create a balanced, nutritious dish that can be enhanced with different spices according to your body type - or the time of year. Read on to discover a delicious Kitchari recipe to nourish your body, heal your gut and balance your energy.


Kitchari is especially easy to digest, making it the ideal food when your body needs a break. That's why it's served during or after cleansing programs, fasting and mono-diet programs. 


Pancha Karma (or Panchakarma/ Panca Karma) is Ayurveda's ultimate cleansing protocol, a multi-phase program that removes accumulated toxins and promotes healing. When we travel to India for our Ayurvedic programs, many of the meals include a kitchari dish. 


I often follow a kitchari mono-diet for a few days after a yogic cleansing program - it helps to heal the gut and reboot the digestion. It's also a gentle way to migrate from the clean, organic Ayurvedic diet we enjoy in India to the regular meals that I eat with my family (which can include a bit more sugar, salt and processed food than a pure Ayurvedic diet!)


Because the therapeutic effects of kitchari can vary depending on the constitution of the individual, I've prepared a recipe that is especially balancing for Vata dosha. Vata is one of the 3 doshas, or 'constitution types' in Ayurveda. We all have a combination of these 3 doshas in our bodies, but those of us living and workingin a big city like Sydney often find the Vata dosha gets out of balance most often. Having said that, this recipe is also balancing for Pitta and Kapha, the other two Ayurvedic doshas.


Ayurvedic Kitchari Recipe




1 cup basmati rice

4 cups water

1/2 cup split, skinless mung beans (moong dal)

3 tbs ghee (make your own or buy organic)

1 tsp black mustard seeds 

1/2 tsp tumeric

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds 

1 pinch asofetida




  • Rinse the mung beans and soak them overnight (this reduces cooking time and makes the kitchari more digestible).
  • Wash and drain the rice.
  • Melt the ghee over a medium heat in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan.
  • When the ghee is hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and asofetida and stir until the seeds start to pop.
  • Add the mung beans, rice, salt and tumeric. Stir the ingredients together.
  • Add the water, turn up the heat and allow it to boil for 5 minutes, stirring every now and then.
  • Turn the heat down to low and put the lid on the saucepan. Leave the mixture to simmer on the low heat for another 20 minutes.