Reset Your Digestion with Balancing Kitchari

While so many diets claim to work magic, the real secret is eating food that your body can digest. This recipe works wonders on your digestion and is a sort of reset button to bring everything back into equilibrium.

I first tried kitchari (also called kichidi) seven years ago when my digestion was in a horrible state–I was bloated, irritable, and felt like whatever I ate wouldn’t cooperate once inside my stomach. My ayurvedic practitioner suggested this simple recipe–called kitchari, or as my husband calls it, “gruel”–that is very easy to digest, easy to make, and is actually pretty tasty.

After a week of eating nothing but kitchari, I have to admit my mind was clear, I felt eerily calm, my stomach was flat, and my digestion felt healed.

You can try this for a meal or go for a full week to really get the full healing power. This recipe is perfect for summer (winter, fall, and spring would be tweaked slightly in spices and veggies). If it’s really hot where you live, let the kitchari cool a bit before eating.

After a week on this stuff, your head will feel clear, your skin brighter, and you will drop weight (if your body needs to do so). Here’s how you make it…

Ingredients (makes 4 servings):

  • 1/2 cup white basmati rice, washed in water and drained (if you need a more nourishing version, use an equal ratio of rice to beans)
  • 1 cup yellow lentils, also known as yellow mung dal, washed. (If you’re able to soak in water for at least 10 minutes before cooking, you’ll greatly improve digestibility.)
  • 8 cups of water (more or less depending on whether you want it to be soupy or more firm like oatmeal)
  • 1-2 tbsp ghee (ghee is clarified butter, here’s a recipe or you can buy it at most organic grocery stores)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • Salt to taste (preferably rock salt)

Method:

  • Drain dal and rinse with rice in water until the water is clear, not cloudy.
  • Heat 1 tbsp. ghee in a heavy-bottomed pot.
  • When ghee is hot, add turmeric.
  • Fold in the yellow lentils and rice. Mix ghee and turmeric to thoroughly coat the lentils and rice.
  • Stir in water and bring back to a boil.
  • Lower the heat, partially cover the pot.
  • About 15 minutes in, add veggies if using.
  • Should take about 20-30 minutes. (Water will be absorbed and will resemble oatmeal when finished. Add more water if you want a runnier version.)
  • Once kichidi is ready, take the remaining 1 tbsp ghee, heat it in a small saucepan. Sprinkle in cumin seeds and other spices. Let them sizzle for about a minute and pour the mixture on the finished kichidi, add salt and serve.

Spices:

  • Cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black pepper, or fennel seeds
  • Sprinkle with fresh diced cilantro
  • Black pepper (use sparingly)
  • 1/4 (half) teaspoon cumin seeds

Best vegetables to use during summer (be sure these are cooked well):

  • Green peas
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Asparagus
  • Carrots
  • Greens

What do you think? Does this sound good? Gross? If you tried it, did it help your digestion?

Photo credit: anjuli_ayer.

2 thoughts on “Reset Your Digestion with Balancing Kitchari

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