Kitcheri: Authentic Ayurvedic cooking for perfect a detox

Kitchari is a beautifully satisfying Ayurvedic dish that offers a balanced combination of protein and carbohydrates and can be included in a detox eating plan.
Kitcheri is a popular recipe in Ayurvedic eating.

In simple terms, Ayurveda is a holistic system which guides us so that we can live a healthier and more balanced lifestyle. It recognises that we are all unique and focuses on lifestyle, massage, yoga and herbal remedies and of course food.

Here we look at how to cook kicheri, a one pot dish containing ingredients with many Ayurvedic properties – histone rice, lentils, vegetables and wonderful healing spices. It is fully balanced, nutritious and inexpensive.

Kitcheri recipe

Preparation Time : 15 minutes
Cooking Time : 40 minutes
Serves: 4


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black pepper, lightly crushed
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 tbsp balti paste
  • 100 g (3½ oz) basmati rice, washed well and left to soak in cold water for 30 minutes
  • 100 g (3½ oz) yellow split mung beans or yellow gram / toover dhal, washed well and left to soak in cold water for 2 hours
  • 1 baking potato, peeled and chopped into bitesize pieces
  • 1 leek, cleaned and chopped
  • 75 g (3 oz) spinach, washed
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • boiling water (approx 2 – 2½ pints)
  • pinch of sugar
  • salt, to taste
  • juice of ½ lime (optional)
mung beans
Mung beans are rich in essential amino acids, antioxidants and protein.

Kitcheri method

  1. In a pan heat the oil and add the cumin seeds and black pepper.
  2. When the seeds begin to sizzle add the turmeric powder and balti paste. Sprinkle in a few drops of water and stir well. Drain the lentils and rice and add to the masala.
  3. After 1 minute add the leeks and allow to cook for a further minute before pouring in enough boiling water to cover the grains by about 5cm (2 inches).
  4. Add the potatoes, stir and cover. Allow the Kitcheri to come to the boil before reducing the heat and allowing it to simmer for about 30 minutes.
  5. Stir occasionally during cooking and add more water if required. After 20 minutes add the tomatoes and spinach.
  6. The Kitcheri is cooked through when the grains are squashed easily between your fingers and when the rice is soft.
  7. Most of the water should have been absorbed. Add the sugar and check the seasoning, adjusting the salt if necessary. Finally, squeeze in the lime juice (if using).
  8. Serve simply with fresh hot chapattis.

For an interesting twist why not garnish with the seeds of half a pomegranate. This fruit is fantastic for purifying the blood and cleansing the stomach.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you’ll find more ideas for healthy detox recipes see our Food and Drink channel.

Tags: , Last modified: August 16, 2023

Written by 10:20 am Food & Drink