Kitchari, also called Khichdi, is a traditional Ayurvedic dish made with a mixture of yellow split mung beans, Basmati rice, and spices. This authentic recipe is easy to make and the same one I grew up eating in my mother’s kitchen.
Editor’s note: This recipe was originally published on March 13, 2017. Since then, it’s been freshened up with new pictures, commentary, and made even more delicious.
What is kitchari?
Kitchari is a porridge-like mixture of Basmati rice and yellow moong dal (split mung beans) simmered in spices such as turmeric, cumin seeds, ginger, and black pepper.
It’s one of the most basic staples in Ayurveda and has a texture similar to oatmeal. It can be enjoyed at any time of the day, however, it’s most often enjoyed for lunch or dinner as a main dish.
Ingredients you’ll need
To get started, you’ll need the following ingredients:
Basmati rice: Traditionally made with Basmati rice, but may be substituted with jasmine, brown rice, or quinoa.
Split mung beans: Also known as moong dal or washed mung dal. It can be a little challenging to find but available on Amazon.
Note: While other types of beans or lentils can be used, I recommend using split mung beans for best results.
Water: Substitute with vegetable broth for added flavor.
Spices: A mixture of cumin seeds, fresh or ground ginger, ground turmeric, salt, and pepper. Cumin seeds can be substituted with ground cumin.
Ghee or oil: Ghee is not vegan as it’s made from clarified butter. Use vegan butter, coconut oil, or avocado oil for a vegan-friendly option.
How to make kitchari
To make this authentic recipe I grew up eating in my mother’s kitchen, follow these step-by-step directions:
1. Soak rice and beans: In a medium bowl, combine the rice and beans. Pour enough water to cover the mixture and soak for 15-20 minutes. Using a fine-mesh strainer, drain and rinse the mixture until the water runs clear.
2. Warm oil and spices: Next, add oil to a medium pot on medium-low heat. Once the oil starts to warm up,
3. Add remaining ingredients: Add the rice and moong dal mixture. Pour the water, season with salt and pepper, and stir.
4. Simmer: Increase the heat to medium-high to bring the mixture to a slight boil. Immediately turn the heat down medium-low to a gentle simmer. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until you get a porridge-like consistency. It should be soft and creamy.
5. Season: Adjust the seasoning, if needed, and taste to make sure the mixture is cooked through. If not, cook for longer. Feel free to add a few tablespoons of water if it starts to get very thick.
6. Garnish and serve: The kitchari is ready to be enjoyed. Serve immediately or cool down to store for later.
Enjoy the final dish in the following ways:
- Alone or with a drizzle of ghee.
- Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro.
- Enjoy with a tomato and onion salad.
Storing and reheating
To store: Allow it to cool down completely before placing it in an air-tight glass container for 2 to 3 days in the fridge.
To freeze: Store in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months. Be sure to thaw before reheating it.
To reheat: Warm up on the stovetop. Stir it with a small amount of water, about 1/4 cup of water for every cup of kitchari, to get the porridge-like consistency.
More Indian recipes
Looking for more authentic Indian recipes? You’ll love these:
- Coconut Chickpea Curry
- Cauliflower Tikka Masala
- Chana Masala
- Indian Rice Pudding
- Instant Pot Basmati Rice
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- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- slices of lime or lemon
- In a medium bowl, combine the rice and moong dal. Pour enough water to cover the mixture and soak for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour the mixture into a fine mesh strainer and rinse with cold water until it runs clear.
- Warm the oil or ghee on medium-low heat in a medium pot. Carefully add the cumin seeds and let them cook for about a minute until the seeds start to brown and become fragrant. Add the ginger and ground turmeric.
- Add the rice and dal mixture into the pot. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Stir and add the 4 cups of water.
- Increase the heat to medium-high to bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Turn the heat down immediately to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally until you get a porridge-like consistency. It should be soft and creamy.
- Taste the kitchari to make sure the texture is soft. If not, you may need to let it cook a little longer. Turn off the heat and adjust the seasoning, if needed, and stir again. Serve or cool down completely and refrigerate in a sealed container for 3 days.
- Split mung beans: Also known as moong dal, these beans can be challenging to find in most grocery stores. I buy organic moong dal from Amazon here.
- To store: Allow it to cool down completely before placing it in an air-tight glass container for 2 to 3 days in the fridge.
- To freeze: Store in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months. Be sure to thaw before reheating it.
- To reheat: Warm on the stovetop. Stir it with a small amount of water, about 1/4 cup of water for every cup of kitchari, to get the porridge-like consistency.