Kitchari is a traditional Indian dish made with Basmati rice and moong dal. This recipe is simple, easy to make, authentic, and one I grew up eating in my mother’s kitchen.
What is Kitchari?
Kitchari is a porridge-like mixture of Basmati rice and moong dal (split mung beans) simmered in spices such as turmeric, cumin seeds, ginger, and black pepper.
Kitchari is one of the most basic staples in Ayurveda. It has a texture similar to oatmeal.
How to Make Kitchari – Step By Step
To make this authentic kitchari recipe I grew up eating in my mother’s kitchen:
- Soak the rice and moong dal: In a medium bowl, combine the rice and moong dal. Pour enough water to cover the mixture and soak for 15 minutes. In a fine mesh strainer, rinse the mixture until the water runs clear.
- Gather your ingredients: While the rice and moong dal are soaking, gather the remaining ingredients so you don’t leave anything out accidentally.
- Warm the oil and spices: Next, add oil to a medium pot on medium-low heat. Once the oil starts to warm up,
carefullyadd the cumin seeds and cook for until the seeds start to brown and become fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the ginger and ground turmeric.
- Add remaining ingredients: Add the rice and moong dal mixture. Pour the water, season with salt and pepper, and stir.
- Simmer until cooked: Increase the heat to medium-high to bring the mixture to a slight boil. Turn the heat down medium-low to a gentle simmer. Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until you get a porridge-like consistency. It should be soft and creamy.
- Season: Adjust the seasoning, if needed, and taste the kitchari make sure the mixture is soft and cooked through. If not, you may need to let it cook a little longer.
There are a few ways to enjoy kitchari:
- Enjoy the kitchari alone or with a drizzle of ghee or extra-virgin olive oil.
- Garnish the kitchari with freshly chopped cilantro.
- Enjoy the kitchari with a simple tomato and onion salad.
When can you eat Kitchari?
Kitchari can be enjoyed any time of the day, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
How do you Store Kitchari?
When storing the kitchari for later, be sure to cool it down completely before placing it in the refrigerator. I store mine in an air-tight glass container and it’s usually good for 2-3 days.
Can you Freeze Kitchari?
Yes, it can be stored in the freezer in a freezer-safe container. Be sure to let the kitchari thaw before reheating it.
How do you Reheat Kitchari?
Warm up the kitchari on the stovetop in a small pan. You may need to stir it with a small amount of water to get that same porridge-like consistency it originally had. I add 1/4 cup of water for every cup of kitchari I reheat.
Is Ghee Vegan?
No, ghee is not vegan. Ghee is made from clarified butter, which is made with dairy. If you’re vegan, vegan butter, coconut oil, or avocado oil are good alternatives.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Basmati rice: Kitchari is traditionally made with Basmati rice. You could substitute with jasmine, brown rice, or even quinoa, however, Basmati rice will give you the best results.
- Split mung beans: Also known as moong dal or washed mung dal, it can be a little challenging to find them. I order them from Amazon – I love that they are organic and come from a reliable source. Please note: you may use other types of beans or lentils. However, Ayurveda recommends using split mung beans as other beans can be harder for the body to digest.
- Water: To cook and simmer the rice and beans in. You could substitute with vegetable broth.
- Ghee: Traditionally, kitchari is cooked with ghee or butter. However, you can substitute this with oil to make it vegan-friendly.
- Spices: In this recipe, we’ll add cumin seeds, ginger, ground turmeric, salt, and pepper. You can use either fresh or ground ginger. If you don’t have cumin seeds, you can substitute ground cumin as well.
For More Indian Recipes, check out:
- Cauliflower Tikka Masala
- Indian Chana Masala (Chickpea Curry)
- Aloo Tikki (Indian Potato Patties)
- Masala Potato Salad
- Indian Rice Pudding
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Kitchari is a traditional Indian dish made with Basmati rice and moong dal. This recipe is simple, easy to make, and one I grew up eating in my mother’s kitchen.
- 1/2 cup moong dal (split mung beans)
- 1/2 cup Basmati rice
- 4 cups water
- 1 tablespoon ghee (coconut oil or avocado oil for vegan-friendly)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger (or a pinch of ground ginger powder)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 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 moong 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. Let the kitchari simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until you get a porridge-like consistency. It should be soft and creamy.
- Taste the kitchari to make sure the mixture 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) can be challenging to find in most grocery stores. I buy organic moong dal from Amazon here.
Keywords: kitchari, how to make kitchari, indian kitchari, ayurvedic kitchari
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!