Kitchari, also called Khichdi, is a traditional Ayurvedic dish made with a mixture of yellow split mung beans, Basmati rice, and spices. This recipe is easy to make, authentic, and 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.
Kitchari is one of the most basic staples in Ayurveda and has a texture similar to oatmeal. It can be enjoyed any time of the day.
How to make kitchari
To make this authentic kitchari recipe I grew up eating in my mother’s kitchen, follow these step-by-step directions:
1. 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.
2. Gather your ingredients: While the rice and moong dal are soaking, gather the remaining ingredients so you don’t leave anything out accidentally.
3. Warm the oil and spices: Next, add oil to a medium pot on medium-low heat. Once the oil starts to warm up,
4. Add remaining ingredients: Add the rice and moong dal mixture. Pour the water, season with salt and pepper, and stir.
5. 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, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until you get a porridge-like consistency. It should be soft and creamy.
6. Season: Adjust the seasoning, if needed, and taste the kitchari to make sure the mixture is cooked through. If not, cook for longer.
Enjoy kitchari 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 let the kitchari thaw before reheating it.
To reheat: Warm up the kitchari 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.
Ingredients and substitutions
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 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: Ghee is not vegan as it’s made from clarified butter. Use vegan butter, coconut oil, or avocado oil for a vegan-friendly option.
More Indian recipes
Looking for more authentic Indian recipes? You’ll love these:
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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 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, uncovered, 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.