Kitchari For One

· Recipes,Cook,Nourish,Cleanse

This kitchari for one has been my go-to during the recent seasonal cleanse - it's super easy to make, delicious, nutritious, easy on digestion, great for the mind and great for the gut! Let me tell you - I can eat it every day and I don't get bored with it. 

The great thing about making a small meal like this is that you always end up eating fresh and you can change the recipe slightly when you cook it next time. I will give you plenty of options on what you can add below but first let's delve into some of the benefits of kitchari. 

What is Kitchari? 

In Indian culture, kitchari is considered beneficial for spiritual growth, intestinal repair, and rejuvenation. It’s an Ayurvedic detox food, but it can be consumed regularly byanyone at any time of the year. 

Kitchari, pronounced kich-ah-ree and sometimes spelled khichadi or khichdi, has long been used to nourish babies, the elderly, and the sick, along with healthy adults during special times of detox, cleansing, and spiritual practice.  

A simple, porridge-like blend of beans and rice, kitchari is often referred to as the Indian comfort food. But, contrary to Western idea of comfort food, kitchari has many nourishing and cleansing benefits.  

The term kitchari is used to describe any mixture of rice and beans. Traditional cleansing kitchari consists of split yellow mung beans, long-grain white or basmati rice, and a blend of Indian spices. 

Why Rice & Beans?  

So why white rice you ask? White rice is used for kitchari because the husk has been milled off. While brown rice may be used (and will actually supply more fiber and nutrients), the husk makes it much harder to digest. During cleansing, a time of already compromised digestion, the husk can irritate the intestinal wall and cause digestive gas or abdominal pain. Kitchari made with brown rice has a slightly different taste but it is also super delicious. If you have no issues with digestion, and not on a cleanse, then I recommend trying it out! 

Mung beans are considered super food in Ayurveda. Traditionally, kitchari consists of split yellow mung beans, which had their husk removed. The husk of mung beans is very hard to digest and gas-producing, therefore split mung beans are much easier to cook, digest, and assimilate. Additionally, mung beans have an array of benefits. According to Ayurveda, it is the only bean classified as anti-vata or anti-gas. Mung beans are also a good source of magnesium and have a low glycaemic index, which is important for balancing blood sugar levels and supporting healthy glucose, insulin, and fat levels in the blood.  

The combination of rice and beans has been a staple around the world for 10,000 years and is considered a complete protein meal. It provides 10 essential amino acids, essential  for production of protein.  

Why Kitchari Cleanse? 

During a cleanse, it’s essential to have adequate protein to keep blood sugar stable and burn fat. One of the most common reasons people fail at cleansing is unstable blood sugar made worse by the detox process. This leads to hunger, irritability, a low blood sugar headache or crash. While the goal of a fast, detox or cleanse is to shift the body into fat metabolism and detox fat cells, this will not happen if the body is under stress and strain. The goal of any cleanse should be to convince the body and the cells that lifeis not an emergency and it’s okay to burn stored fat and release toxins.  

Duringa kitchari cleanse, you eat this complete protein meal three times per day, so there is no starvation response and therefore no stress in the body. With 95% of serotonin produced in the gut, it’s clear we process stress through the intestinal wall. Chronic stress will irritate the intestinal wall and compromise digestion, the ability to detoxify through the gut, and cope with further stress. During a kitchari cleanse, the digestive system can heal, leading to positive effects for the mind. 

Kitchari for One - Recipe

I encourage you to experiment with herbs and spices but the main spices you will need are cumin seeds, black mustard seeds, asafoetida, turmeric and ginger. You can also add and experiment with coriander seeds, cardamom pods, cinnamon and ajwain. Lately, I have been adding Sumac powder and I love it! All seeds, except black mustard seeds, can be lightly crushed in the pestle and mortar. 

If you are struggling to get split mung beans or want to try this recipe straight away but don't have any on hand, then go ahead and try making your kitchari with whole mung beans (soak them for at least 6 hours or 30 minutes in hot water) or red lentils. Try using brown rice instead of basmati for a slightly different but still very delicious flavour. Substitute ghee with coconut oil, if you are vegan. 

Add herbs such as oregano (dry can be added to spices before adding rice and beans), parley, dill, coriander leaves and basil. A splash of lime adds sour taste and extra deliciousness to this meal. You can also add a tsp or two of ground seeds - I use a combination of flax seeds, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and chia seeds. Toast them, cool and grind to powder in your blender. Use as a topping on your kitchari bowl, porridge, etc. 


· 1 Tbsp. ghee 

· ⅛ tsp. cumin seeds coarse grind 

· ⅛ tsp. coriander seeds coarse grind 

· ⅛ tsp. brown mustard seeds  

· 1 cardamom pod - bruised 

· ½ tsp. fresh grated ginger root 

· ⅛ tsp. turmeric, fresh or powder 

· Pinch of asafoetida 

· ⅛ cup (50 g) basmati rice 

· ¼ cup (25 g) split mung beans  

· 2 cups (360 - 480 ml) water as needed for desired thickness 

· ¼ tsp. mineral salt (the amount of salt might vary a little based on the type of salt) 


Wash rice and mung beans in at least 3 changes of water. Warm the ghee in your pot and add mustard seeds, cumin, coriander seeds & a cardamom pod. Simmer until the aroma comes up. Add grated ginger. Add the remainder of the spices and continue to simmer until the aroma is present and the mustard seeds start to pop. Then add the rice and split mung. Stir together and simmer for a few minutes. Add water and simmer for 35 minutes in a covered pot on the stove. This time may vary depending on your pot, cooktop and temperature in the room.  

Let sit for 5 minutes with the lid off so the tastes can become friends and the food cools a bit. Add lime and garnish with fresh chopped parsley, coriander leaf, dill or basil. Add up to 1 Tbsp. flax meal or ground seeds if desired. Serve warm and enjoy :-)