Recipe for Self-Healing: Kichari Soup
Kitchari is a basic dish in the ayurvedic way of life. It is fast, easy to prepare and supremely healing for the body-mind.
The combination of basmati rice and mung dahl create a nourishing, easily digestible source of protein which balances the three doshas and promotes sattvic (balanced, harmonious) tissues conducive to the practice of yoga or meditation.
We often use kichari in our silent retreats, as it is light, easy to digest, detoxifying and gives strength and vitality. It is commonly used in panchakarma, the ayurvedic program for detoxification and rejuvenation, as it promotes detoxification, healing and rejuvenation at the cellular level.
A 1-3 day fast on kichari can help reset the digestive system in times of illness, over-indulgence or high-stress.
A 40-day fast on kicharee is said to heal any disease.
- 1/2 cup basmati rice (ideally soaked overnight)
- 1 cup split yellow mung dal (ideally soaked overnight)
- 6 cups water
- 1/2 to 1 inch ginger root, chopped or grated
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp. ghee
- 1/2 tsp. coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp. whole cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
- 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
- Handful of fresh cilantro leaves or mint
- 1 and 1/2 cups fresh chopped vegetables (e.g. zucchini, kale, asparagus, sweet potato, carrots, leeks, etc)
- Squeeze of lemon or lime
- If you can, soak rice and mung dahl overnight (or at least 1 hour). Rinse rice and mung dahl.
- Combine water, rice and dal in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook covered until it becomes soft.
- Once the rice and dal become soft (approx 20 minutes, add the vegetables and cook 10 minutes longer.
- In a separate saucepan, sauté the seeds in the ghee until they pop, then add other spices. Stir together to release the flavors, being careful not to let them burn. The kitchen should smell fragrant.
- Stir the sautéed spices into the cooked dal, rice, and vegetable mixture. Add the salt and chopped fresh cilantro and serve.
Kichari Variations for Each dosha:
In your own home, you can learn to vary the spices and vegetables to produce a balance for the doshas or season. For example:
- For Vata or Kapha conditions: add a pinch of ginger powder
- Pittas and Kaphas: Benefit from large servings of steamed greens
- For Vata: Favour vegetables like zucchini and sweet potato
- For children or the elderly: Serve with extra ghee on top
Recipe adapted from The Ayurvedic Institute.