Real Kitchari: An easy healthy dish to make for any meal anytime.

Wow, I was going to call this post, “Kitchari: The only dish western ayurveda practitioners know how to make.” but I thought that everyone might take that the wrong way.🙂 Like much of everything else that becomes popular in the masses, it tends to be watered down and the real knowledge or authenticity is lost. Real ayurvedic kitchari as you will soon see is hardly the dish that is being touted as kitchari to the general public.

There are so many easy to make, langhan and pachak (lightening or fasting and digestive) dishes in ayurveda, I don’t know why this is the only one that is taught to the practitioners like it is a panacea. Maybe soon I will write other recipes to other easy to make dishes that are just as important.  Kitchari’s real name is “Krsara’ in the texts of Ayurveda. Any way you look at it, it is the new buzz in westernized ayurveda and it is probably here to stay.

The exact recipe from Ksemakutuhalam, one of the Ayurvedic texts states…

12 parts unbroken sasti rice (just use Sona Masoori rice as Basmati rice is the most inferior rice as per real Ayurveda)
8 parts green gram (otherwise known as mung beans)
Water

Cook the above mixture to a thickened consistency (like that of dry oatmeal) and dress with wet ginger, asafetida, and turmeric (cooked in ghee). That is all. Yep, that is it. Nothing else is added.

The dish is like the consistency of a very dry oatmeal and is very easy to digest. Adding other things to it will make it more complex which is why it remains this simple.

In other Ayurveda texts you will find it made with only salt and tumeric and maybe cumin. No ghee at all.

But speaking of ghee: https://trueayurveda.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/once-again-real-ghee-it-is-not-what-you-are-buying-in-the-store/

A little side note on rice. Basmati has found its way to the top of the food chain in Western Ayurveda. Little surprising since Basmati rice is specifically mentioned as one of the worst rice as per Ayurveda.

The reference for this is in Charaka Samhita in the first sthana, Sutrasthana 25.38. It is mentioned as the worst rice and is unwholesome for consumption.

 

The rices that are fit for daily consumption are mentioned as:

One should regularly consume; shashtika (60 day maturity rice) and shali (red rice) 2 types of rice.

Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 5.12

In lieu of all of that, you can get Sona Masoori at almost any Indian grocer. After you get it, prove it for yourself. Make a 1/2 cup of basmati and 1/2 cup of sona masoori. Test them side by side. I need not say anything else. You will obviously be able to tell the difference in qualities. Seriously, you need to do this to understand and experience. It gets annoying having Western Ayurveda practitioners email me telling me they don’t see Basmati anywhere in the texts.

 

Benefits

This recipe is used in Ayurvedic “cleansing therapy” because of its ease of digestion and assimilation. it is stimulation and strengthening of the digestion that detoxes, not by combining lots of popular heavy nutrient dense substances or using heavy and cold coconut oil like popular articles are stating. On top of that by using coconut oil, which is cold and then using hot in potency herbs you are combining opposites which can create incompatibility and lead to clogging, not cleansing.

This khichdi is good for all doshas, balancing them and, especially when cooked with spices, is appropriate for each dosha. It is usually recommended as a monodiet during “detoxifying.”

Khichadi can be eaten by persons with any type of doshas but is especially good for vata.

Now, all Western Ayurveda practitioner’s please try this for yourself.
Look up the recipe for kitchari at the Ayurvedic Institute here: https://www.ayurveda.com/online_resource/kitchari_recipe.html

As I always say, try it for yourself, test it. Don’t take my word for it. Cook both recipes, the one i give above and then the one with the link at the same time and test it for yourself. You will find that the modern kitchari “Dr. Lads” recipe is the heaviest to digest, the ancient textbook version is easier to digest and serves the purpose that it is supposed to as well as has the results intended by Ayurveda. Even worse is to take the even further bastardized recipes from the net where they are using coconut oil and all sorts of substances. Really, go and try the side by side and then also try by making one as a meal and then the other as the next meal and see how it feels.

This says a huge amount of information. First off the art of ayurvedic cooking is lost in only the culture. It is not taught or even known in the West. Pick up any ayurvedic cooking book and check it out for yourself. Seriously. They are all missing the huge point of the foundations of Ayurveda and how the ingredients as well as the order they are cooked and the amounts of each. The quantity that is eaten is also so important as it is what ayurveda is about. In my practice, I see excess eating and combining of to many substances. Ayurveda is never and has never been vata, pitta, or kapha diet plans and list to follow. The preparation of the food articles is actually more of importance. by this all of the real results are had.

There is what is called Pakashastra in India. It is the ancient art of cooking. There are very very few ancient texts left on the subject and none of them have been translated into english. The only way to learn the true art of ayurvedic cooking is to live in the culture, in a village, where the elder women still cook this way. There you might learn this ancient art that would be the deep science of cooking.

12 thoughts on “Real Kitchari: An easy healthy dish to make for any meal anytime.

  1. Hi. I can’t get your Search to work, and that is why I am trying to get your attention here on a different subject: IDLI. I am making it today for the first time and, good or not-so-good, I’ll let you know of the results.

    Since you have opinions as to what really constitutes Kitchari, do you have any advice on idli? I am using parboiled rice, split black gram (chilka) & fenugreek seeds.

    I am in North America and am not of Asian blood, I am European. I am grateful to the south Asians, and other peoples, for inventing wonderful food in the first place and to the present generation for maintaining and sharing them. And equally grateful to my own ancestors for their instinctive use of food – a very long time ago – but much of which is ignored or lost. Like the need to prepare food in a way that inactivates the anti-nutrients, which is why I’m attracted to try idli.

    By the way, sona masoori isn’t readily available anymore over here. There was one big sack in the local India store and they would not subdivide it for me. I look around on the W.W.W. and it seems they are not shipping it here anymore.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Tatiana,
      Thanks for your question.
      “Opinion” is not what i have. Opinion is a view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. The fact and knowledge of what i have written about kitchari comes from actual Ayurvedic texts as well as me living in india in an Ayurvedic hospital for the past 6 years studying them. Very very far from “opinion”.
      Where you find all the other opinions about kitchari is out there on the internet written by western ayurveda practitioners and in their books. Kitchari is use in the treatments and it is very specific when it is used here. Vilepi, just another name. Can look that up too. In the West it is the only think that Western ayurveda practitioners know since they don’t do real ayurveda…. there is not hospitals or a real clinic of Ayurveda in America since most of what Ayurveda has and is done in a hospital is illegal to practice in America…. so how would they know anyway? it is not taught. What is taught is that everyone should eat kitchari and it is a cleansing meal. Just search out there and you will see, that is what they think. Even Scott Blossom and Banyan have joined up to create a “cleanse”, and they sell you way over priced mung beans and basmati rice and a spice mix. A joke. Serious joke.

      As for the iddly, you can use parboiled rice but understand what it is.
      The seeds of the rice plant are first milled using a rice huller to remove the chaff (the outer husks of the grain). At this point in the process, the product is called brown rice. The milling may be continued, removing the ‘bran’, i.e., the rest of the husk and the germ, thereby creating white rice. White rice is lighter and easier to digest.
      White rice may be buffed with glucose or talc powder (often called polished rice, though this term may also refer to white rice in general), parboiled, or processed into flour. White rice may also be enriched by adding nutrients, especially those lost during the milling process. While the cheapest method of enriching involves adding a powdered blend of nutrients that will easily wash off (in the United States, rice which has been so treated requires a label warning against rinsing), more sophisticated methods apply nutrients directly to the grain, coating the grain with a water insoluble substance which is resistant to washing. it is interesting to note that we would focus on nutrient density in the modern world today and not even look at the ability to digest the substance which is from an Ayurvedic view.
      Rice is not only a staple food around the world but is a cultural symbol for fertility, health and wealth in many countries. In our own country it is customary to throw rice at a newly wed couple, symbolising wishes for fertility and prosperity. Lord Vishnu caused the Earth to give birth to rice and that the god Indra taught the people how to raise it. Rice is used for worship, and coloured powdered rice is used to create beautiful works of art in the form of mandalas. In these countries, rice is treated with reverence and associated with elaborate planting rituals too.
      There are several dozen varieties of rice. Some of the common varieties of rice in the west are jasmine, Texmati, Calmati, Japanese, arboria, brown rice, wild rice and Basmati rice. Each of these are going to have separate qualities that have to be understood for what they do. White rice is considered easier to digest in Ayurveda. According to Ayurveda, shashti shali or rice that takes “60 days” to come to harvest (it is not basmati)
      , is the king of all rices. The western world of ayurveda thinks Basmati rice the best but that is because they don’t actually study the real texts and only understand what they have been taught by their teachers books. Basmati is a heavy rice that is difficult to digest. In the texts it is an inferior rice that is not to be consumed daily. White is satvic and it is nourishing for the body tissues and it is easy to digest. Parboiled is tamasic.

      Ayurveda recommends avoiding rice that is par boiled, instant or pre-cooked because is has no prana or life energy in it. It would be considered rotten food.

      Rice contributes the sweet taste according to Ayurveda. It is a light, soft, smooth and nourishing food. It is cooling in nature. Rice is generally good for balancing Vata and Pitta. It may create excess mucus, so rice in excess is not considered ideal for Kapha. To balance Vata, eat rice that is cooked well, in plenty of water, and add a dash of Ghee to the cooked rice. Desserts made with rice and milk are particularly cooling and balancing for Pitta.

      You can find sona masoori is readily avaiable on amazon and all over the internet to order. There is no shortage. Just need to look. And amazon ships everywhere.

      And there are so many rices, sona masoori is not the only one. But to understand the qualities of rices is the most important. Also to point out again that it is obviously not understood in Western Ayurveda when all they do is promote Basmati rice.

      The use of parboiled rice for your iddly is normal in the modern world because it makes fluffy iddly. This obviously is not the original way rice was used. You can try using regular rice and put some poha into the mix. The black gram is normal and correct. Fenugreek is good as well.

      Also make sure you make the batter extremely fine and not to thin.
      Also the batter is not to ferment more than 6 hours if it is to be considered Ayurvedic. longer will make it to fermented that will aggravate dosha.

      Hope all of that helps.

  2. Which indian villages do you recommend to live in,to experience this culture of cooking.I imagine such food would be tastier as well

    • Depends on where you go in India the food is all different in the different states. How they call the same foods as well as how it is served is based on what is the environment there and what grows there.

      • I know.Still where in India is such culture followed?Even in villages,onion.garlic,meat and tea,coffee have become pretty regular food.I appreciate that different environment,different food according to what suits them.But please give examples where such culture is followed.I would like to visit such places,observe and learn.

      • I know of a place in south karnataka that even still speaks in sanskrit. There are places out there, throughout india. Yes, for the most part i would agree. only 30% of Indians are even vegetarians and in my direct experience here, I am more hindu than 99% of the people I come into contact with and certainly know much much more about their own cultural heritage and spirituality. As for exact places named for you, go out and search. There is not going to be perfection anywhere. Check out Odissa. Everywhere you can find authentic foods and as I said, every place has its own unique style of similar foods based in the location, environment and what grows there. Almost every village i have ever been to throughout that has the older generation, the wife cooks traditionally. Almost every single one. Only in the bigger cities is this not the case. The newer families it is being lost of course. More packaged products. Needing to make everything easier and using newer technology.

    • Hi mandalasisters,
      Thanks. Try it out.

      It is not MY recipe. I can actually take photos of the orignal texts and paste them here as i have on other posts.

      this is what is in real ayurveda. It is found in those classical texts and is what is served in ayurvedic hospitals in India if they are not made for the foreigners/westerners. What is in those western ayurveda cookbooks out there in the western world and in yoga websites are simply copies of each other, that is not kitchari nor ayurveda.

      just as much as coconut oil for oil pulling or………. (list goes on)

  3. Even though I’ve read only two articles, you have really captured my interest in reading more. About your statement:

    “Think about it, today we think heavy metals are toxic to our systems. We are so so so far off the mark it is crazy.”

    Where do you write in more detail about this? I seem unable to make the Search function work.

    I would say that heavy metals – like every substance on earth – can be either beneficial or harmful, depending on the person consuming it and more important, the quantity and the form it’s in. Isn’t that what Ayurveda is about in the first place – suitability for the individual? Maybe even basmati rice is better than sona masuri for certain persons with certain constitutional type or medical condition? Just asking. Thank you.

    • Thanks for your comment.
      The comment about heavy metals is in the context that Western science and our knowledge is highly limited. Ayurveda uses heavy metals after proper shodana and samskar. This is why they are not harmful and yes of course you are correct with the comment of who and how much but that is also in every meal and every day and seasonal and the normal desha kala patra.

      Basmati rice is considered one of the poorest rices to consume. As per ayurvedic texts. No, basmati is not better than sona masoori or many other rices due to constitutional type or medical condition.

  4. Hallo
    My name is Eva and I’m from Frankfurt, Germany.
    First thing first i wanted to thank for huge work you have done putting such a brilliant site.
    It really shows you have put your soul and heart into it completely, and that you actually care for your fellow human beings.
    I could go for hours how much it changed in my life but I won’t bore you with that🙂 Thank you, in any case.

    I tried to start cooking in more proper way (btw my familly and friends just loved the Sona Masoori, its the best rice we ever ate).
    As much as i browsed your site i coudln’t find some more basic stuff, I hope you could help me with some troubling questions.
    Here goes and i hope you read comments:

    1. You never mentioned if one should use Rock salt (not refined of course) or Sea salt. Is that of any matter? Or invidual?
    2. Keeping in mind that bread is hardly like it used to be in my granparents time, my familly eats more of millet, oatmeals, pasta etc.
    I know its seasons mainly, then inviduality, but is there any pasta that is superior to others (like Sona masoori?) There are many types such as rye, full grain wheat, durum, einkorn, spelt.
    3. Big mystery with oil. I presume people in old times haven’t access to refined oils, and only cold pressed were available. But i heard you weren’t supposed to fry on cold pressed ones. I don’t always have time to make ghee, unfortunately. And also, did they pour vegatable oil on their food or only ghee? I use too pour cold pressed canola, sunflower, flaxseed or olive oil on oatmeal on water with dates/nuts i give to kids.

    Again, many thanks. May Gott always favor you.

    • Eva,
      Wonderful that you have found the blog to be useful.
      1. There are many different types of salt. Those in the market are only a few. Each has its own qualities. Rock salt is the best in general to be using. Sea salt is hot in quality and should not be used on a daily basis. Rock salt is less hot of the salts because it is mined and has more prithvi and has dried out while sea salt has much more jala in it so it is hottest. Salt in general is very very hot. It is water and fire elements and therefore unstable in its formation which is why too uch or too little causes problems so easily.
      2. I would not advise pasta. In general it is a difficult way to digest grains as it is not cooked well but in water. This I can explain with the example with cookie dough raw verses a cookie that is cooked. The dough is very hard to digest. Pasta is also gummy and gooey like this. There are pastas on the market that are easier to digest like rice pasta, etc… But still the metod of cooking does the same.
      3. Oil. Long subject. Don’t believe the hype with what the western world is coming out with in all the raw ideas. Adding an uncooked substance and cooked together is still and always will be incorrect combining and causes disturbance with digestion. Best off to cooked it all together. You would be surprised with what ancient times had access to. We have all sorts ideas (false ones) that ancient times they had little knowledge and little technology. it is actually the opposite and only our egos (cultural educations about past) and lack of knowledge about it is really the lack. 1. They purified mercury just 5000 years ago to be a medicinal drug to the human body. And more. Think about it, today we think heavy metals are toxic to our systems. We are so so so far off the mark it is crazy. Very disconnected from knowledge and nature….. or in other words, god. We are lacking today, not back then.
      Okay, so on oil, basically, just cook it. Don’t pour raw oil on cooked food. Cold pressed oils are the reason for the oil going rancid since it is impossible to take the water (moisture) out of the oil without cooking it, hence it goes bad. Cooked oils last for a very long long time and are used for storage of medicines and other things.
      All oils are used for specific reasons. Using ghee is just one of the most beneficial oils. For its qualities in many perspectives. Satvic as just one. Sunflower is fine to use. Olive I do not advise on a continual basis. Best is to use whatever oil is harvested in your local and stay away from oils that are not in your environment. This goes for all foods and medicines as well.
      Watch how heavy the oatmeal is that you are making for the kids and aslo learn the seasons and how to balance them as their food needs to be based upon that. oatmeal like that is not healthy all year around. Nothing is.

      Gott bless you to. Hope this has helped.

      Research the different qualities of different different oils. Same with salts. Learn. Don’t just follow a chore list of what is good or bad. Ignorance is destroyed with knowledge. A list of things to follow and not follow is ignorance. It creates more darkness as without deeper knowledge of why whatever is being followed, it will fail.

      Be well. Blessings.

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