Easy to Digest Kitcheree
This traditional Indian dish is full of anti-inflammatory spices, known as carminitives that help prevent flatulence and support healthy digestion. Kitcheree relies on split yellow mung beans, an easily digestible legume that’s also high in complex carbohydrates (especially when combined with basmati rice), and is an excellent vegan protein that provides energy, satiety, and balanced blood sugar. The addition of coconut oil or ghee helps to lubricate the system, further aiding in digestion. In Ayurvedic medicine, it’s recommended as a cleansing, detoxifying, and nourishing food, perfect for promoting agni, or "digestive fire"!.
Kitcheree is a staple component of the yogic diet. Every yoga/retreat center that serves it has its own favourite name for this dish. At Kripalu in New York they call it the “Seclusion Special.” It provides perfect sustenance before meditation and contemplation because it’s so easy on your digestive system that it induces few “bodily distractions”! Kitcheree gives your digestive system a needed rest while providing easily assimilated nutrients. This makes it ideal for times when we are dealing with a flu, upset tummy, or even a sore throat—kitcheree can be cooked longer to make it stewy-soft and easy to chew. At these times, we want all of our vital resources to go towards healing and supporting our immune system rather than expending energy breaking down food.
It is said that there are as many recipes and variations as there are grandmothers in India! Once you get the foundation down, have fun adding different spices (cardamom, asafoetida or “hing”, garam masala, or fenugreek) and vegetables (chard, kale, squash, or cubes of sweet potato) to make your own versions of this fabulous one-pot meal!
NOTE: While not essential, to further improve the digestibility of the legumes and rice, soak both for at least 3 hours before cooking (or overnight in the fridge) along with a stick of kombu seaweed or bay leaves. Rinse in a sieve until the water turns clear.
Easy to Digest Kitcheree
- 6 Tbsp coconut oil or ghee
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 2 Tbsp cumin powder
- 1 Tbsp coriander powder
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp sea salt, ground
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 c onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 sticks of celery, chopped
- 1 c yellow mung beans
- 1 c brown basmati rice
- 8 c water
- 1-2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
- 4 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
- *Optional: A few lemon wedges, for garnish
- Heat coconut oil in a large pot.
- Add mustard seeds and sauté until they pop.
- Add remaining dry spices and vegetables, stirring for a few minutes, making sure they don’t burn.
- Add the beans and rice. Mix well to combine with spices.
- Add water and bring the mix to a boil.
- Turn heat down to a simmer and cover, stirring occasionally until the beans and rice are cooked—approximately 30–45 minutes depending on your rice (less time if they have been soaked beforehand).
- You can add more water if prefer your kitcheree thinner, or more coconut oil, ghee, or butter if you like it richer.
- Stir in the fresh ginger.
- Add more salt and cracked black pepper or cayenne, to taste.
- Serve in bowls and top with chopped cilantro.
*Optional: Garnish with a dash of apple cider vinegar, tamari, or coconut aminos, and toasted coconut, sesame seeds, or hemp hearts.