The Kitchari diet (also called kitchree, kitchadee or kedgeree as the Brits called it) is making waves in the West. It is a comfort food made using spilt yellow mung dal (dal stands for lentils)and rice, cracked wheat or oats. Ayurveda (the ancient Indian medical science) believes that eating kitchari morning and evening can benefit dieters. Let us find out everything you need to know about this yummy, comfort food that can help you lose weight.
Why Kitchari diet?
Khichdi is a wholesome, balanced and complete meal. It contains proteins, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates. This delicious comfort food is made using ghee (clarified butter) which contains good fats. Many proponents of Paleo diet use ghee in their cooking. Ghee is ideally made using cow’s milk. You can use grass fed organic butter for making it-simply boil the butter until the liquid separates from the whey. The thick, yellow grainy mixture that results is ghee. Kitchari contains complex carbohydrates, good fats and proteins, as mentioned above. It is easy to make and you can literally have it ready in 10 minutes. We have discussed a basic kitchari recipe below.
Here is an image of ghee
Benefits of Kitchari diet
Kitchari does not contain gluten.
According to Ayurveda, the kitchari diet can balance all the doshas and is ideal for people having any body type. (Ayurveda classifies each person into 3 body types: vata, pitta and kapha. Vata is the body type with too much air or gas, pitta means acid and kapha is phlegm or mucous. Based on the body type, the person will end up with different chronic illnesses; for example, a person with kapha could have chronic sinusitis and a person with pitta could have headaches, heartburn etc.)
The kitchari diet is ideal for all three body types. You can eat it morning, noon and night and feel full, energetic and active. Kitchari diet can help you ward off binge eating and unhealthy food cravings. It is a complete, nutritionally balanced meal that is ideal for weight watchers, dieters as well as people recovering from any illness.
Kitchari is easy to digest. It is one of the first solid foods fed to young babies in India. Many doctors also recommend the kitchari diet to people who have recently been hospitalized or are recovering from major infections or illness. The nutrients in the kitchari are easy to absorb and it helps the body heal. It improves the immune function and allows the body to fight pathogens.
How to go on the kitchari diet
Stock up the ingredients
Start by buying the ingredients you need.
- A packet of oats or organic rice (white rice works best but you can use brown rice as well)
- Mung dal- this is available in Asian stores.
- Ghee (make this at home-boil organic unsalted butter till it leaves a brown residue at the bottom. Filter the boiled liquid carefully to separate the ghee and the residue. Store the ghee in a glass jar. You can also buy readymade ghee in Indian markets.
- Vegetables- peas, carrots, sprouts, onions, tomatoes etc
- Cumin seeds
- Coriander powder
Invest in a pressure cooker
Ideally, kitchari is made in a pressure cooker. This speeds up cooking time. You can even make it in a slow cooker or a saucepan.
Making the kitchari
Serving size 5
- Oats or rice ½ cup (if using rice, wash and set aside for half an hour)
- Mung dal- ¾ cup (wash and set aside for half an hour. You may mix and wash the rice and mung together)
- Green peas, carrots, squash, pumpkin, onions, tomatoes, potatoes or any other seasonal vegetables of your choice- washed and chopped or cubed in small pieces.
- Green chilies optional- 1 or 2 chopped in small pieces
- Hot Water- 2 cups
- Ghee-2 tsp
- Cumin seeds ½ tsp
- Coriander powder (optional) ½ tsp
- Turmeric powder ½ tsp (optional)
In a thick bottom saucepan (or pressure cooker if you are using) heat up the ghee. Add the cumin seeds and chilies and let brown. Toss in the rice and mung dal and fry well. Add the vegetables and cumin powder. Pour in the hot water, turmeric powder and salt and cover the pan/cooker. If using cooker, let there be 3 whistles. If using a pan, cover and cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring regularly. Test the kitchari for doneness. If the dal is still hard, add a little bit more water and cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn off the heat. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes. To serve, add a dollop of ghee, lemon juice and chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with low fat yogurt or buttermilk and salad.
Kitchari recipe is one which you can improvise and experiment with. Use different vegetables and add barley to the above recipe. You can even add all other types of lentils, peanuts, cashewnuts etc. Some people even add minced chicken to kitchari. Make the kitchari without rice and you have a power packed dal-only meal. You can even use cracked wheat in place of rice.
Detox and cleanse with Kitchari diet
To do a complete body cleanse, eat only kitchari and drink tons of water for 2 days. This nourishing meal will provide your body with all the minerals it needs. You won’t feel hungry when following this weight loss diet. Your skin will glow and your body will thank you for it.
Will you try this awesome kitchari diet? Let us know!