Diet and Lifestyle

Here is Cynthia’s time-tested Kitcheree recipe for detox, easy digestion,weight loss, and for a cleansing diet.

For all Doshas, Genotypes, Constitutional types

Kitcheree is an easy to digest one-dish meal consisting of a balanced protein combination of pulse, (small beans) and Basmati rice. Basmati rice is considered much easier to digest than brown rice which is why it is used in Kitcheree. The proportions of beans to rice are usually at least twice as much rice as beans, making it easy to digest. It is easy to digest, the ‚”chicken soup” of Ayurveda, the type of food you would eat if you were recovering from an illness. For those on a cleansing diet, eating Kitcheree is a way of allowing the body to cleanse itself by increasing agni (cellular metabolic ‚”fires”) which burn up toxins while one eliminates hard to digest, dosha-aggravating foods. During Pancha Karma, Kitcheree is the required food.
1/2 Tsp. (or more) ghee
3/4 Tsp. Cumin seeds (ground cumin will do if you don’t have seeds)
1/8 Tsp. Turmeric powder
Either fresh chopped celantro or 1/2 Tsp. Coriander powder

1/2 cup Basmati Rice, washed
1/8 (or 1/4 or 1/2) cup small beans, called “dal” in India. (1/8 is easiest to digest; measure 1/4 or 1/2 cups if hunger is strong)
Choose one, either
1- Moong Dal (split mung beans), or
2-Orange Lentils, or
3-Brown Lentils

Add 1 Tsp. grated ginger or 1/2 Tsp. dried ginger powder to increase digestive fire.
Add 1 pinch Asafoedtida (Hing) if hunger is not strong, and if Pitta is not too high. (Hing will increase P and decrease V and K. )

Put 1/2 Teaspoon (or more) ghee in bottom of pot. Turn burner on high.
Put 3/4 Teaspoon Cumin seeds into hot ghee. When cumin seeds pop, add:
1/8Teaspoon Turmeric
1 pinch Asafoetida (Hing). (elim. for Pitta nature or imbalance)
If you don’t have fresh cilantro (which will be added later), add
1/2 Teaspoon Coriander powder.
Add 1 Teaspoon fresh grated ginger after, when adding rice and dal.

Fry spices for half a minute. Then stir in:
1/2 cup washed Basmati Rice
1/8 cup (see above for optional measurements) Split Mung Beans (purchased from Indian Store or Staff of Life in Santa Cruz). If you can’t get Split Mung Beans, you can use whole Mung Beans, or Orange Dahl (looks like bright orange lentils), The Mung is easiest to digest, best for weak gastric fire, for cleansing diets, and during Pancha Karma Therapy.

Stir-fry mixture briefly in ghee/spice mixture until coated.

Add two cups water (or more) . Simmer 40 minutes or until soft (not crispy) like gruel. Or cook 12 minutes in a pressure cooker.

When done, mix in 1/3 cup (or to taste) chopped fresh cilantro. (Add small amount of Himalayan Rock Salt or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos to taste.)


1. Vegetables can be cooked with the kitcheree. They are added to the mixture after spices are fried and beans and rice are stir fried and water has been added.
Important: add from one to three vegetables that harmonize, such as:
a) sweet potato, carrot and turnip
b) carrot and green bean
c) sweet potato and spinach
d) cauliflower and carrot
e) winter squash and carrot
f) summer squash and green beans
g) green beans and sweet potato
h) broccoli and carrots
i) broccoli and sweet potato
j) any of these vegetables alone

Suggested vegetables:
Carrots, Broccoli, Sweet potatoes Cauliflower, broccoli, spinach (small amt., add with cilantro after mixture has been fully cooked.). Do not use the same vegetables each time–vary them to aid the digestive fire!

2. Other spice possibilities:
Use cardomon, cinnamon, cloves, fennel to make it aromatic (balancing to P and V)
Use a small amount of black mustard seeds and/or fenugreek to make it spicy (anti vata and anti kapha, pro pitta)
Use coconut to make it anti pitta, cooling.

Use chutneys and pickles for your digestion, but not on a cleansing or PK diet. Use hot or sour condiments if your gastric fire is temporarily weak and there is no general Pitta imbalance, sweet if Pitta/Vata is high, or you feel acidity or bloating; salty if appetite is missing or you are underweight. these condiments should be taken in moderation, only when needed to balance the digestive fire.

3. Dal Recipe.
You can use this same recipe to make Dal, the small beans in a stew without rice
a) Dal is made using this same recipe, eliminating rice from it. The rice can then be cooked in a separate pot.
b) As an option, add vegetables to the dal, as above.
c) If it is made without vegetables, the vegetables can be cooked separately (see recipe for Ayurvedic Stir Fry)
d) It is usually served poured over rice.

4. Dal Soup Recipe.
Dal Soup is made in the same way as Dal; however, instead of adding two cups of water, add three or more, depending on preference. I like it best when it contains vegetables. Rice can then be cooked separately.