Kichari, the Complete Cleansing Meal

Kichari, the Complete Cleansing Meal

Tasty and filling, this traditional Ayurvedic go-to dish is a mainstay in Ayurvedic cooking for so many reasons.

First, its two main ingredients are basmati rice and mung dal. Together they create a complete protein that is completely balanced for all of the doshas (tridoshic).

Mung is the one legume that all three doshas can eat without challenge. With mung dal as a major ingredient, Kichari is no exception. It is easy to digest and yet provides strength and vitality to the body, nourishing all of the body’s tissues. This makes it a preferred food to consume on a mono-diet (one food for a period of days). You could literally live on nothing but kichari and get all of your nutrients!

And as if these benefits are not enough, kichari is excellent for detoxification and de-aging of the cells. Ayurveda recommends a kichari mono-diet for detoxification, particularly when preparing for a rejuvenating Pancha Karma retreat. To me, it feels like Scrubbing Bubbles® in my intestines! I feel full and yet cleansed from the inside out.

If you’d like to try kichari in a cleanse or as a meal now and again, here are a couple of tips to keep in mind. There are numerous recipes for it (and numerous ways to spell it as you will find!) Most recipes have these ingredients in common—basmati rice, mung dal, aromatic spices, ghee and a variety of vegetables.

Mung beans can be purchased split (yellow) or whole (green). I find the shells of the whole green mung too bitter for my taste and it’s a little difficult straining them out. The split yellow mung aren’t bitter at all and are easier to digest. I’ve included two standard recipes below, one that includes green mung as well as yellow and one with just the split yellow mung beans. Feel free to try them both. Then, once you get the hang of it, experiment with whatever spices and vegetables you have in the refrigerator.

The only other tidbits I have for you is that Vatas should use twice as much basmati rice as mung beans, Pittas should use the same amount of each, and Kaphas should use twice the amount of beans to rice. Kaphas benefit from hotter spices like black pepper, cayenne pepper and hing, while Pittas will do better with milder aromatics like cumin (my favorite!), coriander and turmeric.


The Ayurvedic Institute recipe

Hayley’s Favorite Kitchari Recipe


The sole purpose of this article is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have an acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or email Karen Callahan at


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