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Kitchari Cleanse for the Gut

Kitchari Cleanse for the Gut

Whenever I was struggling with a stomach ache or feeling sick, my Mom would make a quick pot of kitchari or kichdi as my family calls it. 

The most basic (and comforting) of Ayurvedic-inspired dishes we ate at home (and still do), kitchari is a must when you want to cleanse your gut. Kitchari is so gentle on the stomach that it's often the first food a baby eats. 

The simplest version involves just rice, split moong lentils, ghee, salt, turmeric and some popped mustard seeds.

And while there's nothing like this warm hug in a bowl, the kitchari cleanse recipe below uses a few more vegetables and lentils to up the flavour on this classic Ayurvedic origin dish.

Kitchari in Ayurveda

Mentioned in one of the ancient Ayurvedic texts, kitchari has rightly survived the centuries. In the past, it was believed to increase kapha and pitta doshas and bestow strength. And not only did the ancient Indians believe that kitchari would would improve digestion, but also nourish the body with a balance of nutrients-protein and carbohydrates.

In the Charaka Samhita, Ayurvedic text, kitchari is mentioned as helping various body types and imbalances

Kitchari is often the go-to during a detox or illness and when the digestive system just needs a break. 

Digestive Spices 

Indian food is a journey for the tastebuds and this kitchari recipe is no exception, packed with spices that aid digestion for a healing gut cleanse.

Ginger: Relieves gastrointestinal discomfort like bloating and indigestion. Ginger is also anti-inflammatory, may support gut microbes and is a prebiotic, meaning it nourishes the beneficial gut bacteria.

Mustard Seeds: The smell of mustard seeds is immediately recognizable when you walk into my home. I often use this tiny, but mighty spice in most of the traditional Gujarati meals I grew up eating. Mustard seeds support the production of digestive enzymes which help to break down food and helps your body absorb nutrients. This spice also inhibits the growth of harmful organisms in the digestive tract helping you maintain a balanced gut. Mustard seeds are a must during a detox.

Cumin: Another often used spice in our family, cumin is anti-inflammatory so it could support those dealing with irritable bowl syndrome and helps to control harmful gut bacteria. And cumin could help gut motility because going number two more than once a day is the goal right?

Kitchari Cleanse Recipe


  • Half cup of rice
  • Four cups of water (this depends on how mushy you want the kitchari)
  • One teaspoon mustard seeds
  • One teaspoon cumin
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • Any chopped vegetables. In this case I used spinach, carrots and cauliflower, but you can also add eggplant, potatoes, pigeon peas and even zucchini.
  • A tablespoon of ghee
  • 1/4 cup split moong
  • 1/4 cup split pigeon pea lentils
  • 1/4 cup yellow moong 
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • Half a teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin coriander powder
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Curry leaves
  • Half a chopped onion
  • Shredded ginger
  • Coconut oil

How to Make Kitchari

In an instant pot add a little coconut oil or any oil of choice and chopped onions. Saute and add shredded ginger. Cook until the onions soften.

Add chopped vegetables, salt, turmeric, cumin coriander powder and garam masala.

Add the washed rice followed by all of the lentils. 

Stir everything together and add water.

Cook on the pressure cooker setting.

In a separate pan, add the ghee and pop mustard seeds and cumin. Add the asafoetida and curry leaves. 

Pour all of this on top of the cooked kitchari and stir. 

Sprinkle the kitchari with chopped cilantro.

Tip: Kitchari should be mushy and sort of watery, not dry and lumpy.


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