Kitchari Recipe, Updated

A couple of days ago I posted Dr. John Douillard’s Winter Grocery List (  Additionally, earlier this month was Bean Day and this month is also National Soup Month and I equate soups with stews, the difference being that stews may be thicker than most soups. So now I make my kitchari (Indian Stew)  with whole beans in addition to the yellow split mung beans that form the base of this hearty dish. I also sometimes add cashews that simmer in the stew, making them more edible and therefore easier to digest.  Here’s the updated version, which, by the way,incorporates foods from the Winter Grocery List, such as carrots, onions, yellow split mung beans, cashews, ginger, garlic, etc.  A perfect Winter Stew!

This is a photo taken with a new batch of kitchari, adding cashews and black-eyes peas.

Basic Ingredients

1 T. ghee (clarified butter), butter or olive oil
½ cup yellow split mung beans (moong dahl), soaked at least 4-5 hours or overnight
¼ cup rice, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, barley, etc. soaked 3-4 hours or overnight (While soaking grains isn’t as important as soaking the beans, soaking hastens the cooking process.)
one cup beans of choice, soaked overnight (opt. sprouted), drained and cooked with the mung beans and grains (I use chick peas or black eyes peas or aduki beans)
¼-1/2 tsp each mustard, coriander, cumin seeds; turmeric powder
1-2 garlic cloves
3/4” of fresh ginger
1/2 cup raw or lightly roasted cashews
(If fresh or seeds are unavailable substitute ground, and use ¼ tsp.)
salt & pepper to taste unless your soup stock has these spices in it.
3-4 cups water or vegetable soup stock

Optional Veggies

I sometimes cook my veggies separately but you can also add them to the beans & grains when they are first added to the pan.

Cruciferous– cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli
Root– potatoes, Beets, squash, (daikon) radish, carrots, onions or leeks
Leafy– Spinach, kale, chard, arugula, cress
Miscellaneous– Celery, peas (snow, English, snap), mushrooms, peppers, green beans


  1. In a large (10”), shallow saucepan or fry pan with a 1-2” lip, heat oil or butter and sauté mustard, coriander, cumin, turmeric, garlic and ginger for 1-2 minutes. 
  1. Add soaked and drained mung beans and drained grain of choice and stir until they are well blended with the spices. Add soaked beans.
  2. Add 2 cups of water or stock and allow to simmer while cutting other veggies. If using longer to cook veggies such as Brussels sprouts (cut in half), squash or potatoes (diced), carrots (sliced), you can add them as soon as you add the first 2 cups of water or stock. Add cashews.
  3. Add another (3rd) cup of water or stock as the water is absorbed by the stew. For a firmer bean and grain dish, 3 cups should be enough, but for a softer texture, you will need 4 cups. This is where your own taste buds rule. (Is you use more water, the dish will be softer, like oatmeal. I like to keep the veggies and grains a little more al dente.)
  4. When all the water is absorbed, shut off the heat and cover for about 5 minutes before serving. This is a complete meal. If you know your Ayurvedic body type, you can add other spices and veggies that match your dietary profile.

This makes about 2 ½-3 cups of stew, so it can serve 2 people as main dish or 4 as a side dish of about ½ cup per serving.  If you use non-gluten grains, then this dish will be totally gluten free. It is also vegan, because no dairy is used. I make my soup stock from veggies, but if you are not a vegetarian, feel free to use chicken or beef stock.

I can make it almost every day in the winter to satisfy my desire for something warm and hearty that matches my body type and food tastes. If you Google Kitchari you will find a number of recipes and even information on how you can have a modified fast with kitchari. Spices and beans can be found at an Indian food shop.

Personal Note: Before I wrote my third cookbook, The Whole Foods Experience (Amazon), my son complained that I never make a recipe exactly the same each time I cooked it.  So when my book came out, I signed it:” Now you can make a recipe over and over again exactly the same.” With Kitchari, there are so many variations that I have yet to make it exactly the same each time I cook it. My son would not be happy with that, but I am!


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