My Kitchari for Thanksgiving & Beyond

Some time ago I posted a recipe for Kitchari given to me by my former Ayurvedic practitioner. It wasn’t much different from the other Kitchari recipes I found on the Internet. However, since receiving the recipe from Vishnu I have developed my own versions. And when I went to Kripalu Yoga Center last fall, I found that it was available every day for every meal, because the basic yellow split mung beans were combined with a grain of the day and you had the choice of making it sweet or savory.

Since I will be away for Thanksgiving near Berkeley, CA, I hope to purchase some of these beans in one of the Indian food shops and make it for dinner to be served with turkey and other traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Because I have developed my own Kitchari, I am posting it under my “Nobody Eats Like Me category.” It’s a great winter dish and I hope you will experiment with your own spices, veggies, and sweeter combinations that can be geared to your own tastes.


Kitchari still being “stewed.” I cook it until almost all the liquid is absorbed.
(See photo at end of another version with all water absorbed.)


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.)
¼-1/2 tsp each mustard, coriander, cumin seeds; turmeric powder
1-2 garlic cloves
3/4” of fresh ginger
(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 often cook my veggies separately but you can also add them to the beans & grains (see below)

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.
  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. 
  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.
  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!


Here is a finished kitchari with water absorbed. I sauteed the spices in ghee and added the soaked yellow split mung beans, added stock, then added the rice I had cooked separately while the mung beans were cooking. The white part of the bok choy and leeks I added first and the leaves of the bok choy at the end. I also put a dollop of my pesto on top.



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