Ayurvedic recipe Kitchari (Kitri)

Ayurvedic kitchari, also known as kitri, is a traditional Indian dish that offers a plethora of health benefits. This simple yet nourishing meal consists of a combination of rice, lentils, and spices, and it has been a staple in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. One of the key advantages of kitchari is its ability to support digestion and detoxification. The blend of rice and lentils provides a good balance of complex carbohydrates and plant-based protein, which helps stabilize blood sugar levels and promotes sustained energy throughout the day. Moreover, the combination of spices like turmeric, cumin, and ginger in kitchari provides anti-inflammatory properties and aids in boosting the immune system. Kitchari is also gentle on the digestive system, making it an ideal choice during periods of detoxification or when recovering from an illness. The simplicity and versatility of kitchari make it an excellent option for those seeking a wholesome and nourishing meal that promotes overall well-being.


We love infusing cooking classes in our trainings and retreats, and usually host one at the end of our Ayurvedic Fundamentals training and retreat (also part of our signature Yoga & Ayurveda teacher training). Although we do like variety and play with recipes, we most often cook a traditional Kitchari during these events. It is one of the most universal and beneficial recipes that we believe every Ayurveda practitioner should know – and infuse in their diet on a regular basis.

Ayurveda Fundamentals Training

Why is Kitchari so beneficial?

  • Balancing for all three doshas
  • Easy to digest even for those with various digestive issues
  • Wholesome nourishment 
  • Supports gentle Ayurvedic detox
  • Remove ama (toxins) and heaviness from the body
  • Supports regular elimination 
  • Improve energy levels
  • It is often served in Ayurvedic retreats and during pancha karma
  • Although nourishing for all tissues (dhatus) , it also aids detoxication and is recommended as a detox plan especifically for Vata dosha
Ayurvedic recipe - Kichari plate

Basic Kitchari Recipe 

{makes 4 servings}
  • 1 cup Yello Mung Dal (yellow split peas)*
  • ½ cup Basmati rice **
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, EVOO or Ghee 
  • 4-6 cups water (depending on desired thickness, see notes)
  • Pinch pink Himalayan salt
  • ½ tbsp coriander
  • ½ tbsp curcuma/turmeric
  • Pinch black pepper
  • ½ tbsp cumin (powder or seeds or both)
  • Vegetables such as carrots, zucchini, asparagus, sweet potato, peas
  • Spices: see notes 
  • Vegetables: see notes

*You can use a different legume/pulse if dal isn’t available for your. Our favorite alternative is red lentils, which are very easy to digest and cook the fastest. In that case, cook rice half way first before adding the lentils

**Basmati rice is considered the queen of grains in Ayurveda and the most balancing for all doshas. Brown basmati is a good choice, but harder to digest. You can substitute it with another long grain rice such as jasmine if basmati is unavailable; ultimately any rice can be used. 

When making larger quantities, you can cook rice and dal separately, but generally the benefit of kitchari is to make it a one pot meal, cooking everything together when possible. Alternatively, mix the separately cooked ingredients thoroughly later on. 


  1. Separately wash rice and lentils thoroughly, removing extra starch and impurities. 
  2. For easier digestion, you can soak both for minimum of 2h, specially dal/lentils. 
  3. If using yellow dal, cook the rice and dal together in minimum double the amount of water, with a pinch of salt. If your goal is to make the kichari more soupy, feel free to add extra water immediately. If using red lentils, add them about half way through. 
  4. Alternatively, you can roast your rice and dal on oil or ghee (with spices first), before adding water. 
  5. While the grains cook, wash and cut your desired vegetables. 
  6. Wait for the grains to boil, removing any extra foam that may form on top, before adding any other spices or veggies. 
  7. If using root vegetables such as potatoes, add them first while the rice and dal are still somewhat uncooked. 
  8. Add the remainder of your vegetables, ensuring you do not overcook them. 
  9. Add your spices, leaving fresh herbs for last. 
  10. Alternatively, you can roast your spices on oil or ghee with spices separately in order to release the flavors and activate their potency. 
  11. Mix everything thoroughly, ensuring the dal has cooked well. Depending on your cooking time and types of lentils (such as red), they mind become mushy. That is perfectly fine and easy to digest. 
  12. Top with fresh herbs such as cilantro if using it. Optionally add a splash of lemon or lime juice. 

Customizing Kithcari by DOSHA

Vata balancing

  • Make it more soupy (add water/ liquid)
  • Use warming spices, but ensure the flavor isn’t overwhelming
  • Can use extra oils or healthy fats
  • Use grounding, earthy, root vegetables (Suggestions: potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash, celeriac, carrots) 
  • Optional splash of lemon or lime juice 
  • Suggested spices: turmeric, ginger, black pepper, garam masala, coriander, cumin

Pitta balancing

  • Make it medium thick
  • Use minimal spices, avoiding any extra hot/pungent spices 
  • Minimal amount of fats 
  • Use grounding, slightly sweet, cooling vegetables (Suggestions: Carrots, Broccoli, Celery, Peas, Sweet potato)
  • Can add cooling spices such as fresh cilantro or mint to top
  • Suggested spices: turmeric, minimal pinch of pepper (to activate the curcumin), fennel seeds

Kapha balancing

  • Make it more dry
  • Can dry roast rice and dal before adding liquid to cook 
  • Minimal amount of fats
  • Generous use of spices
  • Use light, airy and drying vegetables and herbs (Suggestions: Green leafy vegetables, Broccoli, Asparagus, Cauliflower, Cabbage)
  • Suggested spices: Ginger (generous amount), cinnamon, clove, garam masala, cayenne