MUNG DAL KITCHARI (VATA REDUCING)
How to Make Mung Dal Kitchari (Vata Reducing)
PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 60 MINUTES
SKILL LEVEL: EASY
INGREDIENTSSKILL LEVEL: EASY
1. Use split mung bean if possible.
2. Soak the mung beans for several hours before cooking and drain.
3. Bring the mung beans and 4 cups of water to a boil, scooping off any foam that forms on the top. Then, strain out the liquid, and add another 4c to the mung dal.
4. Meanwhile mash the ginger with a mortar and pestle, or slice thinly. Set the mustard seed aside. Mix the remaining spices together with 1 tsp water, making a paste.
5. Fry the mustard seeds in ghee until they begin to pop.
6. Add the spice paste, spreading it in the pan, and fry for thirty seconds.
7. Add the spices to mung bean. Take some of the broth and wash any remaining spices from the frying pan into the simmering mung bean.
8. After an hour, or when mung beans begin to soften add white basmati rice and another cup of water. If you are going to use brown rice, be sure to add an extra cup of water and cook for longer - until the rice is soft.
9. Cook until tender on low heat for 20-25 minutes.
How Can Mung Dal Kitchari (Vata Reducing) Make You Feel Great?
Kitchari is Ayurveda's perfect food, indicated in times of recovery as well as plain old digestive discomfort. Kitchari can even be the centerpiece of a mono-diet or fast, as it is a simple food that supplements the healing process. As with Chinese congees and Grandma's chicken soups, there are as many ways to make kitchari as there are reasons to consume it. Typical modifications include vegetables such as carrots, greens, zucchini, or potatoes. Spices like cumin, cinnamon, or black pepper can be included, as well as even toasted nuts or coconut. Technically, a kitchari is any dish combining rice and legumes. Typically, however, kitcharies use mung beans because they are the easiest legume to digest. This kitchari is especially suited to Vata dosha.
Ayurveda's signature healing dish is a simple yet dynamic bean and rice mixture called kitchari. Kitchari is a cleansing yet heart warming synergy of mung beans, basmati rice, and digestive spices. It is a complete protein, rich in fiber, cleansing to the digestive tract, and will act to bulk up stool for easier elimination. Those who avoid beans because of digestive difficulties need not avoid kitchari. Mung beans are among the easiest to digest legumes. They are antacid, helping to soothe fiery digestive conditions, and won't promote gas and bloating.
Why do spices work?
Spices are the difference between a tasty meal and a bland one, and also the difference between healthy and poor digestion. A well-spiced dish digests better than a bland one. Just as spices stimulate the tongue, spices also stimulate the stomach. The tongue is a mirror of the digestive tract. Asafoetida, also called hing, is a sharp and heating spice that stimulates the tongue. As with all spices, hing not only makes food more interesting - it also has many health promoting qualities. Hing assists digestion, soothes spasms, and prevents gas. The spice's pungency stimulates the body to increase blood flow and gastric juices to the intestines. The extra juice and enhanced blood flow improves your digestion in the process. Reach for spices with enthusiasm, but remember: Too much spice is harsh and can leave a burning feeling the intestines. Be aware of your body's reaction to spices. Those with ulcers or inflammation will not benefit from an ingredient with the spicy strength of hing, but it is helpful for those with sluggish digestion.
WHY SHOULD YOU EAT AYURVEDICALLY?
Eating Ayurvedically makes you feel nourished and energized. An Ayurvedic diet is
tailored to your individual body type and the specific imbalances you are working with
at any given time. Foods that supplement your specific body type’s needs and digest
easily create your menu. Watch as you eat less but feel more satisfied because what you
are eating truly nourishes you. Since Ayurveda believes all disease begins in the digestive
tract, food is your first medicine. By eating a healthy diet that’s ideal for your body, you
experience optimal health.
Is Mung Dal Kitchari (Vata Reducing) Good for Me?
Find out by taking this free, easy quiz
You'll learn your body type, and whether Mung Dal Kitchari (Vata Reducing) is a good fit for you. Time to complete: approximately 1 minute.
Increases These Qualities (Gunas)
Functional Ayurveda helps you assess imbalances through 20 main characteristics
Aggravating these characteristics weakens your body and causes imbalance.
By knowing which characteristics are habitually imbalanced in your body, you will be able to identify and correct imbalances before you get sick.
Every characteristic has an opposite which balances it (i.e. hot balances cold).
You restore balance by favoring diet and lifestyle choices that increase the opposite characteristic.
ABOUT CLEAR GUNA
Clear refers to anything that cleanses or flushes out wastes, or that digests ama.
LEARN MORE ABOUT CLEAR
ABOUT MOBILE GUNA
Mobile refers to anything that stimulates the nervous system, muscles, or activity.
LEARN MORE ABOUT MOBILE
ABOUT HOT GUNA
Hot is identified by increased body temperature, metabolism, or inflammation.
LEARN MORE ABOUT HOT
The 6 Tastes
Taste is used to sense the most basic properties and effects of food.
Each taste has a specific medicinal effect on your body.
Cravings for food with certain tastes indicate your body is craving specific medicinal results from food.
Taste is experienced on the tongue and represents your body's reaction to foods.
Sweet taste causes physical satisfaction and attraction whereas bitter taste causes discomfort and aversion.
Kapha should use less sweet taste while Vata and Pitta would benefit from using more sweet taste.
One of the first signs of illness is that your taste and appetite for food changes.
The six tastes are sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent.
Do you crave foods with any of the tastes below?
ABOUT BITTER GUNA
Bitter is disagreeable and stimulating rejection, and a strong taste often associated with black coffee, dark chocolate, and most salad greens.
LEARN MORE ABOUT BITTER
ABOUT PUNGENT GUNA
Pungency is characterized by irritation, or sharp, spicy foods that irritate the mouth such as black pepper.
LEARN MORE ABOUT PUNGENT
The Three Doshas / Body Types
People tend to get sick, over and over again, due to similar causes and habitual imbalances that are unique to the person.
Your body type summarizes this tendency, showing you the 'type' of conditions and imbalances that frequently challenge your health & wellness.
Using body type, you can also identify remedies likely to improve your strength and resiliency.
Your body type identifies physical and mental characteristics as well as your personal strengths and weaknesses.
The calculation of your body type is based on your medical history.
The 3 functional body types
are Catabolic (Vata), Metabolic (Pitta), and Anabolic (Kapha).
Catabolic individuals tend to break down body mass into energy.
Metabolic individuals tend to burn or use energy.
Anabolic individuals tend to store energy as body mass.
Catabolic people tend to be easily stimulated, hyperactive, underweight and dry.
Metabolic people tend to be rosy-cheeked, easily irritated, focused, driven, and easily inflamed.
Anabolic people are heavy, stable and grounded, but if they store too much energy, they could gain weight easily and have congestion.
HAS THE FOLLOWING
Sattvic foods promote awareness and a refreshed mind by nourishing the body without taxing digestion. Sattvic foods do not stimulate desire or nervous energy. They create clarity instead of drowsiness or heaviness.
LEARN MORE ABOUT SATTVIC
An herb or food that makes the urine more alkaline (higher pH). This herbal action can be helpful for a number of inflammatory conditions.
LEARN MORE ABOUT ALKALIZING
Prana is the Sanskrit word for vital life energy, similar to Qi in Chinese Medicine. Many herbs stimulate your energy, or improve the flow of prana through your body. Generally, prana needs to be increased in spring after a sleepy winter.
LEARN MORE ABOUT PRANA
Ojas is the essence of healthy tissue, immunity, stable energy and happiness. Substances that improve ojas are recommended after long-term illness, debility, emotional and physical trauma, and even sadness.
LEARN MORE ABOUT OJAS
Herbs that increase tejas improve metabolism & brightness by stimulating the fire element at a cellular level. Destroys toxicity, excess fluids, & improves digestion. Also helps with mental function such as poor memory, lack of inspiration & depression.
LEARN MORE ABOUT TEJAS
Experiences are Personal
Experiences vary according to the person and constitution. Individual results may vary.
The list of actions below has not be approved by the FDA and should not be used to treat a medical condition.
Stimulates the release of gas. Helpful for bloating or cramping abdominal pain. Propels food downward.
LEARN MORE ABOUT CARMINATIVE
Cleanse and Detox:
An herb that detoxifies by helping your body metabolize toxins, as opposed to eliminating them.
LEARN MORE ABOUT BURNS-TOXINS
Energy Vitality Strength:
Heart & Circulation:
A vasodilator is an herb that widens the blood vessels by the relaxation of smooth muscle cells within the vessel walls, thereby increasing circulation systemically or to a local area.
LEARN MORE ABOUT VASODILATOR
Kidney & Urinary:
Herbs that promote urine formation, thereby flushing the kidneys and urinary tract while eliminating any excess water retention. As diuretics reduce water retention, they are often used to reduce blood pressure.
LEARN MORE ABOUT DIURETIC
Liver & Gall Bladder:
Cholagogues stimulate the release of bile from the gall bladder for improved digestion.
LEARN MORE ABOUT CHOLAGOGUE
Herbs which stimulate blood flow in the pelvic area and uterus. They are used to increase scanty menstruation, relieve menstrual pain, and other functions.
LEARN MORE ABOUT EMMENOGOGUE
Are you struggling with your health?
Learn how to feel your best
by balancing your diet in just a week.
How to Use Food Ayurvedically
HOW DOES EATING AYURVEDICALLY MAKE YOU FEEL?
Eating Ayurvedically makes you feel nourished and energized. Food digests with ease when
right for your body type (dosha). Healthy digestion is seen as the cornerstone of well-being in
Ayurveda. Healthy digestion generally prevents illness. If you do get sick, a strong digestive fire
reduces the severity of illness and increases your resilience. It also improves your mood. Once
you begin eating Ayurvedically, you will feel refreshed, vital and strong.
About the Author
John Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a
healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda.
His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful.
His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week
provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands.
John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda
, which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition.
John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia.
John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion.
John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing.
In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots,
and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church.
Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick.
That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.
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So no garlic or onion? Why?
- liza, Delray beach, FL 06-30-12
I put plaintains In my kitchari, hope that's okay because so yummy.
- liza, Delray beach, FL 06-30-12
I have never tried Kitchari but always wanted to! I am mainly Vata so would I make this without the mung beans? Thanks! :)
- Terri Turner, Bossier , LA 08-05-12
There are many variations of kitchari. Your suggestions are good ones. Adding cooked garlic and onion can help sedate Vata.
Plantains could create a food combination for weak digestion. If your intent is to enjoy kitchari and you can digest it, plantains are an exciting variation. Otherwise, if you are using kitchari to cleanse, I would stick with the simpler version presented here. If you find you need some variety, try adding carrots, kale, or coconut flakes.
Mung beans are easier to digest than most other beans. Unless your digestion is very weak, most Vata types can handle split mung dal. The spices also help. Vata people should include the mung beans in this recipe.
Thank you everybody for your comments, questions, and suggestions.
Are the ingredients in this recipe tylically available in local grocoery stores, or do I need to go to a specialty store? Thanks!
- Lia Rhodes 01-16-13
Plantain is Vata aggravating, so the addition in this recipe would defeat the purpose of this particular Kitchari. ~*~
I love kitchari! For my Vata-Pitta constitution I usually make it with some green peas, but also with other veggies (onions, carrots, cauliflower etc)when my digestion is strong. I find it very comforting, thank you for the recipe and useful information!
If I don't digest dairy well, is coconut oil a useful substitute for ghee?
How can I make this Kitchari recipe more Kapha friendly?
- Amanda Leipold, Coral gables, FL 01-23-13
Love your recipe for kitchari, John. Freshly grated coconut or coconut milk made from freshly grated coconut would be a great addition to the recipe. I give it 5 stars!
yummmy ...i have kitchari at least three times a week. love love love
My husband has an allergy to cumin. Because it is an assertive spice, one notices it's absence! Do you have a recommendation for an alternate spice? (coriander and cilantro are also OUT). Thank you so much.
- Bettina Jones, Harrington park, NJ 01-23-13
Is there a slow cooker version? Can I just add everything to a slower cooker without frying the spices I find frying spices make them dark and unappetizing . Thanks for the recipie can't wait o try it.
Are there other vegetables that can be added to the kitchari? I have a Kapha-Pitta constitution, so need specifics. Thank you!
- Bhairavi Gabrielle Jones, CA 01-23-13
I find the taste and smell of hing to be very offensive. Is this unusual? Also, can I just leave it out of the recipe? thanks.
- Liz, Charlotte, NC 01-23-13
- Christine - Yes, coconut oil is a good substitute for ghee.
- Amanda - The less ghee you use, the more Kapha friendly. Also, check out the Kapha kitchari recipe on the website.
- Bettina - You can pick your favorite spices - black cumin, fennel, mustard seed, etc.
- Peach - Yes, you can add everything to a slow cooker. If the spices turn dark you're frying them too long. Try frying them for ten seconds only.
- Bharavi - I offer some specific ideas for modifying the recipe above. Thanks for asking!
- Liz, - Yes, you can leave it out / modify the recipe.
I have a Pitta constitution by my Ayurvedic practitioner says my Vata is high. Should I use this Vata pacifying recipe? Will this aggravate my Pitta? Thanks for you help. I am new to Ayurveda, any advice would be greatly appreciated.
- Jackie 01-25-13
There is no fiber in Kichari unless you put vegetables in it. This is not a good way to cleanse if you have deep seated ama in colon. If one is strong enough it is best to fast on water or vegetables. Can also take with pysillium husk.
- Jeff Mace 01-28-13
Mung beans actually have *alot* of fiber - producing nice, satisfying lincoln log poops. Check it out!
Your recipe does not specify but I am assuming the ajwain (caraway) and hing (fennel) are in powder form not seed?
- Jennifer, NV 02-03-13
Dear Jenn, Caraway and ajwain are different spices. I usually use the whole ajwain seed. Hing is also different from fennel. Hing is made from a resin and never appears in seed form. Thanks for asking! Warm Regards,
Can you please tell me if one would use brown basmati rice or white - does it make a difference? Also, when using as a cleansing, how much should you eat per day?
- Peggy Watson, Placentia, CA 02-28-13
I am trying to make kitchari in my crock pot, and each attempt fails since the dal won't cook! I am using the split, shelled yellow mung dal. The first time I just put the rice and dal (with water and spices) in the crockpot, cooked all day, dal hard as a rock. The second time, I soaked rice and dal all day, then cooked on low all night. Dal still not cooked fully. I've tried 2 different crockpots, so it's not the pot. Any thoughts? I made some kitchari on top of the stove from the same batch of dal a few weeks back and it seemed fine. Crockpot would make my life easier. Thanks.
- Helen Gatling-Austin 03-03-13
Dear Helen, Make sure the dal is completely cooked before you add the rice. Otherwise the rice will soak up all the water and the dal will remain hard.
Dear Peggy, You can make kitchari with brown or white rice. You can eat until your stomach is satisfied.
An Ayurvedic practitioner told me that whole mung beans are better to be used in Kitchari because it is less constipating. I found various sources online that argue both. Which is your opinion?
- andrea nicole, Montebello, CA 03-23-13
I tend to add at least a tablespoon each of cumin, fennel, and caraway seeds because I love the flavor.
- lindsey a mathes, TX 08-19-13
The spices cooking in the ghee fills the house with the most tantalizing aroma. I can hardly wait the hour and half it takes to fully cook... but oh so worth it. Delicious!
I have done a 4 days kitchari cleanse and became so constipated that I couldn't go on longer with it. I drink plenty of filtered water. Any suggestions to avoid that situation? I really would love to do a longer cleanse. Or is this protocol not suitable for me? I am Pitta-Vata (almost even). Thanks for your feedback.
- Maryse, New castle, DE 08-22-13
Is Mung dal vata agrrevating. as it has red cross on V
- monty, Ajax, ON 12-02-13
Mung is the least aggravating of the dals to vata, especially when mixed with ghee or something similar. Thanks!
Thanks for verifying the cook dal first thing. I can't believe some of the recipes I've seen online for kitcheri--no wonder it has a reputation for causing constipation!
Perfect! A thousand thanks.
When I first add water (and long before I add rice) I add ground up calamus root and ashwaganda to help with vata. Constipation is a concern. I add dulse which may help a little. Otherwise, I might add extra oil to try to help things along..
Oh my goodness! My first Ayurvedic recipe--I needed to acquire the proper spices and order mung dal, which isn't available locally. The first batch was a bit bland because I was hesitant to add all the spices called for. The second batch was much better, and now I'll begin using more/different spices as I learn the Indian tastes. After a lifetime of failing miserably to be healthy on western foods, I think I've found the cuisine that works for me. I have a Joyful Belly!! ? Yay!
Maryse I have the same problem as you do, I get so constipated I can't continue with it although I'd love to. Hopefully there is a solution to this since I do love kitchari.
Is it meant to be dry? Mine totally absorbed all the water and is quite dry, tasty but dry... I also added some veggies and nuts at the end.I assume if I want more wet just add more water with the rice??ThanksM
- Martine 07-25-17
Yes Martine, if you want your kitchari to be more soupy, add more water.
Hi, Yes, I know about the constipation. Add marshmallow and slipper elm to the cooking. They soothe and lubricate the intestinal track.
- Mary, AZ 10-07-17
I followed this recpe and soaked split mung beans with Brown Basmati rice; the only spice I did not have was ajwain. During cooking the food was very sticky to the pan and I had to add water numerous times. I was concerned that the brown rice would not cook thoroughly as the water was reduced. The flavor was very good but I experienced a lot of gas. I normally do not have gas from Kitchari. Kindly advise your thoughts. I am tridoshic.D Swann
- Deborah Swann, Trumbull, CT 01-17-18
Dear Deborah - Did you cook the mung beans on their own for a good while as the recipe instructs? They need much more cooking time than the rice.
- Kimberly Kubicke, Asbury park, NJ 06-12-18
This is nasty. It's easy to make but tastes like crap. I don't consider myself a picky eater! I will pretty much eat everything! But I could not eat this. Did anyone else find the taste of this to be very unappealing? This is my first recipe of kitchari that I've experimented with. I had to order the ingredients for this recipe on amazon because I couldn't find them anywhere. I'll probably never use them again. Haha! Oh well. Anyway, hopefully I can find a recipe that i like for kitchari.
We have several other kitchari recipes on the site you might try if you did not like this one.
- Kimberly Kubicke, Asbury park, NJ 09-04-18
Everyone has different tastebuds, but I find it to be delicious, and more importantly, makes my stomach feel so good. Ajwain was suggested as a spice that might be beneficial for my liver and kidneys, as well as help with indigestion and gas, and it happens to add a flavor that I love as well. Thanks so much for the recipe!I have made this recipe several times and always return to it.