Ayurveda’s culinary centerpiece, Khichari (pronounced KI-cha-REE) is India’s one-pot grain and bean dish. This comforting, complete protein recipe is the perfect on-the-go meal for any time of the day. The soaked, rinsed, and dehydrated ingredients and our freshly ground spice blend make this nourishing and cleansing meal convenient to eat healthy and feel good. Its simplicity allows for easy digestion while serving as a base for countless variations by adding your choice of vegetables and garnishes.
We suggest making with ghee or olive oil, lime juice, and fresh herbs such as dill or mint. For adding vegetables to the Vata Khichari, we recommend carrots, beets, celery root, daikon radish, taro root, turnip, sweet potato, string beans, asparagus, fennel, zucchini.
The Healing and Detox Benefits of Khichari
excerpt from What to Eat for How You Feel: The New Ayurvedic Kitchen, by Divya Alter (Rizzoli, 2017)
- It’s a complete protein. There is no coincidence that the combination of rice and beans has been a staple around the world for thousands of years. Grains and legumes contain partial amino acids on their own. When eaten together (as in khichari), rice and beans provide all the essential amino acids for nutritionally sustainable meals, perfect for those on a plant-based diet.
- It helps burn body fat while keeping blood sugar stable. Many water fasts or juice cleanses strain and deplete blood sugar reserves, which can make you extremely hungry or irritable and give you severe headaches. While one of the goals of a fast is to shift the body into fat-burning metabolism, this will not happen if the body is under stress and strain as a result of an extreme fast. On a khichari cleanse day, you are eating a delicious complete protein dish three times a day, so there is no starvation response whatsoever. Dr. John Douillard, a renowned Ayurvedic practitioner and author, advises us that if we are straining or hungry during a cleanse, we are not getting the optimal benefits. The more comfortable we are, the more fat we will burn (if we need to burn fat, that is).
- It’s nourishing yet easy to digest. White basmati rice, quinoa, and yellow split mung dal are easy to assimilate, placing less of a burden on digestion. It is especially important to use them rather than the other bean options during a cleanse because the metabolism slows down and the digestive strength weakens when cleansing. Heavier brown rice, chana dal, red lentils, or mung beans with the husks may irritate the intestinal wall and cause digestive gas or abdominal pain.
- It helps heal the gut. As it is so easy to digest, khichari heals and soothes the intestinal wall. Stress can often irritate the gut and compromise digestion, which will then make the body more clogged with toxins from indigestion. Eating just khichari allows much of the digestion to be at rest while providing the nutrition needed to heal the gut and nourish the body.
- It supports spiritual practice. The adequate protein and stable blood sugar that khichari offers can facilitate feelings of inner peace and stillness. For this reason, khichari is often served in ashrams and monasteries to support spiritual practitioners’ access to deeper states of mental clarity, emotional tranquility, and enlightenment through meditation.
I was skeptical that it was possible to make a pre-packaged khichari taste as good as what Divya whips up at the restaurant, but I'm here to say it's fully possible...and incredible! I felt like Divya was in my kitchen cooking with me. It came together so easily (literally 15 minutes) and I felt so nourished and comforted. I added some vegetables and I honestly could not tell the difference between this khichari and the ones I've made with Divya in class.
I move away from New York and miss Divya’s kitchen! Divya has open my eyes on the many flavors that we can give to kitchari. I use to make the same basic one for year, but not any more ! The Vata kitchari was very easy and so fast to make and cook: the beans and grains have been pre-soaked, ingredients all measured. I just added few chopped carrots and celery and voilà! It was delicious and comforting.
Super easy to prepare, just added some veggies and had a nice portion of very well balanced flavors.
I make Kitchari myself, but this is just easier, without soaking or rinsing the rice and mung beans and preparing the spices. Will definitely buying more and highly recommend this product! Thank you Divya!