Khichari or Khichadi is a one pot wonder that is made by mixing rice and lentil together. This meal, originated in Bangladesh, is eaten as a comfort food in Southeast Asian countries. Growing up in Bangladesh, khichari was a monsoon favourite for luncheon. My mother used to make Khichari on a rainy day and served it with fried eggplant or fish (particularly Hilsha Fish}.
Khichari also can be prepared like a porridge with cooked vegetables for the sick. That is exactly how my grandfather liked it! This particular meal has been used not only to nourish babies, elderly and the sick but also we cook it for family dinners and picnics. The spice combinations, choice of lentil and the texture of khichari varied in recipes depending on each occasion or situation.
This combination [see recipe] of flavour in Khichari is warming to the body, easy to digest, cleansing, strengthening and immune building. In this blog I will explain how to pick your ingredients for Khichari and share a flavourful recipe with you. Remember we are focusing on the detoxifying effect of khichari. In Ayurveda, khichari is used to help cleanse, detoxify and restore balance.
I use organic long grain white rice as oppose to organic brown rice because when the husk is removed from the rice it makes it easier to digest the grain. During the cleansing period our metabolism is slower therefore it is better to choose the white rice. The long grain white rice also has a lower glycemic index that short grain rice. Therefore the khichari becomes suitable for Kapha body type. I purchase organic, non GMO basmati rice for my khichari from a health food store or specialty grocery store. If you are in USA or Canada try the “365 Organic White Basmati Rice” from Wholefoods Market. Or go to a bulk section of a specialty grocery store to find the rice that is unbleached and/or unpolished.
The reason khichari recipes in Ayurveda prefer split mung beans [moong dahl] because unlike other legumes and lentils, mung beans do not produce much intestinal gas. Therefore the recipes become suitable for Vata body type. Mung beans are known to help cleanse the liver, remove built up toxins and assist in weight loss. Mung Beans are a good source for dietary fiber, protein, Vitamin C, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potassium.
If you are using Ghee, you must look for organic ghee for your khichari. Please do not buy ghee from any store and consume it without knowing how it was prepared. You will find pure organic homemade ghee on my website.
In Ayurveda Ghee is known to be a digestive tonic that helps improve absorption and assimilation of nutrients. Ghee improves memory, lubricates connective tissue, improves the quality and quantity of the semen and makes the body flexible. Ghee is suitable for all three doshas, specifically Pitta and Vata. People who have gallbladder disturbances, high cholesterol, weight gain and toxic overload should be cautious with ghee.
Spices and Herbs:
5 basic spices and 1 herb you must add to your Khichari
Cardamom Seeds: Seeds stimulate appetite, aid digestion and eliminate flatulence. This spice is also used for detoxification.
Cloves: Improves digestion, anti-microbial and used as oral anti-septic.
Cumin Seeds: Great source of iron and stimulates the pancreatic enzymes.
Ginger: This pungent flavor spice is Tri-doshic. However, pitta individuals should use it in moderation. It improves digestion, absorption and assimilation of food. Ginger improves circulation and helps with congestion.
Turmeric: Bitter and Astringent in taste it is used as anti-inflammatory and decongestant
Cilantro Leaves: Is a sweet, astringent and cooling herb. It balances all doshas. It is good for kindling gastric fire, for nausea, fever, cough and quenching thirst. This is a herb that is great for kidney support and heavy metal detox.
If you are a true foodie and you get intimidated by fasting or detoxification than doing mono diet on khichari for 3-5 days maybe ideal for you. Add a little ghee and chopped cilantro or parsley leaves with your khichari will further assist in detoxification. Please drink plenty of water during “khichari fast”.
People who are trying to do a fast with fresh vegetable juices or green smoothies can also try eating khichari for proper blood sugar balance while detoxifying.
The Tri-doshic Khichari Recipe:
Recipe Guidelines: Overnight soaking of the grain and lentil will help to digest the nutrients the most effective way.
- 2 cups of mung beans
- 1 cup of basmati rice
- 2 tsp. of grated ginger, freshly grated
- 1 tsp. of cumin seeds
- 1 tsp. of black mustard seeds
- 1 tsp. of turmeric powder
- 2 whole green cardamoms
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cloves
- ½ tsp. of coriander powder
- 4 cups of water
- Salt to taste
- ½ a bunch of cilantro leaves, freshly chopped
- Wash split yellow mung beans (dal) and rice together until water runs clear.
- Soak overnight in a bowl and cover the bowl.
- Rinse water from the rice and lentil and prepare it for cooking.
- Heat a large pot on medium heat and then add ghee and all the spices (except for cilantro leaves, bay leaf and salt) and roast for a minute or two. This roasting will release the essential oils from the spices into the ghee.
- Add mung beans and rice and stir again.
- Add water and bay leaves and bring to a boil.
- Boil for 10 minutes.
- Turn heat to low, cover pot and continue to cook until dal and rice become soft (about 15-20 minutes).
- Add salt to taste.
- Add the chopped cilantro leaves before serving.
Note: All the powdered spices and organic ghee is available at Conscious Health under “shop.” These are freshly ground spices powders without any added colours, additives or preservatives. Whole spices such as the black mustard seeds, cloves, cumin seeds, cardamoms and bay leaf are available in any Indian grocery store.