Kichari and Vegetable Meals

One of the most popular Ayurvedic dishes is kichari, which includes a variety of spices. Kichari is considered an excellent fasting food. It is cleansing, easy to digest, nourishing, and at the same time balances all three doshas. The combination of white basmati rice and split mung beans provides an array of amino acids, the building blocks of protein, while the spices help to kindle the digestive fire and clear ama.

A Kichari fast for 2-4 weeks is a pleasant and tasty way to follow a cleansing diet. Kichari can be eaten at least twice a day for lunch and supper. If you eat it with a different vegetable dish each time and vary the spices and vegetables you add to the kichari, it is not nearly as boring as it sounds! It is actually very tasty and makes a wonderfully simple and nurturing meal.

Ayurvedic physicians prescribe a kichari diet before, during and after panchakarma, the deep cleansing therapy that clears toxins stored in the tissues. Split mung beans are particularly cleansing and are used to draw environmental toxins from the tissues, especially in the reproductive organs, the liver and the thyroid. Kichari provides excellent nourishment and since it is easy to digest, the body can devote energy to healing.

There are many different variations on the theme of kichari depending on which spices are used. It can be served with a side dish of vegetables, or with vegetables combined with the rice and beans. Spices and vegetables can be chosen according your constitution and preference.

Kichari Recipe
  • 1/2 cup split mung beans or red lentils (soak for a few hours if time)
  • 1 cup white basmati rice
  • Rinse them both thoroughly
  • Spices
  1. Melt ghee in a large pan and add spices such as: fresh ginger, turmeric, black cumin seed, freshly ground fennel, cumin and coriander seeds.
  2. Let the seeds and spices lightly brown and become aromatic.
  3. Add the rice and split mung beans and 6 cups water, and then bring to boil. Cover and turn down to simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes or until the mung beans are soft. Add salt to taste.
  4. Add vegetables of your choice and those that are balancing for your vikruti, either during cooking, or cooked separately and added at the end. Vegetables such as onions, peas, cauliflower, fennel, carrots, spinach, broccoli, cabbage and courgette/zucchini would all blend well.
  5. Serve with plenty of fresh chopped coriander/cilantro leaves. Ginger and lime relish makes an excellent accompaniment.


Vegetable Curry
  • 4 oz (125 g) peas
  • 11/2 lbs (750 g) potatoes or sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 1 medium cauliflower, broken with florets
  • 1/2 lb (250 g) French/green beans, topped and tailed
  • 2 tbsp (30 mls) ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp (5 mls) coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp (5 mls) cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp (5 mls) ground turmeric
  • 1/2 lb carrots, diced
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 4 cardamon pods
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mls) fresh lemon juice
  • 5 fl oz/150 mls water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 medium tomatoes, skinned and chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh coriander/cilantro leaves
  1. Cook the potatoes in salted water for about 10 minutes, or until just soft. Drain. Cook the cauliflower similarly for 5 minutes. Drain.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the coriander and cumin seeds, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, beans, chilli, turmeric and cardamon pods, and cook stirring over a high heat for 3 minutes. Add water, lemon juice, salt, pepper and peas. Sir well, reduce heat and leave to simmer covered for about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and coriander leaves and cook for 5 minutes. Serve. Adjust salt, spices and vegetables to balance your vikruti.


Spinach with Rice
  • 3 lbs /1.5 kg spinach, washed and de-stalked
  • 2 tbsp/30 mls ghee or olive oil
  • 3 onions (or 1 bunch spring onions) chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill leaf
  • 2.5 cups/600 mls water
  • 1 cup (175 g) white basmati rice
  • salt and pepper
  1. Heat the ghee or olive oil in a large pan and gently sauté the onions until soft. Shake the water off the spinach leaves and add to the onions. Cover and simmer on a low heat for five minutes. Then add the water, salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Add the rice and give the mixture a good stir. Leave to cook until all the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked (approx 15-20 minutes). Stir in the chopped dill. Cover and leave for five minutes and serve.


Courgette/Zucchini Fritters
An easy, quick meal, full of protein, immune-enhancing and digestive herbs, rich in antioxidant vitamins, minerals and trace elements.
  • 1.5 lbs (750 g) courgettes, grated or sliced into very thin fingers
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, grated/chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup (75g) plain flour
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoonful fresh marjoram, chopped
  • 1 tablespoonful fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoonful fresh chervil, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil
  1. Combine the courgettes, onion, flour and eggs with the herbs, garlic and seasoning in a bowl until they are thoroughly mixed together.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan, take about a handful (1/2 cupful) of the mixture, mould it together in your hand and fry until lightly browned. Flatten it slightly and then turn to cook on the other side. Drain on absorbent paper and serve.
  3. Delicious served with cucumber raita. Experiment with combinations of other fresh herbs that are balancing for your vikruti including dill, parsley, sage, thyme, mint and coriander/cilantro.


Spicy Greens
Approximately 500 grams/1 pound of dark leafy greens, such as cabbage, swiss chard or kale, chopped roughly.
  • 4 tablespoons of ghee or coconut oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 teaspoons of coriander seeds/powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds/powder
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  1. Melt the ghee/coconut oil in a sauce pan, then add the spices. Stir until they start to crack and smell deliciously aromatic. Then steam the leafy greens and add them to the ghee and spices. Mix well and serve. This tastes delicious and helps vata to digest the greens.


Basic dhal recipe
(serves 4)
  • 1 and ¼ cup/300 g red lentils
  • 2 cups/500ml water
  • 2 tsp cumin powde
  • r
2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp each of cumin seed, coriander and black cumin seed
  • 1 inch of freshly chopped ginger
  • 1tsp asafoetida powder
1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
3 tbs ghee or virgin coconut oil
Salt and pepper to taste
  • Handful of fresh coriander/cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Coconut milk or yoghurt
  1. Wash the lentils and simmer them in saucepan for 30 minutes with the water, cumin and turmeric powder. In a separate pan heat the ghee/coconut oil and fry the cumin, coriander, and black cumin seeds on low heat until they brown and release their delicious aroma. Add the ginger and asafoetida. Saute the onions and garlic with the spices and until soft and then add to the lentil mixture. Add salt, pepper and fresh coriander. Coconut milk or yoghurt can be stirred in before serving if you like.