Kitchari-Rice and Lentils

This Kitchari recipe is from India. Kitchari basically means a hodge-podge or blend of ingredients. In the Indian culture, they place a strong emphasis on flavor and the energy that goes into preparing food. The positive energy put in during cooking provides a more nourishing and beneficial experience for those consuming the food. Yet another reason for us to create our own dishes and not buy prepared foods as we don’t know who is preparing them or exactly what ingredients are going into these meals. *Can you tell this is one of my first blog posts ever? Look at that photo!

Kitchari is a traditional Ayurvedic recipe that is meant to help digestion in a body that is not assimilating its nutrients properly. It is a very soothing, nutritious dish that can be served any time as a full meal or a side dish.  There are so many variations of this recipe. You can be creative for yourself and the kids.


You can add as many or few ingredients to this dish as you wish. Additions can also be added during cooking or later according to your needs.  Kitchari provides a perfect blend of carbs and protein.

Kitchari (Rice and Lentils)

Makes about ten 1/2 cup servings

  • This recipe calls for Ghee, this is butter that has been boiled and strained to remove the water and milk solids. Ghee can be stored outside the refrigerator for extended periods which makes it very easy to use in impromptu recipes!


  • 1 cup  organic White or Brown Basmati Rice (you can blend them)
  • 1 cup organic Mung Dal (Yellow Lentils)
  • 4 cups Water
  • 2 tablespoons organic Ghee (If you do not have the Ghee you can substitute with Butter)
  • 2 tablespoons minced Fresh Ginger or 1 tablespoon Dry Ginger
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Cumin Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Tumeric
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  • Chopped Cilantro, Greek Yogurt, Sour Cream or Ghee


Bring water to a boil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Put rice and dal in a fine mesh colander and rinse mixture under cool water until it runs clear. Pick over rice and dal to remove any stones. Add rice and dal mixture to boiling water. Cover and lower heat to a simmer and cook about 30 minutes or until the water has been absorbed, you can always add more water if you want a soupier consistency.
Saute Spices in Ghee or Butter in saute pan until fragrant. When the rice has finished cooking take off heat and Pour ghee mixture into rice and stir together thoroughly. Serve with chopped cilantro and a dollop of yogurt, sour cream or ghee.
  • Add a few handfuls of roughly diced spinach, carrots, zucchini, green onion and bell peppers (any combination of your favorite vegetables) to the boiling water when you add the rice and dal. Add a few tablespoons of lemon juice when finished cooking.
  • Use a low sodium chicken or vegetable broth instead of water.
  • Add diced sweet potatoes and asparagus to boiling water and rice mixture.
  • Cube some cooked chicken breast and add when done cooking.
  • Saute cinnamon, cardamom, a pinch of saffron and a few tablespoons of honey in the ghee (you can omit the tumeric and cumin). Pour over rice and dal mixture.
  • For a sweet version you can add 1/2 cup lowfat organic coconut milk, maple syrup to taste, cinnamon and nutmeg to ghee. Omit the cumin and tumeric. Serve with unsweetened shredded organic coconut as garnish. For added flavor you can toast the coconut on a sheet pan in a 3o0 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until golden.
  • To the above two versions you can add a cup of golden raisins, currants, dried cranberries or diced dried apricots.
  • Toss in a handful of your favorite toasted nuts to any preparation.

Kitchari Recipe Links


~ Marla Meridith

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2 thoughts on “Kitchari-Rice and Lentils

  1. Hi Marla,

    Love the Blog!

    Just trying your kitcheri recipe today.

    One helpful suggestion for the community for fresh ginger root is to buy the root and freeze it whole. This enables you to grate or slice it when required. It is delicious this way to use as an ingredient in lots of dishes and as a tea (could combine with fennel or lemon) It’s very convenient from the freezer sliced to use in chicken dishes, stir fries, etc..