What is Kitchari? (Recipe Included)

F the D Word: Detox.

We avoid using this word for its wild and loose overuse— as well as the many ways it seems to be a cover for the other D word: diet. Biologically, dieting can lead to unhealthy changes in body composition, hormonal changes, reduced bone density, menstrual disturbances, and lower resting energy expenditure.

Not a trade-off we want for an arbitrary number on a scale.

But, and... during fall it is highly beneficial to simplify our diets to ease the transition from firey, outgoing summer, to slower, inward-focused winter. Below we share a recipe from Ayurvedic educator and chef, Mary Silcox McQuate. Her recipe for Kitchari is simple to make and an excellent combination of nourishing foods and spices.

Simple + nourishing. A combination for feeling your most vital self. 

That’s what we like to hear! 


Mary Silcox McQuate

There are a lot of reasons I don’t encourage cleansing. Primarily, the intensity in which the wellness world encourages us to “cleanse” and “detox” is not only overwhelming, but subtly communicates that our bodies are inherently not whole or capable of healing— which I believe to be untrue.

However, if we look to ancient medicinal traditions, like Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine, mono-diets were indeed implemented as a way to support our vitality and life-force. And are often a way to support our bodies in times of seasonal transition. 

During fall, a mung bean reset or “Kitchari” (kich-uh-ree) is a great way to practice discipline, support the digestive system, and give your body what it needs to adjust to the changing weather patterns.

Kitchari gives our digestive system a break from digesting a myriad of different foods, at every meal. The dal and rice is cooked a long time for easier absorption, with a warming and grounding spice mix— add ghee and its fat-soluable nutrients allows for nutrient assimilation.

Plus it tastes great.

  1. Drain and rinse your mung beans. Add them to a large cooking pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce to a simmer and let them cook for about 30 minutes. Monitor the water and skim the “gunk” that rides to the surface. 
  3. In a separate pot, add the ghee, celery and carrots. Let these cook until tender.
  4. Next add all the spices and stir all together (better to have more spices, than less). You may need to add a splash of bone broth to reduce sticking.
  5. Once the mung beans are mostly cooked, add them to your veggie/spice mixture.
  6. Cover with your broth, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer.
  7. Let this all simmer for about 45 minutes.
  8. Garnish with fresh cilantro. 

For the Rice: Simply purchase your favorite organic white rice and follow the instructions (white rice is best when working to enhance digestion). I make my rice in a rice cooker and add a tiny bit of ghee (1 tsp), salt and lots of black pepper.



Mary Silcox McQuate has a degree in Eastern Philosophy and Women’s Studies. SHe graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University where she specialized under Dr. Daniel E. Purdue in eastern medicine and holistic nutrition. She is a certified yoga teacher, certified Ayurvedic educator and chef, and a food and wellness coach. Mary currently works as creative content and media associate for the internationally renowned Zach Bush, MD. Mary is passionate abut rock climbing in the mountains, splattering paint on big canvases and everything food and wellness.