Spring Detox with Kitchari

There are a lot of different cleansing techniques out there, and finding the one that’s right for you can sometimes feel overwhelming. If you really just want to give your body a break, hit the reset button on your digestive system, and do a short detox without a lot of fuss, this is the cleanse for you. The process is simple, straightforward, easy to follow, and it’s only three days long—making it a very manageable undertaking for most people. If this will be your first experience with cleansing, you’ve chosen a perfect place to start.

This cleanse can be undertaken at any time of year, but it will be especially beneficial at the junctions between seasons—when our bodies are ripe with a sense of transition already. However, even a very simple cleanse like this one is not appropriate during menstruation, for pregnant or breastfeeding women, or for anyone who is extremely weak or debilitated at the moment.

This particular cleanse is based on eating a monodiet of whole grains and kitchari and drinking plenty of detoxifying fluids. This regimen supports the physiology by slowing the flood of harmful inputs and by providing the body with an important opportunity to rest, recuperate, and repair itself.

A simple three-day cleanse can help to:

  • Improve digestion and metabolic function.

  • Promote regular and balanced elimination.

  • Support the maintenance of a healthy body weight.

  • Nurture an improved sense of energy, vitality, and enthusiasm for life.

  • Foster clarity and groundedness in the mental, spiritual, and emotional spheres.

  • Encourage a balanced sleep cycle.

  • Promote improved overall health


  • 1 cup white basmati rice

  • ½ cup yellow mung dal (I bought it at Lotte Plazza Market in Ellicott City in the International section)

  • 2 tablespoons ghee (avaialble at Whole Foods in Columbia)

  • Spices (or 1 tablespoon kitchari spice mix):

  • ¼ teaspoon black mustard seeds

  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds

  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder

  • 1½ teaspoons coriander powder

  • ½ teaspoon fennel powder

  • 1 pinch hing (asafoetida)

  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

  • 1 teaspoon natural mineral salt

  • 6 cups water

  • 2 cups easily digestible vegetables (such as asparagus, carrots, celery, green beans, summer squash, sweet potato, winter squash, or zucchini)

If you don't want to shop for the spices for Kitchari, the easiest way to get Kitchari spice mix: visit this site:


Soak the split mung dal overnight (or for at least four hours). Strain the soaking water, combine with the rice and rinse the mixture at least twice, or until the water runs clear, and set aside. In a medium saucepan or soup pot, warm the ghee over medium heat. Add the black mustard seeds, cumin seeds and sauté for a couple of minutes, until the mustard seeds begin to pop. Add the turmeric, coriander, fennel, hing, and fresh ginger. Stir briefly, until aromatic. Stir the rice and dal mixture into the spices and sauté for a few moments, stirring constantly. Add the 6 cups of water, turn heat to high, and bring to a boil. When the soup comes to a boil, stir in the salt, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about forty minutes. Meanwhile, cut your vegetables into small, bite-sized pieces. About halfway through the kitchari’s cooking process, stir in the vegetables and allow the stew to return to a boil. Continue to simmer until the rice, dal, and vegetables are fully cooked. Remove from heat, cool, and serve. Note: some vegetables, such as sweet potatoes and winter squash, might require more cooking time and may be added earlier, if necessary.

Aim to have very little water remaining when finished. The consistency should be that of a vegetable stew as opposed to a broth. While you want the beans, rice, and vegetables to be thoroughly cooked, excess water and over-stirring can cause the ingredients to become thick and gummy. Garnish the kitchari with your choice of fresh cilantro, coriander chutney, and sesame chutney. Enjoy!

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