The khichari cleanse is a simple and easy way to reset when you’ve overindulged. I love making khichari when I need to be gentle on my stomach and give it a cleanse after I pushed it too hard. It’s my way of saying to my stomach, I’m sorry for my transgressions, please feel better soon, real soon because I NEED you. I’m sorry for those spicy noodles on top of the juicy celebratory steak the size of my head, plus the decadent cake, I mean it was my birthday, but I’m still full of remorse!
For my 38th spin around the earth I treated myself to a few too many indulgent treats resulting in some painful days following. So I pulled out the appropriate medicine – from the kitchen of course – and put myself on a khichari cleanse to allow my stomach to rest and repair itself.
What is khichari?
I grew up with Korean rice porridge (jook) with a splash of soy sauce and roasted nori sheets (gim) to help with tummy ailments but once I discovered the traditional Ayurvedic dish, khichari I don’t often go back to jook (sorry mom!).
Khichari is essentially a mix of lentils and rice, vegetables and a medley of medicinal spices to help detoxify by aiding in digestion. It’s often used in cleanses because it’s easy on your digestive system allowing it to operate in tip top condition. This therapeutic dish is not reserved for cleanses or illness though, it also makes for an easy one-pot meal.
After three days of khichari for lunch and dinner, I’m happy to report that my stomach has fully accepted my peace-offering and is chugging along.
Taking the khichari cleanse a step further … next time.
I loved the simplicity of eating the same thing for three days while keeping it interesting with different vegetables and even meat towards the end of the cleanse. There are various ways that you can do a khichari cleanse and it’s up to you how far you want to go using the meal as a base for cleansing your body. For example, as a holistic cleanse, you can include a digital detox, massage, and other self-care focused activities. Sounds amazing for #oneday!
If you’re looking for another healing dish, this vegan bone broth is an excellent choice.
Below is the recipe adapted from the cookbook, “What to Eat For How you Feel” by Divya Alter.
- ½ cup yellow split mung dal or red lentils
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1 tablespoon ghee, sesame oil, or olive oil
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 6 curry leaves or 2 bay leaves
- 1 small green Thai chile seeded and minced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 cups of diced vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans, zucchini, celery root, beets, leafy greens)
- Soak the dal and rice in a bowl together for 30 minutes. Rinse until the water runs clear and drains well.
- Heat the oil in a heavy 4-quart saucepan over low heat. Add the turmeric and toast for 10 seconds, then add the ginger, curry leaves and chile and continue to toast until they crisp up about 30 seconds. Add the rice and dal and stir frequently until the dal is almost dry. Add the rest of the spices, salt, vegetables, and 4 to 5 cups water. (add quick-cooking vegetables such as zucchini, asparagus, or leafy greens 30 minutes into the cooking). Bring to a full boil, then cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes, until the lentils begin to dissolve, the rice is soft, and the vegetables are cooked. If the khichari dries out too much and begins to stick to the bottom of the pot, add more water, you’re looking for a creamy moist consistency.
- Garnish with olive oil, fresh cracked pepper, and cilantro. Serve hot with lime slices.