Jun 14, 2017

Authentic Indian Kitchari + INSTANT POT GIVEAWAY!


Greetings Beloved Ones! Today I am very excited to share an ancient, healing recipe with you… KITCHARI (kitch-a-ree). AND, even more exciting is an Instant Pot Giveaway! Woohoo!

If you’ve never heard of kitchari, you’re not alone. Many people have never heard about it and its deep, rich flavor and aromatic spices. Kitchari is a mainstay of traditional Indian households. All traditional East Indian people know that when one is weakened or sick they should eat only kichari for a speedy recovery. It’s basically an Indian dal made with split mung beans. 

Ayurvedic medicine, deemed “the mother of natural healing,” holds an ancient tradition that if one eats only kichari for at least three weeks, it will cure all diseases. The reasons  stated are that kichari is a delicious, light and easily digestible food that supplies all one’s nutritional needs while affording the internal organs the opportunity to recover from dietary excesses and/or deficiencies that are the foundation for disease.

A “kitchari fast” or “kitchari cleanse” is gaining popularity in the US these days, where all you eat for one day—or up to five days—is this lovely dish. I did this once and didn’t notice any real benefits but I’m sure it’s because I eat this way all the time! 🙂 However, if you’re new to healthy, plant-based, whole-food eating, or if you feel you need a cleanse, doing a one or two-day kitchari fast may be a perfect way to detoxify and rest your overworked digestive system. 

Kitchari means mixture. That’s because traditionally, it is made with mung beans and rice. Basmati rice to be precise. I don’t add rice to my kitchari. I prefer just the beans. I don’t eat white rice (the usual rice used) and since brown basmati, while delicious and nutritious, would be my substitute, I feel that it may be too heavy to digest, thus negating the positive quality of this easy-to-digest meal. Kitchari fasting is ultimately a mono-diet, which means the body receives a limited diversity of food and therefore needs to produce a limited number of digestive enzymes. The work of the digestive system is lessened, allowing for greater healing and cleansing to occur. Water only fasting is simply not practical for many people. This is a great solution and will afford your digestive system a much needed rest.

And here is a link to Amazon where I purchase my mung beans. These are the best I have found: Banyan Botanicals Split Mung Beans

For the spices, my go-to source (if you don’t live near an Indian Market) is Indian Foods Co. They will have everything you need to make this recipe.

Back to that Instant Pot giveaway!!! If you don’t have one yet, here is your chance! It is by far the best electric pressure cooker on the market. I use mine practically daily! It’s especially good for cooking dry beans. It’s also great for whole grains and many other wonderful dishes.


And please leave a brief comment below if you would like. One winner will be selected randomly. This contest is open for one week, through June 21. 2017.


Healthy trails, 





Authentic Indian Kitchari in the Instant Pot

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: makes about 7 cups

An ancient Indian healing dish with tons of flavor and aromatic spices!


  • 2 cups split mung beans
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 TBS grated ginger
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp nigella seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafetida
  • 5 curry leaves
  • a few pieces malabar cinnamon
  • 1" grated fresh turmeric (or 1 tsp dried)


  1. RINSE the beans in your pot until the water is clear. This takes several rinses! It's an important step so don't skip it!
  2. Add the 5 cups of water and the remaining spices. Stir to mix.
  3. Cover the pot and set on MANUAL for 12 minutes, making sure your top vent is in the closed position.
  4. When the time is finished, use a "natural release" method. Turn the power off and let sit until it is cool enough to open the lid. You can open the top vent a little at a time to speed this process if you just can't wait!. This natural release takes about 15-20 minutes generally for this dish.
  5. Remove and blend about 1/4 of the mixture and return to the pot. This makes it nice and creamy!
  6. Garnish with a little coconut milk and fresh cilantro.
  7. Enjoy!


If you don't live near an Indian market, the best online source I have found to find these spices is Indian Foods Co. (see link in the above post). They even ship fresh curry leaves!

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37 responses to “Authentic Indian Kitchari + INSTANT POT GIVEAWAY!”

  1. Susan Wright says:

    I guess for me, this looks so good,and I don’t have an instant pot. But you give us some good recipes. I have a friend who has the name Helyn too and she tries to be vegan many times and cheats. But I share your recipes with her. So you go girl you do good for us

  2. Anna says:

    I have not heard of kitchari, but it looks and sounds delicious, I must give it a try, thanks for sharing and for the chance of winning.

  3. Kitchari makes me think of old-timey vegetarian dishes. yum!

  4. Susan says:

    I want to try this recipe! I don’t think I’ve had a bean that I haven’t liked yet. 😉

  5. Sheri says:

    Definitely a new spice to try. Thanks

  6. Heidi C. says:

    I’m going to India for a month this coming December and can’t wait to try all the vegan Indian food I can find! Kitchari is such a wonderful dish, and your recipe sounds like one I can give a good go at. I’m not the best cook, but I enjoy trying! Thanks for sharing!

  7. NJ says:

    I love your nutratarian recipies. You have so much variety in your recipe book. Thanks for all your hard work! I’m sure having an instapot saves you a tremendous amount of time!
    Keep up the good work?

  8. Karen says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I can’t wait to try it.

  9. Leah says:

    This looks amazing! I will definitely be trying, I LOVE Indian food and your recipes are always amazing 🙂

  10. France Albert says:

    Hello Helen,

    I love your recipes but with the Instant Pot everything will cook in no time. Would love to win that one.

    Keep on bringing us healthy recipes

  11. Alicia Clausen says:

    Wow, I’ve never heard of this either but it sounds very comforting, maybe with some garlic naan bread.

  12. Carla Golden says:

    I’m so glad this is the brand of mung dal you recommend and favor as I got online to order this morning and this is what I selected. This recipe calls for a few spices I’ve never heard of so I’ll have to do a little research. You know I’m a fan of IP kitchari! Thank you Helyn!

  13. Pam says:

    I LOVE vegan Indian food! This recipe looks easy and delicious. Would love to have an Instant Pot to make it. (and other plant based meals!)

  14. Gloria wilder says:

    As a registered dietitian I am always looking for healthy recipes and websites to share. I haven’t made this yet but love all the spices!

  15. Marsha says:

    This looks amazing! I have never had dal, What would lentils be like? ooh the possibilities are endless. My mom had an old fashioned pressure cooker back in the day…back back in the day. Are these the latest and greatest?
    Wish me Luck 🙂

    You were the first person to show me water saute and for that I will be forever grateful.. I feel like such a silly. all these years using olive oil…why? because I was told to..unbelievable!!

    • helynskitchen says:

      Yes, these cookers are the latest! I prefer them for their precision and safety over stovetop cookers. I can’t tell you how much olive oil I’ve ingested over the years, Marsha! My grandmother and mom used it exclusively in their kitchens! 🙂

  16. JCB says:

    I always learn something new from you. I didn’t know you had to rinse yellow split peas. Is that true for the green split peas also? This recipe sounds delicious. I wish I had an Instant Pot to make it.

    • helynskitchen says:

      Not so much for regular split peas but most Mung Beans are grown in China by farmers – often with little machinery. After harvest they are left to dry on gravel roads – so they are dusty. Isn’t kind of cool actually… The dust you just washed off of your beans was part of a Chinese road! 🙂

  17. alexandra says:

    This recipe looks great; I only wish organic mung was less expensive; Have you used other types of mung to make this?

    • helynskitchen says:

      Hi Alexandra. No, I haven’t used another type. If you live anywhere near an Indian market I’m sure you can find them at a lower price there. I did find some others online at Patel Brothers for less! Here is a link: MOONG DAL Oh, oops… looks like they are out of stock at the moment but I’m sure they will have it back.

  18. Deanne O'Donnell says:

    I’ve been dying to try the Instant pot but with one income we’ve been putting off buying one. Would love to win this and make the great things I’ve seen in your blog.

  19. Nancy Offen says:

    I want to make this but don’t have an instant pot. Yes, I did enter the contest with fingers crossed but if I’m not the lucky winner how would I make this without one?

    • helynskitchen says:

      Hi Nancy, You can simply make this on the stovetop. Just add one more cup of water and simmer on low for about an hour. Enjoy!

  20. Nancy Offen says:

    Thanks, I’m good to go and will be making it tomorrow.

  21. Toni Feimer says:

    I love Indian Cooking and only 12min for kitcheri… yay. I hope to win. I’ll be making this.

  22. helynskitchen says:

    Congratulations to the Instant Pot winner, Lynn Estes! Enjoy and happy cooking!!! ?

  23. Lynn Estes says:

    My instant pot arrived today. I can hardly believe that I won. Thank you so much!!!
    I am looking forward to preparing many delicious and nutritious meals with it. Thank you, Helyn, for all of
    your wonderful recipes!!

  24. A few years back I have eaten Indian KITCHARI in one of my Indian friend house! They cooked it with cookware (Patil or dekci). It was delicious. Now as I have Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. I will try this recipe. Thanks helynskitchen for reminding me such an awesome recipe!

  25. Laura says:

    This looks like great dal – kitchari usually has grain in it too – 1 part basmati rice to 2 parts dal.

  26. Laura says:

    This sounds great! Should they be fresh curry leaves? Or would curry powder work instead?! Would regular cinnamon sticks work? Thank you!

    • helynskitchen says:

      Hi Laura! Curry leaves can be fresh or frozen. They are very different in flavor from curry powder which is just a mix of various Indian spices. Regular cinnamon can be used but also has a slightly different flavor than Malabar and is stronger in flavor so if you use it just use a small piece or 1/4 tsp powdered. Enjoy! x

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