Forget Detox Diets and Try the Traditional Ayurvedic Khichadi

Forget Detox Diets and Try the Traditional Ayurvedic Khichadi 29 11zon

Popular and known to almost every single Indian as khichdi, this homely delicacy is not just a regular meal. It actually has ancient origins going back thousands of years and is in fact a traditional cleansing food in Ayurveda. Of course, over the years as the dish has grown in popularity it has deviated far from its traditional formulation. Nevertheless, the modern incarnation of this traditional Ayurvedic dish retains some basic ingredients and with a little effort, you can make your own traditional Ayurvedic khichdi cleanse as an alternative to going on a fad detox diet. 

History of Ayurvedic Khichdi

As the dish has been popularized and remains widely consumed across all of India, it has a number of local variations and also goes by many names including Khichdi, Khichadi, Kitchari, Khichuri, Khisiri, Khechidi, Kitcheree and so on. Historical references to the dish date back thousands of years and it is even mentioned in the writings of a Russian adventurer and traveller named Afanasiy Nikitin in the 1400s. 

As per our Ayurvedic traditions, Khichdi is an important food in the renowned detox treatment of Panchakarma. It is typically the primary dish that is recommended for all patients undergoing Panchakarma therapy as both a preparatory and recovery food. Traditional Ayurvedic Khichdi is still recommended by Ayurvedic physicians and served at clinics that administer Panchakarma treatments to patients. 

What Makes Ayurvedic Khichdi the Best Detox Diet Plan?

traditional indian soup lentils indian dhal spicy curry bowl spices herbs rustic black wooden table 1

Khichdi is quite simply a rice-based stew, usually prepared with basmati rice and combined with split mung beans. While this may sound unappetizing it is garnished and seasoned with a variety of culinary herbs that are also used in Ayurvedic medicine. These ingredients can be customized to address the individual needs of each patient as they help to balance the doshas and pacify any aggravated Dosha. At its essence, the dish is easy to digest and nourishing. 

Because of personalized recommendations, the dish can be used for all body types or any Prakriti type. The ingredients are also inexpensive and easily available throughout India. For added nutrition, khichdi can also be prepared with vegetables added in, such as methi and palak, among others. The consistency of the meal can also be modified to suit your personal preferences and digestive health, from a soupy consistency to a more solid rice-based dish. When used as a detox diet food, it is best consumed in a stew or soup-like consistency. 

The Dosha balancing effects of Khichdi derive from the blend of herbs and spices that are used for flavouring, while Basmati rice and Mung Dal provide the body with easy to digest carbs and a good amount of protein. This is what makes it a perfect food for any detox diet – it’s easy to digest and strengthening.  

Ayurvedic Khichdi Recipe
  1. Half a cup of Basmati rice
  2. 1 cup of split Mung Dal
  3. 5 cups of water
  4. A pinch or 2 of mineral salt
  5. 2 teaspoons of Ghee
  6. Single ginger root (finely chopped or grated)
  7. 1 teaspoon of whole cumin seeds
  8. 1 teaspoon of whole pepper seeds
  9. 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
  10. 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  11. 1 teaspoon of finely ground or crushed coriander
  12. A pinch of Hing
Optional Ingredients A handful of cilantro or dill leaves, 1 cup of easy to digest vegetables like sweet potato, brinjal, etc.
Meal Prep
  • Sift through and wash your raw rice and Dal thoroughly to get rid off any stones or dirt. Add the 5 cups of water to your vessel and put it on a stove on high heat. Lower to medium heat once it comes to a boil and allow it to cook for about 20 minutes or more with a lid on.
  • Sauté the seeds on a non-stick pan with the Ghee and add in the other spices once the seeds begin to pop. Then simply add the mixture into your vessel with the rice and Dal and mix thoroughly.
  • Add mineral salt to the dish and your Khichdi is ready. If you wish to add other veggies, make sure to cook them separately and chopped into small pieces. You can add them to the Khichdi when mixing in the spices. 

While the recipe provided here is a standard Khichdi recipe, you can ask your Ayurvedic physician for a personalized recipe taking into account your balance of Doshas. This will simply require tweaking some of the ingredients, such as excluding mustard or adding more ginger powder. 


Dr Sunanda Ranade

Sunanda Ranade is Vice-Chairman of the International Academy of Ayurved, Pune, India, and an expert Ayurvedic gynecologist and nutritionist. She has been working in this field for the last 47 years. Dr. Sunanda Ranade holds a Doctorate in Ayurveda. She is also the author of several books on Ayurveda and Yoga, which have been published in Marathi, English, Spanish, and Portuguese.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here