Cleansing for Spring
WRITTEN AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY JULIE CARMEN
The magic of the cleansing dish of kitchari is in the intention.
In 1998, James Bailey introduced me to the benefits of a mung bean kitchari mono-diet.
Every year, a short cleanse via the kitchari mono-diet helps me to kick-start a new way
of thinking about food. Although my goal is not necessarily to lose weight, I always drop a
few pounds on the kitchari diet as it is very simple to digest.
Ingredients Feeds 12
2 cups mung beans
1 cup organic brown rice
2-3 tablespoons of organic ghee or
organic coconut oil
1-3 tablespoons each of organic cinnamon,
cloves, cumin, bay leaves, grated ginger
Choose seasonal, local vegetables as
desired to add to basic kitchari recipe.
1 bunch celery
1-2 heads cabbage
1 fennel bulb with leaves
2 tablespoons ghee, coconut
or sesame oil
1 tablespoon diced fresh turmeric
1/2 tablespoon powdered
One-two days before cooking kitchari:
Rinse 2 cups of mung beans through a
strainer. Cover them with good quality
water which will be absorbed. Store
them for a day or two in the refrigerator,
adding water as needed. Rinse again.
Heat a large skillet, cast iron preferably.
Line skillet with 2 -3 tablespoons of
organic ghee or organic coconut oil.
Heat the oil and then add 1 - 3 teaspoons
of organic cinnamon, cloves, cumin,
bay leaves, and grated ginger to the oil
and allow the fragrance of the herbs to
permeate the air.
Strain and rinse soaked mung beans and
pour them onto spiced ghee or oil in the
skillet, toss well.
Rinse 1 cup of organic brown rice.
Add rice to skillet and stir often to
completely mix in the spices and oil.
Stir often and simmer on very low heat
for 20 minutes.
Add one cup of good quality water to
skillet and cover tightly to steam contents
for ten minutes.
Boil 6 cups good quality water in another
Add all of the spiced rice and bean mixture
to boiling water and cover. Save the skillet
used for spicing the rice and beans.
Set your kitchen timer for 45 minutes.
Adjust cooking time depending on how
soupy you enjoy your kichari.
While the kitchari is cooking, take the hot
flavored (from the herbs and spices) skillet
and fill it with your favorite organic,
seasonally grown vegetables. Cauliflower,
broccoli, onions, garlic, carrots, fennel,
celery, cabbage, and peas are great choices.
I like to first cook the denser vegetables and
then add the more delicate vegetables last.
Add the partially cooked vegetables to
the rice and bean mixture while it is still
simmering. Cover and continue cooking
If you have a Cuisinart, or other food
processor it's nice to thinly slice one
full bunch of celery, one to two heads
of cabbage and a large stalk of fennel.
Saute this mixture in ghee (coconut or
sesame oil), sea salt and finely chopped
fresh turmeric root or turmeric powder
Save as a decorative garnish.
Spoon the finished mung bean kitchari
into a pretty serving dish and garnish
with the turmeric, celery, cabbage and
Serve alone or as a side dish.
If you're not having company, spoon daily
portions into glass containers, cover and
store in fridge or freezer. These portions are
easy to take with you to work or class to
continue the mono-diet cleanse throughout
Julie Carmen is an actress turned psychotherapist who
teaches yoga and cooks: juliecarmenyoga.com