If you haven’t caught on by now, we’re super into comfort food over here. And when it comes to Indian cooking, it doesn’t get much more comforting than kitchari.
Kitchari is a traditional Ayurvedic dish that’s typically made when someone in the family is under the weather. That’s because it’s comforting, gentle on the digestive system, and incredibly soothing.
Our inspired take on this flavorful dish uses cauliflower rice in place of basmati rice and can be served atop greens, grains, or roasted vegetables. It’s perfect for just about any occasion (whether you’re sick or not). Let us show you how easy this 1-pot meal is.
Kitchari (also known as khichuri, khichri, or khichdi) is a dish with ancient roots in India. As early as 300 BC, an Indian philosopher and statesman named Chanukya wrote about a balanced meal made from rice, lentils, salt, and ghee or oil. And as early as the 14th and 16th centuries, additional records describe a similar dish (source).
Kitchari is known for containing two main ingredients- rice and lentils (often moong dal). And it commonly includes spices such as turmeric, ginger, and more. In Ayurvedic medicine, kitchari is known for aiding detoxification and balancing the three doshas.
Our version is not traditional, opting for cauliflower “rice” instead of rice, but it otherwise contains similar ingredients and flavors.
How to Make Cauliflower Rice Kitchari
The one time-consuming thing about this recipe is that you need to soak your moong dal – a.k.a. split mung beans – beforehand, which takes about 6-8 hours. This increases the digestibility and speeds up cooking time.
Once soaked, it’s smooth sailing. It all starts with toasting your whole spices along with fresh ginger, serrano pepper, and diced tomato.
Next comes the soaked moong dal, which is sautéed and then simmered in water until tender.
Once tender, it’s time to add your cauliflower rice and more spices for big flavor. (We also include an option for basmati rice in the notes if you’re down with grains).
Cover and simmer until all of the flavors meld, and before you know it, dinner is on the table. We did it! You did it. Friends, we did it.
We hope you LOVE this kitchari. It’s:
Fiber- + Protein-rich
& Incredibly delicious
This is the perfect dish to make ahead of time and reheat throughout the week. It just gets better with time. Make it for yourself or loved ones who are sick – it’s like a hug. Make it for dinner parties. Your friends will love you for it. Our favorite way to enjoy it is with roasted sweet potatoes and beets – because carbs – and some fresh cilantro. Take it to another level with this green curry tahini dressing. Swoon!
For more comforting dishes, be sure to check out our 1-Pot Lentil Chili, Lentil Mushroom Stew over Mashed Potatoes, Creamy Vegetable Risotto, 1-Pot Minestrone Soup, and Lentil Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie.
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
1-Pot Cauliflower Rice Kitchari
- 3/4 cup moong dal or chana dal
- 1 1/2 Tbsp coconut or avocado oil (or sub water, but the turmeric will be more bioavailable with a little fat)
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin seed
- 1 tsp mustard seed
- 2 Tbsp grated (or finely chopped) ginger
- 1-2 small serrano peppers (seeds removed + diced // reduce or omit for less heat)
- 1/4 tsp asafoetida (a seasoning used in place of onion and garlic // or sub minced garlic*)
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- 2 cups water
- 2 whole cloves (optional)
- 2 whole cardamom pods (optional)
- 2 cups cauliflower rice*
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground turmeric (plus more to taste)
- 2-3 Tbsp coconut aminos (plus more to taste)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt (plus more to taste)
- 1/3 cup light coconut milk (optional // for creaminess, richness)
FOR SERVING optional
- Lime or lemon
- Roasted Vegetables
- Add moong dal (or chana dal) to a large pot or skillet and cover with cool water. Soak overnight (or for 6 hours). Once soaked, rinse and drain. Set aside in strainer.
- Heat the same large pot or rimmed skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil (or water), cumin seed, mustard seed, ginger, serrano peppers, asafoetida*, and tomatoes. Sauté for a few minutes, stirring occasionally (see photo).
- Next, add moong dal and sauté for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add water, clove (optional), and cardamom (optional). Increase heat and bring to a low boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until moong dal is tender – about 15-20 minutes.
- Add cauliflower rice, garam masala, cumin, turmeric, coconut aminos, and sea salt and stir to combine (see photo). Cover and cook until cauliflower rice is tender, about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the mixture becomes too dry, add more water (you’re going for the texture in the photo).
- Add coconut milk at this time for creamier texture (optional). Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more salt for saltiness, coconut aminos for depth of flavor, cumin for smokiness, or garam masala for warming/clove flavor.
- Serve as is or over rice, greens, or roasted vegetables. We love this kitchari with roasted beets, sweet potatoes, cilantro, and this Tahini-Curry Paste Dressing.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator up to 5 days or in the freezer up to 1 month. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop. Add more water or coconut milk if dry.
*For a more traditional approach, you can sub 1/2 cup dry (92 g) basmati rice per 2 cups cauliflower rice. If going this route, add to the pan at the same time as the moong dal. You’ll likely need to add more water – start with 1/2 cup (120 ml) and work up from there.
*Recipe adapted loosely from Ascension Kitchen.
*Prep time reflects soaking beans and prepping ingredients.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.
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