Pavani A. Vadlamani

Living Life Unflamed: Detoxing with Quinoa Kitchari

Pavani A. Vadlamani
Living Life Unflamed: Detoxing with Quinoa Kitchari

It’s detox month and to carry on the theme from last week, I’m sharing my recipe for Kitchari. If you are interested in last weeks post from this Living Life Unflamed series on fighting inflammation check it out here - Living Life Unflamed Cooling Down with Lavender.

KITCHARI - 2 or more grains mixed together with spices and vegetables; also commonly known as - kichdi, pongal


Kitchari can be made many different ways depending on where you are from in India, but to all who make it there is only one reason. It is a comfort food that heals. It’s like a porridge filled with rich nutrients from the indian pulses (beans, peas, and lentils), grains (rice, quinoa, oats, etc.), vegetable and spices used to create this easily most varietal dish.

In Ayurveda, the Kitchari diet is suggested to help balance the digestion and body. The Kitchari cleanse may consist of 3 days of eating this simplified one-pot dish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to promote detoxifying the body. This regimen will vary by person and as with any diet changes, consult with your health care providers if you have any concerns. I like to do this cleanse once a month, but I do not try this cleanse if I am sick, pregnant, or taking prescriptions. I do introduce it whenever I feel like I have put on a few extra pounds or am suffering from excessive inflammation. According to ayurveda It is best if you can make it fresh each day of the cleanse and then eat on it throughout the day to preserve the essential life force of the food.

Primary Benefits

  • Better digestion and overall energy levels.

  • Detoxifying and helps regulate elimination.

  • Balanced body weight.

  • Improves mood.

  • Improves focus.

  • Helps sleep issues.

What makes Kitchari Anti-inflammatory?


Turmeric, ginger, cumin, and coriander have been used since ancient times to help balance inflammation. The layer of flavor these spices add is incredible. Quinoa is an amazing grain substitute to grains that aggravate joints. Adding equally anti-inflammatory veggies is a terrific way to introduce this detox dish into your regular meal plan.


One of my go to references for ayurvedic cooking is Eat-Taste-Heal: An Ayurvedic Cookbook for Modern Living which you can find on amazon. If you take an Ayurveda assessment, like this one by Yoga International, it can be useful in helping you find the diet plan that works best for your body.

I grew up eating at least serving of Kitchari a day, typically at lunch time. It grounded me and helped me feel energized, lighter, and calmer as I went through the rest of my day. There are endless recipes out there, so try a few and let me know what you think!

I have included my favorite version below.


Rice Cooker Quinoa Kitchari

1 cup quiona

1/2 cup moong daal

1/2 cup toor daal or preferred bean or legume

1 to 1/2 cup vegetables (brocolli, carrots, and cauliflower)

1 tsp tumeric, cumin, coriander powder, asofetida, salt, and black pepper

1 tbsp grated ginger (optional)

2 tbsp ghee + 1 tbsp vegetable oil (sunflower, coconut, olive etc.)

5-6 cups water (make sure water is an inch above everything)

fresh cilantro to garnish


  1. put all the ingredients into the rice cooker.

  2. set the switch to cook (usually 20 min)

  3. check the cooker periodically and ensure that you don’t need more water, if you have too much water, spoon it out and start the cooker again - water will vary by the grains and veggies in this dish

  4. add a little more ghee to taste, garnish with cilantro and serve.

That’s it for this week! Good Eating and stay tuned to next week for anti-inflammatory yoga tips.

Writer, Technologist, and Meditation Coach