Rice Cooker Kitchari

Oh kitchari….Love the taste but I’m ok updating the preparation method to provide a little more no-fail ingenuity to the kitchen routine.  I genuinely enjoy it’s tastes and feel nourished while restricting my diet to only kitchari during seasonal balance sessions. The best, simple, explanation for the mono diet aspect of an Ayurvedic balancing session, and what makes up the mono diet, is to consume food providing relaxation and rejuvenation for our digestion and senses.
Have your churna of choice ready- Maybe follow these guidelines:

Vata churna for fall and coldest parts of winter: coriander, cumin, fennel, turmeric, cumin, ginger, fenugreek, asefortida (hing).

Pitta churna, nice for summer: coriander, cumin, fennel, green cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger

Kapha churna, great for late winter and spring: coriander, cumin, fenugreek, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper or touch of cayenne.

OK so you really came here to learn how to make your Kitchari in a Rice Cooker!

My rice cooker/vegetable steamer is a Cuisinart 4 cup Ricer Cooker/Steamer. It’s a non-stick interior. This is important to know because I’ve only used this type of rice cooker and do not have experience with other models.

Rice Cooker Kitchari:
Yields two-three servings

3/4 cup WASHED basmati rice and SPLIT mung (moong) bean combination
*Generally, you will add double the amount of water as rice/bean mixture
1 3/4 cup water
1 T ghee
1 t churna, or spice mix of your needs of the dosha variety

vegetable of your seasonal choice. Today we have
1 carrot
2 small yams
2 stalks of kale

Always use no-scratch utensils in your cooker/steamer 🙂

Plug in rice cooker and add ghee. Turn the cooker onto “heat” and press the non-stick bowl into the heater (this usually makes it stay on rather than popping up to “warm” setting.  It has to feel weight, then it will stay on “cook” mode). As ghee melts, add the churna mixture and quickly the ghee will melt and spices will begin to cook. don’t overcook.  Turn device onto “warm” if needed to control the fast heat. Add the mung bean and basmati rice, wet from washing.  Mix the ghee and churna with the rice and beans, allow to brown very slightly then add the 1 3/4 water.  Stir. Cover and make sure the cooker is set to “cook”.
Just a reminder-Never allow your rice cooker to do its thing while underneath countertops as the steam is very hot and can damage woodwork, etc.

TIMER for 20 MINUTES. Use your steam basket which comes with most rice cookers today to add the root vegetables of carrots, potatoes (whatever you have!)  and replace the lid overtop the vegetables. After 5-10 minutes, add the kale or leafy greens you are in to.  by now you probably have about 3-6 minutes before the rice cooker/steamer automatically turns off, onto “warm” setting and now you have maintenance, no burn (!!) kitchari.  Delicious!  Add a touch of salt to taste.  If you reheat leftovers to make your balancing session easy, do it stovetop with a couple tablespoons of water added.


Ingredients and supplies


Fresh, organic ingredients and split mung dahl
Fresh, organic ingredients and split mung da

Let those spices cook, but don't burn :)
Let those spices cook, but don’t burn 🙂

Brown the rice and beans so slightly
Brown the rice and beans so slightly

Add water and let 'er cook!
Add water and let ‘er cook

After 15 minutes, add the root vegetables
After 15 minutes, add the root vegetables

Then add the leafy kale

Add the kale and it’s almost done!

Rice Cooker Kitchari in 25 minutes

Rice Cooker Kitchari in 25 minutes

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Ayurveda Travel Tips

Morning travel days CAN be smooth, even if you are due at your departure airport by 5:00 a.m. Drink plenty of water the 48 hours prior to departure. Traveling in the air is dehydrating, so stick with water once you are at the airport and avoid caffeine and alcohol. Keep greased, processed foods to a minimum as they are salty and make sitting all day very uncomfortable for yourself or even for those around you!  It’s tempting to make travel day comfortable with a Cinnabon and Sbarro’s pizza but stick with a homemade snack of trail mix (lots of nuts). Offer yourself a special treat; too- Once settled in at my departure terminal, my early morning travel day treat is a medium Starbucks chai latte, two pumps chai and one pump vanilla. It’s not exactly coffee, right?! And the warm milk with spices calms vata, the Dosha of movement- and can therefore can help keep grounded despite flying through the air at about 500 mph!

Tips for the traveling Ayurvedist:

-Keep with your usual routine as much as possible on travel day, including diet and Dinacharya.

-The evening prior to travel, practice sarvangasana (supported shoulder stand). After the relaxed inversion, your brain and feet will experience fresh blood’s flow and help prevent swollen soles during the long travel day ahead. Do this asana to promote a restful night’s sleep, too.

-Keep your nasya oil with you. Nasya oil is a natural nutritive oil used to moisten the nasal passage after using a neti pot or otherwise. Using this nasal oil every couple hours will keep nasal moist and deter vata from accumulating.

– When restlessness sets in, sit tall yet relaxed in your seat assignment. Close your eyes and allow your chin to gradually rest toward the sternum. Take five deep breaths and while doing so relax the abdominals completely. Feel the air moving your stomach slightly with the inhales and exhales. Turn your attention to your sitting bones and imagine the center of your pelvis hovering barely above the earth as the sitting bones anchor into the earth. Continue the relaxed breath and grounded imagery through the hips.

-Settle into once you arrive at your destination.  Take time to unpack and also to sit quietly in a position allowing your sitting bones to rest on the earth, pillow, blanket or yoga mat. As you sit in a meditative stance, relax your brain and tune into the sensation of being rooted into the earth, securing your place in the world no matter where you go!

We should embrace the ability to discover and explore through travel, of course. As we “Go, Go, Go” in life, Ayurveda dinacharya (daily self-care) promotes a sense of grounded, rooted expressions of our true self to be portrayed every day, regardless of traveling to school or work or entering days of unfamiliar settings and people.