Kichadi and ghee recipes for autumn ayurveda detoxing

Detoxing doesn’t always have to be about salads, juices and cold rawness.  I am a firm believer in detoxing with the seasons, and often recommend a warming Ayurvedic detox for autumn.  If you’re interested you will need to learn how to make two things:  ghee and kichadi.


Ghee  is basically clarified butter and very simple to make (or you can be really lazy and buy it ready made). You will need unsalted organic butter.Put the butter in a small pan and cook over a gentle heat. Let it reach boiling point when it will become transparent and a white foam will appear on top.

Allow to boil quietly for about 15 minutes–you will know when it’s ready because it will turn a lovely soft golden colour and white curds will separate out from the clear oil. The boiling will quieten down and become almost still. It’s ready. Be careful not to let it burn or turn brown.

Filter it through a muslin (drugstores usually sell them in the baby department) or let it cool until the solid curds settle at the bottom.

Store the clear ghee (discard the curds) in a clean (boil it first) glass jar that can be closed firmly. It will now keep pretty much indefinitely–in or out of the fridge. It may melt but that won’t affect it in any way.

It occurs to me that vegans won’t want to use ghee.  Coconut oil would be a suitable substitute – although not ideal as it’s cooling in its effects, and would aggravate vata (air) types.


Kichadi (also known as kitcheri and a host of other spellings) is a simple rice and mung dhal stew with spices and vegetables added. It’s really simple to make and is a bit of a moveable feast.  It is quite bland, so you may want to jazz it up with more veg.

I’ve listed a few additions that have specific healing properties.

Use around 30g of basmati rice and 15g of mung beans per person.

  • Mix the rice and beans together and wash in cold water.
  • Melt a tablespoon of ghee (see above) in a pan and add half a teaspoon each of fennel, cuminand coriander seeds. Cook for a minute or two.
  • Add half a teaspoon each of powdered ginger and turmeric plus the drained beans and rice. Allow them to become well coated with the ghee and then add enough water to cover the ingredients with a few inches to spare.
  • Bring to the boil then cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, making sure the mixture does not dry out or stick. It should take about an hour to cook.
  • If you wish, you can add seasonal vegetables (see below). Root vegetables will need cooking from the beginning (add at stage 3) while leafy vegetables can be added towards the end of your cooking time.

The following additions will help particular conditions:

  • to tone the reproductive organs and promote fertility: add quarter of a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds; 4 neem leaves (fresh if possible); a pinch of hing; one onion; 2-3 cups of fresh asparagus.
  • to strengthen the lungs: add two medium sweet potatoes, one onion, four cloves of garlic plus small amounts of hing, cardomom, dry ginger and peppercorns.
  • to strengthen digestion: add half a teaspoon of turmeric, one teaspoon of oregano, one teaspoon of grated ginger, three cups of fresh vegetables (carrots, squash, courgettes).

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