How to Make Kitchari in a Thermos

Thermos Kitchari

Kitchari is a healing, nourishing and comforting dish for any time of the year. It is particularly good if you are ill, or recovering. If you are under the weather or feeling fragile. If you are sensitive at the moment or going through difficult times. We have a dozen or more different Kitchari/Pongal recipes.

This recipe is a simple kitchari, perfect for lunches. It takes 5 minutes to prepare in the morning, you put it in a thermos, and 4 hours later lunch is ready. It uses a curry powder or paste for convenience and time saving, but you can use your favourite mix of kitchari spices if you prefer. Some suggestions are included, from an Ayurvedic perspective.

I first got this recipe from my friend Tim who is an amazing yogi, yoga teacher and Ayurvedic Cook. This is one of his easy lunch recipes that he would share in his Ayurvedic cooking classes. It is a treasure – make it in the morning as your coffee is brewing, and it is ready for lunch where ever you are. You can varying the ingredients every day. It is also great for picnics and when you are travelling.

It takes a could of tries to get this to be perfect kitchari. But you will have fun as you perfect your amounts and technique. And it is SO healthy. It makes quite a soupy kitchari. Add a little less water if you want it less soupy. It makes quite a bit, so there will be some to share.

Perhaps you might also like to try other Kitchari recipes. Try Cracked Wheat and Mung Dal Kitchari, Cauliflower, Mung Bean and Broken Wheat Kitchadi, and Gujarati Kitchari.

All of our Kitchari recipes are here. Or you might like to browse all of our Indian recipes, and our Indian Cuisine Information. Or simply browse our easy Mid Winter dishes

This recipe is one of the vegetarian ones from our first blog which we ran from 1995 – 2006. Feel free to browse other recipes from that blog – our Retro Recipes series.

Thermos Kitchari

Kitchari in a Thermos |Tim’s Thermos Flask Kitchari Lunch

1 Tblspn Ghee 1 tspn cumin seeds 1 cm piece ginger, grated
pinch asafoetida 2 Tblspn red lentils (masoor dal), mung dal or other quick cooking lentils 2 Tblspn basmati rice
1 cup fresh veggies chopped to fit into thermos (optional) 0.5 tspn curry paste or to taste, or see the spice variations below 2 cups water
Salt to taste 1 tspn turmeric

Heat ghee and fry the cumin seeds, fresh ginger and asafoetida briefly. Add the remaining ingredients except for water and salt, and stir over heat for a minute or two. Add the water and salt to taste, bring to the boil and simmer for 2 – 5 minutes only. Immediately place into a 1 litre wide mouthed thermos flask. Screw the lid on quickly and leave closed for 4 hours. The means it will be freshly cooked and ready to eat 4 hours later.

recipe notes and alternatives
With the rice and Mung Dal that I use, I need to simmer it for 3-4 mins for the dal to cook.

Leafy vegetables wont need much cooking – add just before you put into the thermos.

If using heavier lentils, add to the spices first with the water and cook for a few minutes before adding the rice and vegetables.

Different thermos flasks will vary in how well they retain the heat – so experiment a little. If you don’t want to eat for 5 hours, cook the lentils less than 2 minutes in the beginning. If you want to eat in 3 hours, cook them more. Try to use a wide mouthed thermos.

Some variations you can try:

  1. Add some tamarind water and a pinch of jaggery
  2. Add sesame seeds, coconut, jaggery, cinnamon and raisins or currants
  3. Add 1 tspn fennel seeds, 0.5 tspn garam masala, 1 Tblspn fresh coriander and 1 Tblspn yoghurt
  4. Add 1 tspn mustard seeds, 1 tspn fenugreek seeds and 0.25 chilli, sambal oelek, chilli paste or chilli oil
  5. Add curry leaves, fenugreek leaves, cardamom pods and/or cloves




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