Recipe of the Month - Maria Garre's Saffron Asparagus Kitchari


In Ayurvedic practices, spring is a vital time to cleanse. Not only does this rejuvenate practices of self-care after winter's dormancy, it also promotes energy, immunity, and strength. Performing an Ayurvedic cleanse rekindles agni or metabolic fire. Ayurvedic practitioners believe that the root of dis-ease and imbalance is caused from a lack of agni. This kitchari cleanse can help spark your internal agni and bring you back into balance for spring. 

Traditionally, kitchari cleanses can be performed for 3, 9, 15, or 21 days. During each day of the cleanse, kitchari is eaten for every meal. Simple oatmeal and avocado can also be also be eaten throughout the cleanse. It is important to note that a true kitchari cleanse has many steps and stages. For more information the steps to a traditional Ayurvedic kitchari cleanse, check out Banyan Botanicals

Whether you just want to try kitchari for a single meal or if you want to do a full cleanse, this recipe is perfect for spring. The addition of saffron and fresh asparagus will bring balance back into the body during the kapha season.


1/8 teaspoon saffron
2 tablespoons ghee (or coconut oil for a vegan option)
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
3 to 4 curry leaves
1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
1/2 cup split mung dal
3/4 cup basmati rice
1 pound fresh asparagus (2-3 cups chopped)
1 teaspoon sea salt
6 cups water
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin


1. Dry-roast the saffron in the bottom of a heavy pan.

2. Add the ghee, cumin and fenugreek seeds and warm over low heat until cumin seeds are brown.

3. Add the curry leaves, onion and asafoetida and stir. Slow sauté until onion is tender, a minute or two.

4. Wash the dal and rice until the rinse water is clear, drain and add to the spice mixture.

5. Add the water and salt and cook until tender, about an hour.

6. While the kitchari is cooking, wash and chop the asparagus into 1 inch slices.

7. Fifteen minutes before serving, steam the asparagus and stir it and the ground cumin into the kitchari.

8. If working with only vata, the asparagus can be sautéed in an additional tablespoon of ghee until tender, then added to the kitchari.