Kitcheree: The Best First Food After a Stomach Bug or Breaking a Fast

I know a lot about recovering from stomach bugs.

I was married to an Indian and had the great fortune to be in his homeland for what must add up to over a year. One of my many happy discoveries of the country is that the food is miles better than we can easily find outside of the country. It has huge variations among its many regions and is mostly very healthy.

I wanted to taste a bit of everything, and over the years I became increasingly willing to push the line between being super safe and enjoying deliciousness.  Eventually, my system became strong enough to eat even some (clean-ish) street food but it took many hours of riding the porcelain bus to get me there. Delhi Belly is real, people!  

I have no regrets. Honestly, I enjoy the well-scrubbed, light feeling after recovery. There are cleansing practices across many cultures that range from short fasts to enemas and induced vomiting. It’s considered healthy to periodically clean the GI tract of any buildup. The way I see it, the occasional stomach bug accomplishes the same thing so long as I’m feeling strong and my immune system is otherwise unchallenged. Also, I like the opportunity to rebuild correctly once everything has been cleaned and settled.

I learned that being very deliberate about the first things I introduce to my GI tract leads to quicker recovery and a happy gut. 


In India, curd rice was offered to me after I was ill. It’s simply yogurt mixed into white rice, often with a few soothing spices and some salt. The white rice helps to firm up loose stools, and the yogurt provides valuable bacteria for the gut. I think kitcheree is even better than curd rice, especially if it’s served with yogurt.

There are many variations on kitcheree. Some recipes use other dahls and spices. Some are loaded with veggies. I leave out vegetables in this recipe, but if your gut is strong then add them! Great choices are any combo of carrots, leafy greens, sweet potato, squash, whatever you have on hand. I can’t wait to hear what you come up with!

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What I offer here is a recipe I developed specifically for recovering from a stomach bug or breaking a fast.


It’s super easy to digest, feels incredibly nourishing, and is truly delicious. My kids often ask for it even if we’re in perfect health because it’s the ultimate comfort food.

Let’s break down what each of the ingredients offers.


Mung beans are one of the easiest to digest legumes while still being one of the best plant-based sources of protein. They offer essential amino acids including phenylalanine, leucine, isoleucine, valine, lysine, arginine, and more. They’re a good source of potassium and magnesium, both much needed after a purge. They also contain specific starches and fibers that are the preferred food for the good bacteria in your gut.

Here’s more praise for the mighty mung bean. 

Basmati Rice has a glycemic index between 50 and 58, which makes it a low to medium glycemic index food. It is high in calories but also offers Vitamin B1 (thiamine) Vitamin B6, Copper, Folate, IronMagnesium, Phosphorous, and Zinc. The version I offer you here is specifically for after a bout of the trots. I stick with white basmati for its firming effects. If you’re not recovering, brown basmati is the healthier choice.

Coconut is a high-fat fruit that has a wide range of health benefits. Coconut oil is one of my preferred fats, and I love the taste of the coconut flakes in this dish. I know they’re providing me with antioxidants, promoting blood sugar regulation, and reducing certain risk factors for heart disease.

Mustard Seeds stimulate the appetite and aid digestion. They also have anti-cancer and other health benefits.

Cumin stimulates appetite, aids digestion, has anti-microbial and anti-cancer properties.

Turmeric is an appetite stimulant, digestion aid, and has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Include it in your diet as often as possible!

Kitcheree for Recovery

Caitilin TwainCaitilin Twain
The best first food to eat after a stomach bug or breaking a fast.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 541 kcal


  • 1 Cup Basmati Rice white if recovering from diarrhea, otherwise brown is preferred
  • 1 Cup Mung Beans
  • 1 Cup dried coconut flakes unsweetened
  • 5-10 fresh curry leaves
  • 1-2 inch fresh ginger root
  • 1 tbsp oil (olive or avocado are best choices)
  • 1 tbsp white/black mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seed
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • optional salt
  • optional ghee
  • optional yogurt


  • Rinse mung beans, then put in a pot with 3 cups of water. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. These beans usually take about 30 minutes to cook. Drain remaining water.
  • Rinse rice thoroughly then put in a medium pot with 2 cups water. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the rice is tender. It's ok if the rice is damp because it adds moisture to the overall dish.
  • While the beans and rice are cooking, add enough hot water to cover the coconut. You may also add the curry leaves, especially if they are drying or have been frozen. Set aside.
  • Peel and dice the ginger root.
  • About five minutes before the rice and beans are ready, heat oil in a large pan. Sautee the ginger for a few minutes, then add the mustard seeds. Crush the cumin seeds in your palm to release more flavor, then add to the pan.
  • Once the seeds begin to pop add the coconut. It will be loud and splatty! Stir thoroughly, add the turmeric powder, and stir until the spices and coconut are thoroughly mixed.
  • Add the cooked rice and drained mung beans.
  • Add the optional salt and ghee.
  • Serve with yogurt for additional gut health benefits.


Keyword gut health, mung bean, recovery food


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