02 Dec Kitchari: The “Food of the Gods”
In the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda (India’s main medical system) it is believed that this food is an all-round healing and digestion-kindling meal. Kitchari is a delicious, light and easily digestible food that supplies all of one’s nutritional needs while affording the internal organs the opportunity to recover from dietary excesses and/or deficiencies that are the foundation for disease.
In fact, kitchari may well be the most perfect therapeutic recipe of all because it detoxifies the entire system, while kindling the body’s digestive fire (called “agni”), and unlike other fasts or restricted diets, following an exclusive diet of kitchari with the addition of some steamed seasonal vegetables and fresh fruits (eaten at the right time) supplies all the bodies’ nutritional needs and will cause no nutritional deficiencies. This complete food is easy to digest and gives you strength and vitality. It nourishes all the tissues of the body.
The beautiful thing about kitchari is that it is simple and quick to cook (especially when you make it regularly) and it can be prepared at home and eaten as frequently as one wishes. The more the better!!!
In our household we have it at least one or two days a week and more if we are cleansing. My 19 month old baby LOVES it too and she has been eating it since she first began to eat solids. And now when I make it she chants “rice rice rice” and she devours 3 bowls of it. It is one of her favourite dishes and it is always nice eating it together whilst knowing that we are also healing ourselves in the process.
So, what is Kitchari made of I hear you asking?
Kitchari is made up mostly of basmati rice and mung dhal (split yellow mung beans), with the appropriate seasoning and seasonal vegetables. Basmati rice and mung dhal both have the qualities of being sweet and cooling with a sweet after taste. Together they create a very balanced food which is an excellent protein combination and is tridoshic. In Ayurveda Tridoshic means that it is easy to digest for ALL constitutions/ doshas (Vata, Pitta & Kapha).
Few of us are sufficiently in touch with how food affects our mental states and emotions. Although, increasingly we are recognising the importance of how we really are what we eat. The more in-tune with our bodies and our minds we get, the more we start to recognise the hyped feeling that comes from consuming too much sugar, the heavy, dull feeling from an excess of dairy, fats and red meat, or the ungrounded, spaced and unfocussed effects from too much raw foods, especially when consumed at the wrong time.
So, here we present you with a dish that can be eaten ALL year round and which is happily digested by all 3 doshas. So here is a tridoshic Kitchari recipe: ENJOY & your bodies will thank you!
1 cup yellow mung dhal (green mung dhal is also nice)
1 cup basmati rice
1 Tbs ghee or coconut oil
2 inch chunk fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Tbs cumin seeds
1 Tbs mustard seeds
6 cups water
handful dried seaweed (optional)
1 Tsp each of turmeric powder, ginger powder & coriander powder
Seasonal vegetables, chopped into small pieces (small piece of pumpkin, 1 small sweet potatoes, half head broccoli & 1 cup frozen peas)
Celtic sea salt to taste (or Himalayan salt)
- Wash the mung dhal and rice together in a big pot a few times until the water runs clear (or even better, soak overnight)
- Cut the vegetables and set aside.
- In a large pot, add the ghee or coconut oil and add the fresh ginger, garlic, cumin seeds and mustard seeds, toast until brown and smells lovely and popping. Add the turmeric, ginger powder and coriander powder. Stir to combine.
- Add the mung dhal and rice and the 6 cups of water, bring to the boil and then turn right down to low and let simmer with the lid on. cook until the water has absorbed and the vegetables are soft. Turn the heat off.
- After cooking, add salt (or Tamari) to taste. Sprinkle with a generous amount of seeds, coriander and ginger chutney (see below). Dig in & enjoy!
Condiments – (these are necessary and will make it taste extra delicious)
- Tamari seeds: dry toast 2 cups of pepitas and sunflower seeds in a pan over medium heat until golden brown. Pour into a bowl and pour over a 1-2 Tbs Tamari and stir to coat.
- Fresh coriander (or parsley), diced
- Ginger chutney (This is super simple and SO delicious. It helps with digestion too. Finely dice into tiny pieces or grate a 2 inch chunk of fresh ginger and put into a small bowl. Add the juice of 1 – 2 limes and 1 tsp Himalayan salt. Stir and set aside to use. It is seriously delicious!!!
Below we have served it with the ginger chutney and some yummy chargrilled asparagus…
Other tips for the Kitchari lovers:
If you know your constitution/ dosher (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) then you can add different spices/ seasoning/ vegetables to the above recipe to vary it and to balance out your dosha.
FOR VATA : Add a Tbs of ghee or hemp oil in once the kitchari is cooked. This will help balance out the cold, dry qualifies of vata.
FOR PITTA : Add 1/4 cup of dried coconut and a handful of finely chopped coriander into the pot when you add in the turmeric, ginger powder & coriander powder. Coconut and coriander have a cooling effect on the system which help balance out the hot / fire qualities of Pitta.
FOR KAPHA : Add a cinnamon stick, 4 whole cloves and 4 whole cardamom pods in when you add in the spices. The warming and pungent spices help move out any congestion and balance out the heavy qualities of kapha.