Lately I’ve been utterly obsessed with kitchari. Its amazing! Through all of my food adventures I have found kitchari to be the perfect food dish for creating balance in the body and mind.
In Ayurvedic philosophy, health starts in the digestive system. The function of the whole system is dependent on the proper digestion, assimilation and elimination of our food. If these things aren’t happening properly, we become vulnerable to disease. The metabolic energy of digestion, called agni in sanskrit, literally means fire. This fire must be strong for us to properly digest and assimilate our food and so its strength is a direct indicator of the health of our entire system. And so, beyond just cleansing the body of toxins, called Ama, kitchari will rekindle low agni, paving the way for greater balance in the entire system.
1 Cup of yellow mung dal
1 Cup of basmati rice
6 Cups of blessed water
2 Cups of easily digestible vegetables (such as asparagus, carrots, celery, green beans, summer squash, winter squash, yam, sweet potato, turnips or zucchini), cut into bite sized pieces.
2 Tablespoons ghee or coconut oil if you prefer
2 Inch piece of fresh ginger root, minced
1 Tablespoon turmeric
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons Himalayan pink salt
1 stick kombu seaweed (optional)
Soak the split mung dal overnight (or for at least four hours). Strain the soaking water, combine with the rice and rinse the mixture at least twice, or until the water runs clear, and set aside.
In a medium saucepan or soup pot, warm the ghee over medium heat. Add the black mustard seeds, cumin seeds and sauté for a couple of minutes, until the mustard seeds begin to pop. Add the turmeric, coriander, fennel, and fresh ginger. Stir briefly, until aromatic. Stir the rice and dal mixture into the spices and sauté for a few moments, stirring constantly.
Add the water, turn heat to high, and bring to a boil. Add bay leaf and kombu. Then, add hard vegetables like turnips, sweet potato, yams, winter squash, carrots or celery. When the soup comes to a boil, stir in the salt, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes.
Add your softer vegetable half way through about the kitchari’s cooking process, stir in the vegetables and allow the stew to return to a boil. Continue to simmer until the rice, dal, and vegetables are fully cooked. I like to have very little water remaining when finished. The consistency is more like a thick stew than a broth. Make sure your beans, rice and hard vegetables are thoroughly cooked. Remove from heat, cool, and serve.
Some great add ons to kitchari are chutney, cilantro, plain yogurt, raisins, mixed greens, (romaine, spinach, chard, kale, sprouts), sesame seeds, shredded carrots & beets.
“Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open.” ~B.K.S. Iyengar
Each ingredient plays a specific role in this dish. Kitchari can stimulate your circulation, invigorate your metabolism, and clear out congestion. The beans are alkaline forming and blood-purifying, they also provide protein and nutrients to nourish the body. Cumin and bay leaf reduce water retention. Coriander promotes liver function and bowel movements, balances blood sugar, is anti-inflammatory and is great for the lungs. The amazing health benefits of turmeric include its ability to reduce inflammation, heal wounds, improve skin health, protect cognitive abilities, and ease menstrual difficulties. Turmeric also helps eliminate depression, alleviate pain, slow the aging process, protect the digestive tract, and prevent cancer. Mustard seeds fight inflammation and cancer. Fennel is great for bone and skin health as well as digestion. Kombu is great for digestion, immune health, supports metabolism, a great source of iron, and is excellent for bone and teeth health. The rice is easily digested, the warming sites kindle the Agni so that we can become digestive superstars!
In conclusion, balanced agni is what gives us vigour and optimal health and well-being. Our bodies are incredible and intelligent, and incorporating kitchari into our diet gives the body a chance to reach homeostasis and beyond. Such a simple dish can initiate drastic improvements in the quality of digestion, assimilation, elimination. It can also shine light about your cravings, energy levels, and overall joy for life!
If you want more info on the next Ayurvedic Kitchari Cleanse Im leading, click here.
“The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.” ~Thomas Edison