In my last post I went through a little bit of what Ayurveda is and why it is important to me! Before continuing to read this blog, please go back and take a look at my post Ayurveda, if you haven’t already!
This post will be about an Ayurvedic dish called Kitchari, its benefits and a how-to-cook!
Kitchari is a dish made with basmati rice and split yellow mung dal beans used in Ayurveda to help cleanse the digestive system because Ayurveda holds the belief that over all physical & mental health starts with a healthy gut! The rice and beans together make a very easy to digest meal and the combined use of many spices gives it a flavour like most Indian food (aka delicious)! This dish can be used as simply a part of a balanced diet or you can use it to cleanse; eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner for 2-5 days. I figure that any cleanse where you’re actually allowed to eat something is pretty awesome and honestly a lot healthier than the ones where you pretty much starve yourself.
A couple reasons why eating Kitchari for breakfast, lunch & dinner is so great for our health:
- By eating a meal that is so simple and easy for the body to digest we give our organs a much needed break. I mean think about it! Our digestive systems works pretty damn hard digesting 3 different meals a day, plus snacks and whatever else. And everyday we eat something different than the day before! So by eating Kitchari for every meal even just for a few days, it is like sending out digestive system on vacation, & everyone likes vacation time!
- It is so so easy to make & lets be honest, sometimes we need a mental break from the kitchen as well.
- The split mung dal beans are high in protein and the combination of the bean and rice provides us with the 10 essential amino acids. And because we are receiving enough protein our blood sugar stays stable and therefore we can remain in a good mood!
- Because our bodies are not being strained by low blood sugar and its side effects, the body can focus on eliminating toxins and burning fat. Kitchari is also excellent for de-aging of our cells!
- When the body becomes stressed (for example from low blood sugar caused by strenuous cleansing) it will automatically start to store fat as a survival mechanism. And I am pretty sure that is the opposite of what most people want as they start to cleanse…fat storage. By making life easy on the body (by nourishing it with an easy to digest, well balanced meal) the body is instead able to burn fat! Now that’s better!
- Kitchari not only cleanses the digestive system but can also heal any damage we have caused to out intestines from lack of a proper diet and stress.
- It is said that when the metabolism is working to its best and the intestines are healthy it becomes easier to reach a state of deep peace. Therefor Kitchari is also great for spirituality.
And if that wasn’t enough to convince you…Kitchari is a one pot, no mess kind of meal! This is the recipe from my second pot and it was damn good! I added a few things and took some things out. Honestly you can customize this dish pretty much to your liking!
- 1.5 cups split yellow mung dal beans (washed). You can find these in your local Indian or Asian grocery store.
- 1-cup white basmati rice
- 1-tablespoon coconut butter (or Ghee, but I couldn’t find that)
- 1-teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 1-teaspoon fennel seeds (which I omitted because I do not like fennel)
- 2 teaspoons coriander powder
- 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 teaspoons chia seeds
- 3 teaspoons turmeric powder
- 3 teaspoons cumin powder
- 4 green cardamom pods
- 2 bay leaves
- Half of a sweet potato cubed
- 1 carrot cubed
- 1 zucchini cubed (it is possible to add any seasonal vegetable that strikes your fancy! But I really enjoyed the zucchini)
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 4 cups water
- Salt to taste
- Cilantro garnish
- Avocado garnish (optional)
Melt coconut oil is large pot.
Add mustard seeds and chia seeds and brown until they pop.
Add in all other spices. Stir to combine and let cook for a few minutes on low heat.
Add in vegetables (here carrot and sweet potato) cook for 2 minutes.
Add 4 cups of water, 2 cups of coconut milk, cardamom pods and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.
Once boiling add in rice and beans and reduce heat to low.
Let cook 10 to 15 minutes or until rice and beans become soft but there is still juice left in the pot.
Combine in zucchini (or any other veggie that doesn’t take long to cook)
Turn off burner, add salt to taste, place lid on pot and wait patiently for about 5 more minutes or until most of the water and coconut milk as cooked into the mixture.
You do not want to over cook this. I did on my first try and although it still tasted delicious it was a little too mushy for my liking.
Garnish with cilantro and enjoy an extremely health, comforting, cleansing, nourishing and detoxifying meal! (Or a few of them if you decide to cleanse 😉 )
Hope you enjoyed the read and will give Kitchari a shot!