Kitchari: Meals as Medicine from Ayurveda
My love for Kitchari began this summer when I was interning at Herb Pharm. My dear friend Cyd who studied Ayurveda in New Mexico showed us how to make this simple and nourishing dish. Ever since then, its been a staple in my kitchen. Its what I grab when I want something warm, comforting and satiating which makes it perfect for this winter season.
Traditionally, kitchari is used in Ayurvedic medicine during a treatment called Panchakarma which a rejuvenating and cleansing program for the mind, body, and consciousness. It is given to patients throughout this week long program because it is high in protein, vitamins, complex carbohydrates and is easily digested. During times of healing, it is important that the body focuses on coming back into balance rather than digesting a dense heavy meal. Basically, its India’s idea of chicken soup.
The herbs used in kitchari also play important roles in the health of the body. Here are a few of them and their benefits:
TURMERIC - *Natural antibiotic that strengthens digestion and helps improve intestinal flora *Warms, purifies the blood and stimulates the formation of new blood tissues*Promotes proper metabolism, correcting both excesses and deficiencies *Energetically, it is effective for clearing the chakras, purifying the channels of the subtle body
FENNEL SEEDS - *One of the best herbs for digestion *Excellent herb for digestive weakness in children or in the elderly *Calming to the nerves, their aroma acts upon the mind and promotes mental alertness
CORIANDER - *Increases digestion and absorption *Used with cumin and fennel to promote the assimilation of other herbs
We like kitchari so much, we decided to make our very on blend. They will be for sale at our tent, along with other Kosmic herbal goodness, for Grandma Party on December 16th!
1 cup basmati rice, soaked and rinsed
2 cups mung beans, soaked and rinsed
2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp turmeric
6 cups of water
pinch of salt
In a large pot, saute seeds in coconut oil on medium heat until they begin to pop. Add the other spices along with the rice and mung beans, until coated. Next, pour in the water and sprinkle in the salt. Bring pot to a simmer and cover to cook for about 20-30 minutes depending on your stove top.
I really enjoy this dish with a tablespoon of coconut oil drizzled on top, a few torn cilantro leaves & an extra sprinkle of salt.
* Adapted from the book The Yoga of Herbs by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad