Oh, kitchari, what a beautiful discovery! I’ve been enjoying a warm bowl of kitchari for breakfast or lunch over most days over the past few weeks, & it is becoming one of my favorite “comfort foods.” For those of you who are unfamiliar, “kitchari” is a dish of split mung beans & rice cooked long & slow with spices, ghee & seasonal vegetables. It is an Ayurvedic staple ~ balancing, tonifying & cleansing, & was one of the main meals in my recent "Winter Ayurvedic Cleanse." For this week’s "Wellness Wednesday" post, I am inviting Laura Plumb, my Ayurvedic guru, the wise woman who guided our cleanse, & the author of the beautiful blog, Food: A Love Story.
Today, I am sharing an excerpt from one of Laura’s blog posts dedicated to the art & heart of healing kitchari. Laura also graciously allowed me to share the “basic winter kitchari” recipe that we enjoyed on our cleanse, which I adapted with seasonal vegetables I had in my kitchen. I hope you cook it, savor it & love it as much as we do.
An Introduction from Laura Plumb of Food: A Love Story ~
Kichari, sometimes spelled Kichidi, or Kitchari, is the most healing of foods, not to mention whole-body delicious. It is warm, rich, hearty & grounding: delightfully balancing in Fall/Winter.
I simply cannot say enough about it: Kichari is cleansing. Kichari is tonifying. Kichari is nurturing. Kichari is gentle to sensitive tummies. Kichari is loving, warm assurance on cold, rainy days. Kichari is a family favorite. Kichari is so important to Ayurveda that it is featured all over & might even be called the star of Food: A Love Story.
We often think of foods that tonify, or strengthen, & foods that cleanse & detoxify as utterly distinct. The beauty of Kichari is that it does both. It fortifies & purifies, explaining its reputation as one of the world’s original “Smart Foods.”
Kichari is served to the sick, elderly, overweight, undernourished. It provides most of our daily nutritional needs, is easy to digest, & kindles the digestive fires, making it ideal, too, for post-operative recovery, as it won’t divert energy from the healing. Kichari is such a complete meal that it is often eaten exclusively as a fast as it so efficiently supports detoxification.
Despite its medicinal power, Kichari is great comfort food ~ & surprisingly delicious. It is, in fact, full body delicious: home-cooked kichari awakens cellular intelligence to the point you can almost hear your body hum. Mmmmm. Yummmm. Ommmm. Yeeeesssss.
There are a number of recipes for kichari on Food: A Love Story. You will find two on the Basics page, another one here & here a great video demonstration, by the totally adorable Kate Schwabacher making kichari in her kitchen.
In Ayurveda there is a saying, “Food is sensory. Digestion is Divine.” Both a sumptuous symphony of sensory delights & divinely digestible, this healing dish is a sacred blessing.
"Vegenista’s Winter Kitchari"
***adapted from The VedaWise Winter Cleanse
- 1 cup brown basmati riace
- 1/2 cup split mung beans (or lentils, or split peas)
- 2 Tbsp. ghee (or coconut oil for a vegan version)
- 1 tsp. mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. garam masala
- 4 cups boiling water
- 1 Tbsp. shredded coconut
- 1 tsp. sesame seeds
- 1/2 cone cabbage, shredded
- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 small head of purple cauliflower, chopped into bite size pieces, & roasted
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled, chopped & roasted
- 1 tsp. Himalayan pink salt
- 1 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
***look for split mung beans in the bulk section of your local health food store or ethnic market. If you cannot find locally, you can purchase online through Banyan Botanicals.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss cauliflower & sweet potato with coconut oil until well coated, then place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Season with Himalayan pink salt. Roast for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown.
- While vegetables are roasting, rinse rice & mung beans in water & drain.
- in a large pot or dutch oven melt the ghee over medium-high heat. Add spices & saute for 1 minute.
- Stir in rice & mung & coat thoroughly in the spicy oil.
- Add water, sesame seeds, coconut, & shredded cabbage. Cook on medium heat until rice is tender, approximately 40 minutes.
- Stir in roasted vegetables & salt, & cook for a few minutes over low heat.
- Garnish with golden raisins, flaked coconut, & cilantro.Serve warm.
One of the things I’ve really been enjoying about kichari is that it is very adaptable & versatile. You can basically add what ever seasonal vegetables that you desire to the basic mixture of mung beans, rice & spices. It can be eaten alone as a complete meal for breakfast or lunch, or both, or as a side dish alongside a salad & steamed seasonal vegetables. I even put a large scoop of kitchari baked carnival squash halves! Yum!
Are you tired of hearing about Ayurveda? Hope not, as I am not tired of writing about it! In fact, I’ve dedicated a tab on the sidebar for this ancient healing science, so you can expect that it is going to be a pretty regular topic around here.
So, go pour yourself a mug of ginger tea, give yourself a little love, & make some nourishing kichari. You’re going to fall head over heels.
Good Morning! I am excited to announce that I am now a "Brand Ambassador" for Vegan Cuts & Pure Citizen. I’ve applied to a few other programs, for which I am awaiting approval, & I’ve also opened an "Amazon Associates" Store. That means that if you click on the sidebar banners, or some links within posts, I will receive a very small portion of any purchase you end up making. If you like my site & want to support my work, then this is a win for both of us!
I’ve been blogging for almost 5 years, & up until recently I had a pretty strong aversion to placing ads or affiliate marketing banners on my site. But with my intention to put extra time love, care, & energy into my blog & personal brand this year, I decided it was time to see if I could generate a little bit of income to reward my efforts. I have 2, sometimes 3 jobs outside of this blog, so blogging for me is a passion, but I would love to develop it into a business someday.
Providing affiliate links & advertising is the first step. One thing I must note is that I will not post anything that I haven’t or wouldn’t purchase myself. I’ve chosen my affiliate partnerships with great thought & care. I’ve been approached numerous times by advertisers that I have turned down, as their products/services were not aligned with my values. And I will always disclose when affiliate links are about to appear in a post.
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Now that’s out of the way! Have a wonderful Tuesday.
During my "Winter Ayurvedic Cleanse" with VedaWise, a light vegetable soup was on the daily dinner menu. For most of the week I ate this soup, but towards the end of the week, & as our "re-integration phrase" neared, I began to crave a soup that was a bit richer in texture & taste. Inspired by what was fresh in my CSA delivery, & by the "6 Tastes of Ayurveda" this velvety, sweet, & satisfying soup emerged…
Ayurveda describes six tastes by which all foods can be generally categorized, & each taste has its own therapeutic effects & changing impacts on your body. The six tastes or “Rasas” that are distinguished in the Ayurvedic diet are: Sweet, Salty, Sour, Pungent, Astringent & Bitter. Every substance is made up of some combination of the five elements: earth, water, fire, air, & ether. According to Ayurveda, a balanced meal contains all six tastes in order to completely nourish and satisfy the body. Apart from feeling satisﬁed this practice also ensures that all major food groups & nutrients are present.
The first three tastes ~ sweet, sour, & salty, increase kapha & decrease vata, while the last three tastes ~ bitter, pungent, & astringent, have the opposite effect. As we are in the winter “Vata” season, which is characterized by water & air: cold, dry, light, clear, & moving, we need find ways to stay warm, grounded, & vibrant while the element of fire is taking its long winter’s nap. No matter what your individual constitution, all body types are vulnerable to Vata imbalances during autumn & winter, but if you are primarily Vata like me, we need to be even more vigilant! Some of the ways we can stay warm & winter is to eat more of the sweet, sour, & salty tastes and less of the bitter, astringent, & pungent ones.
So let’s talk soup! The main “sweet” components of this soup ~ carrots, beets, sweet potatoes & ghee just so happen to be a few excellent Vata-pacifying foods as they are heavy & moist. The “sour” components, which are warming to the body, comes from a bit of citrus & apple cider vinegar in the soup, & the yogurt drizzle garnish. Another warming element, “salty” is incorporated by a healthy shake of Himalayan pink salt. Dill is also said to balance the Vata dosha, & is wonderful for digestion. The flavors of carrots & dill also marry together beautifully.
Curry powder is also an easy way to incorporate the six tastes into every meal. It is also packed with spices that fight disease & serve as antioxidants. I am a big fan of the “Madras” blend of curry powder, which contains a blend of 14 herbs & spices, including coriander & turmeric. It is spicy, piquant & peppery, & adds another warming element to this soup.
"Curried Golden Beet & Carrot Soup"
(Adapted from Happy to Be a Table of Two)
Serves 4 to 6
- 2 medium golden beets, peeled & cut into 1-inch chunks
- 4 cups carrots, peeled & cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 Tbsp. ghee, or coconut oil
- 2 Tbsp. Madras Curry Powder
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled & grated
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 Tbsp. orange zest
- 4 cups organic low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 baked sweet potato (optional)
- Himalayan Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Add the ghee (or coconut oil) to a large pot over medium heat, melt, then add the curry spices & give it a swirl. Cook for one minute.
- Add onions & cook until soft & translucent. Add carrots & cook for about 8 minutes, stirring often.
- Add beets, ginger, garlic, & orange zest & stir well. Add a splash of water or apple cider vinegar to “deglaze” the pan, if necessary.
- Add vegetable broth & orange juice & stir well. Season with salt & pepper.
- Turn heat to high, & bring to a boil. Then lower heat to medium-low. Cover & let simmer for about 40 minutes. When everything is fork tender, puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Season with salt & pepper. Serve with yogurt drizzle.
***If you desire a more “velvety” texture to your soup, add the flesh of one baked sweet potato to the pot just before blending.
"Yogurt Drizzle with Lemon & Dill"
- 1 cup greek style coconut yogurt
- 2 tsp. unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
- Splash of lemon juice
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- Whisk together yogurt, coconut milk, fresh dill, lemon juice & lemon zest. Swirl a large dollop into individual servings of soup.
This is such a wonderful soup! All of the sweet & warming flavors provide comfort on a cold winter’s night. I’ve really been inspired by Ayurvedic cooking & have been having so much fun in the kitchen again. I had a dry spell for a while there! I enjoyed this soup as part of my “cleanse” but you can enjoy it anytime. I served this to my Mom along side a beautiful wintery kale salad & she was in heaven.