Kichari: Healing Stew

Not all physical ailments are cured with a juice fast.  In fact, if we don't understand our constitution and what is causing our internal challenges, a juice fast or fast of any sort may cause more harm than good.  

Kitchari is the "go to" for cleansing for anyone who seeks more balance and conscious connection in life.

It both provides a complete and simple nourishment for the body, and aids in healing digestion, with its epic spice combinations.  

Kitchari an ideal food of choice during times of stress on the body, such as during an illness, periods of heavy workload, when you are fighting off a cold, or when the seasons are changing. It is also an especially good food to use while on a mono-diet as part of an internal cleansing regime.

There are several variations to a basic kitchari recipe and the one below is basic, easy to start with, and balancing to all three doshas (vata, pitta and kapha). You will find that the ingredients are readily available at most health food stores.  Enjoy the journey!  And be flexible and light with your measurements, as this gem is very forgiving!

2-3 TBS ghee (clarified butter)
½ tsp black mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 clove garlic
½ cup green mung beans - whole or split.
1 tsp rock salt (Himalyan is best.. it is the pink salt)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 cup white basmati rice, rinsed well and drained.
6 cups warm water
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
4-5 thin slices of fresh ginger root

In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the ghee on medium heat. Ghee burns easily, so be careful. Sauté the mustard seeds and cumin seeds in the ghee until the seeds pop. Then add the drained mung dal, garlic, turmeric and salt. Stir until the mix almost starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. Then add the rice, water, cumin powder, coriander powder and ginger. Stir well, making sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pressure cooker or pot.

Cover and bring it to a boil on high heat. Then turn the heat down and let it simmer until both the rice and mung beans are cooked through, about 20-30 minutes.  

You may have to experiment with how much water you use to find a consistency that you like. (The more water, the thinner the consistency). A thinner consistency is preferable if your digestion is weak. You will notice that kitcheri will thicken when it cools and you may need more water than you originally thought.

In order to provide the best quality of energy to your body, Kitcheri should be made the day that you wish to eat it and served hot.

Fresh cilantro (great for pitta - ok for vata and kapha)
Coconut (great for pitta, good for vata, but not so good for kapha)
Lime (ok for everybody; unless pitta is very out of balance)

Enjoy the benefits of this cleanse, as a single meal, a whole day, or up to seven days to bring grounding and rejuvenation to your whole system.