Yoga on the Inside
Kitchari is without doubt my go to spiritual comfort food. When I want to fee connected with my beloved ashram time, when I want to feel hugged on the inside when I want to have a digestive break, I run to the soup pot and make kitchari. It is my equivalent of matzo or chicken soup and I want it to be yours. But don’t take my stomach’s word for it or mine. According to the science of Ayurveda - the ancient wisdom of India dating back 5,000 years, Kitchari is the most complete form of food. It combines protein (mung dhal) and carbohydrates (rice) into a single dish and in doing so creates a complete protein.
Kitchari isn’t just tasty, it cleanses,heals digestive distress, balances the metabolism, is a potent blood and liver cleanser, assists in healthy weight loss, helps the body’s tissues to detox what they don’t need and absorb the nutrients they do, and as a meal with benefits, it also can be made with the entire contents of your vege drawer. The baseline of kitchari is rice and mung dahl, plus the spices, after that, you can fully freeform. I always include potatoes and cauliflower, usually have carrots, broccoli stalks and some greens like shredded spinach or kale at the end. Make a BIG pot. Eat it for days as a mono food if you want a little cleanse for your system, or freeze it for the next time you need some yoga in your tummy!
1 tsp brown mustard seed
1 tsp ground cumin seed
2 tblsp grated ginger
1 tsp turmeric powder
1tblsp asefotida (also known as hing)
2 tblsp coconut oil or nuttlex
6 – 10 cups water/vege stock
1/2 cup split mung dahl (soak overnight if you want to eat faster!)
1/4 cup basmati rice
1 tsp sea salt
1 small carrot grated or finely chopped
1 large potato diced small
½ cup broccoli stem (add florets at end chopped finely)
½ cup cauliflower pieces
1 bunch shredded kale
2 tblsp finely chopped fresh coriander (if it doesn’t make you want to kill yourself)
Wash rice, mung dahl and vegetables well. Heat coconut oil or nuttlex in a large heavy-based saucepan. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and fry till mustard seeds start to pop. Add 6 cups of water, ginger and turmeric and bring to a rapid boil. Add the mung dahl and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and skim off and foam that surfaces. When dahl starts to open, add the rice and salt and the vegetables (save soft greens till about 5 mins before serving so they keep their vibrancy).
Continue cooking, being careful to stir occasionally once kitchari starts to thicken, cook till a thick soupy consistency is reached, adding more water if necessary. Check for seasoning, stir in the fresh coriander just before serving and a lump of coconut yoghurt or vegan butter to melt on the top.
Serves 4 - 6 or one hungry yogi with a lot of leftovers.