Cleansing is a practice steeped in deep tradition. There are many modern dietary approaches for detox, however, detox diets are often nutritionally deficient or may be counterproductive to maintaining balance. It takes more than just juice to metabolically fuel hikes in the woods, take float trips on the Missouri, and participate in daily yoga sessions!
Kitchari is a traditional porridge from India that is made with mung beans or dal, basmati rice, fresh vegetables, and seasonings. It is traditionally served as an infant’s first solid food as well as an agni promoting staple within the five treatments of panchakarma that are within the wider practice of ayurveda. It is generally considered to be supportive of the three dosha and can be easily adjusted with other seasonings and ingredients to help balance one’s vata, pitta, or kapha needs.
Nutritionally kitchari packs a real punch with a complete protein found in the amino acids contained between the rice and the mung beans. It also has plenty of fiber, vitamins, and minerals from the fresh vegetables . The turmeric used to season kichari has anti-inflamatory and antioxidant properties. The cumin has been shown to have antibacterial properties and to help balance cholesterol levels, while the coriander, in addition to containing vitamin K, and antioxidants, is also known to help control blood sugar levels. Finally, the gingerol found in ginger has proven anti-nausea and digestive benefits. The ancients really knew their stuff!
This quick kitchari recipe is easy to make and can be adjusted with other ingredients for the six rasas.
— Garnish with a bit of shredded coconut for sweet.
— A squeeze of lime juice for sour.
— Green apple for astringent.
— For pungent, vary the spice level by adding more or less seasonings, or add a bit of fire with some chili.
— Use some arugula or dandelion leaves in your fresh vegetables for bitter.
Makes 4 – 6 servings
— 1 tablespoon ghee, coconut, peanut, or sesame oil
— 1 1/2 cups fresh vegetables (I used peas, carrots, celery, and parsnip this time around. Empty out the fridge!)
— 1 cup mung bean or dal (If you use whole bean soak it for a few hours before you rinse them to get rid of the green skin.)
— 1/2 cup Basmati rice (I like the brown basmati. Quinoa is also a great substitution!)
— 1 teaspoon ground mustard
— 1 teaspoon fresh ground cumin
— 1 teaspoon turmeric
— 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
— 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
— 5 cups water
— Rinse the rice and mung beans separately until the water runs clear.
— Heat oil in a medium sauce pan and add all of the seasonings except for the salt. Toast the seasoning until you smell their aromatics, about 1 minute or less. Add the ginger.
— Add any root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, or parsnips and sauté for a minute or two until they start to soften. Add leafy vegetables, rice, mung, a pinch of salt and the water.
— Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until it reaches a porridge like consistency, about 30 to 40 minutes.
— Adjust with more salt if necessary and garnish with a bit of chopped cilantro and green peas.