“When the diet is right, there is no need for medicine. When the diet is wrong, there is no use for medicine.”
This common phrase in Ayurveda expresses the importance of a balanced diet and meal plan. Yesterday we published the Ayurveda quiz to help you identify your dosha. Today, as part of the new weekly recipe feature, we bring you a fantastic recipe for Kitchari. This staple Indian comfort food is known for its health benefits and for being a breeze to whip up.
In Ayurveda, basmati rice and mung dal are the two main ingredients traditionally used to make kitchari during a period of cleansing. The combination of these two whole foods creates a complete protein that simultaneously nourishes and detoxifies the body. Both basmati rice and mung dal are considered tridoshic foods, meaning that anyone can benefit from eating them in the proper amounts, so incorporate them into your regular meal plan.
- 2 cups mung dal beans
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons each black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric powder, and black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional in winter)
- 3 green cardamom pods
- 2 cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- Carefully pick over rice and dal to remove any stones. Wash each separately in at least 2 changes of water.
- Add the 6 cups of water to the rice and dal and cook covered until it becomes soft, about 20 minutes.
- While that is cooking, prepare any vegetables that suit your constitution. Cut them into smallish pieces.
- Add the vegetables to the cooked rice and dal mixture and cook 10 minutes longer.
- In a separate saucepan, sauté the seeds in ghee until they pop. Then add the other spices. Stir together to release the flavors.
- Stir the sautéed spices into the cooked dal, rice, and vegetable mixture.
- Add the mineral salt and top with chopped fresh cilantro and serve.
Now that you have an idea of which foods are best for your dosha, make the necessary substitutions in your meal plan to find your balance. Kaphas do well with more beans and spices and less rice. Pittas do well with equal parts beans and rice, lots of cilantro, and some appropriate spices. Vatas do well with more rice and spices and fewer beans. For Vata or Kapha conditions: add a pinch of ginger powder. For Pitta: leave out the mustard seeds. Vegetables such as zucchini, asparagus, and sweet potato are also a great addition.