Ayurvedic Recipe - Kitchari

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What is Kitchari?

Kitchari is an Ayurvedic stew comprised of basmati rice and split mung dal. It is a staple of the Ayurvedic diet and is eaten during a mono-diet fast. Mono-diet fasts are a type of Ayurvedic fast where kitchari is the only thing consumed besides water and herbal tea. Fasting can help ignite the digestive fire or agni. It can also help to rid the body/mind of toxins or ama. Fasting is contraindicated for anyone who is sick, pregnant, menstruating or bleeding and fasting should be avoided by children and the elderly. Kitchari is also the main meal in panchakarma or the Ayurvedic cleansing therapy because it is easy to digest and helps to reset the digestive fire.

The main staples of kitchari, basmati rice and split mung dal, are both sattvic or balancing foods as well as being tridoshic or balancing for all dosha. They have a sweet rasa or taste, a cooling virya or energetics, and a sweet vipaka or post-digestive effect. When they are combined together, they create a complete meal and a complete protein. Kitchari also includes ghee or oil, a digestive spice blend and vegetables.

Kitchari Spice Blend

1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)

Kitchari Recipe

Ingredients:
1/3 cup split mung dal
2/3 cup basmatic rice
1-3 tablespoons ghee
3 teaspoons kitchari spice mix
1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
5 cups filtered water
Assorted Vegetables (peas, carrots, spinach, greens, corn, etc.)

Directions:
1. Soak mung dal in filtered water for 30 minutes to soften and make it more easily digestible.* Wash rice and dal in a strainer until water runs clear.**

2. Heat ghee in medium saucepan until melted. Add kitchari spice mix to ghee and saute. for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Then add the rice and mung dal and stir to coat in ghee and spice mixture for 1-2 minutes.

3. Add water and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and lightly simmer for 20-30 minutes. At this stage, add any vegetables that will take longer to cook. Add your leafy greens during the final 5 minutes of cooking time. To make a more soupy consistency, add boiling water and whisk before serving to breakdown the mung dal even further. Serve with a teaspoon of ghee melted stirred in each bowl.

*If you want to cook your kitchari in a rice cooker, you must soak the mung dal beforehand. If you have an electric pressure cooker, you don't necessarily need to soak the mung dal beforehand, but soaking the dal does improve its digestibility.

**When cooking kitchari in a rice cooker or electric pressure cooker, you follow step one, then add remaining ingredients and cook according to manual.


Ayurvedic Recipe - Garam Masala Spice Blend

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What is Masala?

Masalas are spice mixtures or spice blends used in Ayurvedic cooking. The spice cabinet is often called the home pharmacy in many Ayurvedic households. Spices add flavor to food and they make great substitutes for salt and fats in cooking. Spices also have many healing benefits to both body and mind. Masalas are often made with the seasons and feature spices that are balancing to the dosha, energetics, and tastes associated with that season.

Fall Masalas are vata-pacifying, heating, and feature the tastes of sweet, sour and salty.
Winter Masalas are kapha-pacifying, heating, and feature the tastes of pungent, bitter and astringent.
Early-Spring Masalas are kapha-pacifying, heating and feature the tastes of pungent, bitter and astringent.
Late-Spring Masalas are pitta-pacifying, cooling and feature the tastes of sweet, bitter and astringent.
Summer Masalas are pitta-pacifying, cooling and feature the tastes of sweet, bitter and astringent.

Spice-grinding is a beautiful and mindful way to prepare healthy, nourishing food. The act of hand-grinding spices connect us with the earth and acts as a meditation-in-motion. The mortar and pestle is the most common spice grinding tool, but many Ayurvedic kitchens also employ the sil batta, with is a “sil” or a base made of flat stone and a “batta” is a stone hand roller used to grind spices.

Garam Masala is one of the most recognizable spice blends from India and it comes from the northern region of India. It is regularly used in Indian cooking much in the same way salt and pepper is used in America. Garam Masala is generally used at the end of the cooking process since the spices are already ground. When cooking with spices, whole seeds are used at the beginning of the cooking process to infuse flavor into fats and to impart their flavor to the vegetables, soups, stews, curries and meats. Ground spices are often sprinkled on top of cooked food just before serving or added in the final moments of the cooking process.

This Garam Masala spice blend features 4 of the 6 tastes of sweet, pungent, bitter and astringent. In general, most spices are considered pungent. Pungent is a taste that can be aggravating to vata and pitta dosha, but when used in spice blends, the amount is small enough not to create imbalances in vata and pitta. Pungent spices also help to stoke agni or the digestive fire, which is beneficial for all the dosha. The Garam Masala is a good year-round spice blend that is tridoshic, meaning balancing for all dosha.

  • Sweet: cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg

  • Pungent: black peppercorns, cardamom, cayenne, cinnamon, clove, cumin, nutmeg, star anise

  • Bitter: cumin

  • Astringent: coriander, nutmeg

Garam Masala Spice Blend

1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons cardamom seeds
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 tsp ground cayenne (optional)
1-2 star anise pods (optional)

Directions:
1. Toast (coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cardamom seeds, cloves and black peppercorns) separately in a dry pan over medium to medium-low heat until fragrant.

2. Grind each toasted spice separately in a mortar and pestle or sil batta.

3. Add each spice together in a bowl and mix to combine.

Doshic Considerations

This Garam Masala recipe can be tailored to any dosha by following the recommendations listed below.

  • Vata should use half the amount of cayenne or eliminate all together.

  • Pitta should eliminate the cayenne, half the amount of cloves and nutmeg, and consider using only half the amount of star anise or eliminate all together.

  • Kapha can add additional cayenne if desired.

When you create a masala you are building the cosmic pillars for primal nourishment through food, breath and sound. You are honing the vibration of the mind and resuscitating the spirit, bringing them into a state of heightened awareness. The nose becomes a direct route to consciousness; the eyes, the gateway to light; the ears, a pathway to peace. The tongue receives the blessings of flavors, and the sense of touch leads the way to reforming your experience.
— Maya Tiwari in "Living Ahimsa Diet"

Ayurvedic Recipe - Lebanese Rice Pilaf

Lebanese Rice Pilaf Recipe

Ingredients:
1½ cups basmati rice
½ cup vermicelli noodles, broken
3-3¼ cups water
⅛ cup slivered almonds, toasted & skins removed
1-3 tbsp ghee
⅛ tsp cinnamon
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp pink Himalayan salt

Directions:
1. Toast nuts in oven for 5-7 minutes at 350º or until lightly browned. You can also toast in a dry pan over medium heat, shaking pan often to evenly brown.

2. Place 2-3 tbsp ghee into pot over medium heat and melt. Add broken vermicelli and stir to coat. Watch carefully over the next few minutes as the noodles brown, you don’t want them to burn. Takes about 3-4 minutes.

3. Add the rice and stir to coat. Add water, cinnamon stick and salt, and turn burner to high and bring to boil.

4. Cover and turn heat to low and cook for 20 minutes. Garnish with cinnamon and toasted almonds.

Doshic Considerations

This Lebanese Rice Pilaf recipe can be tailored to any dosha by following the recommendations listed below.

  • Vata should use 3 tbsp of ghee.

  • Pitta should use 2 tbsp of ghee and only ½ tsp of salt.

  • Kapha should only eat occasionally. Use 1 tbsp of ghee; ¼ tsp of salt; add an additional cinnamon stick during the cooking process; and garnish with more cinnamon.


Ayurvedic Recipe - Saffron Rice

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Saffron Rice Recipe

Ingredients:
Pinch of Saffron
1 tbsp filtered water
1 ½ cups basmati rice
3 cups filtered water
1-3 tbsp ghee
7 green cardamom pods
7 whole cloves
3 bay leaves
1-2 cinnamon sticks
½ tsp salt

Directions:
1. Soak saffron in 1 tbsp filtered water for 10-15 minutes, until the water turns a reddish orange color.

2. Add ghee to a pot and turn on burner to medium heat. When the ghee is heated, add the cardamom pods, cloves, bay leaves and cinnamon to the pot, stir and cook until fragrant about 1-2 minutes.

3. Add the rice and stir until coated.

4. Add the 3 cups water, the saffron water and salt to the pot and turn heat up to high. Bring water to boil and then cover, turn heat to low and cook for 20 minutes.

Doshic Considerations

This Saffron Rice recipe can be tailored to any dosha by following the recommendations listed below.

  • Vata should use 3 tbsp of ghee.

  • Pitta should use 2 tbsp of ghee and only ¼ tsp of salt.

  • Kapha should only eat occasionally. Use 1 tbsp of ghee; ¼ tsp of salt or less; add an additional cinnamon stick during the cooking process.


Ayurvedic Recipe - Jamaican Rice & Peas

Jamaican Rice & Peas Recipe

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups basmati rice
1 ¼ cups water
1 - 15 oz can organic, unsweetened coconut milk
1 - 15 oz can organic, unsalted kidney beans (drained) or 1/3 cup dried (soaked overnight and cooked on the stovetop or pressure cooker according to factory directions)
1 tbsp virgin coconut oil, olive oil or ghee
½ tsp fresh grated ginger
1 small sweet onion, diced
½ dried thyme leaves
1 tsp salt

Directions:
1. Add coconut oil to a pan and turn burner to medium heat. Once coconut oil is melted add the diced onion and sauté for 7-8 minutes until slightly browned.

2. If using, add the fresh grated ginger and cook another 1-2 minutes.

3. Add the rice and stir to coat in the coconut oil.

4. Add the water, coconut milk and kidney beans and turn heat to high until the water boils.

5. Cover and turn heat to low and cook for 20 minutes.

Doshic Considerations

This Jamaican Rice & Peas recipe can be tailored to any dosha by following the recommendations listed below.

  • Vata should use olive oil or ghee; and replace the kidney beans with cooked mung beans.

  • Pitta should use coconut oil; and only ½ tsp of salt.

  • Kapha should use ghee; ¼ tsp of salt or less; and use only half of a can of coconut milk or eliminate the coconut milk all together.