Kitchari, also spelt kitcharee and kichadi, is a delicious and nutritious Ayurvedic recipe, used in cleansing and detoxifying the body. It is a perfect meal to help reset your digestive system, and nourish your bodily tissues. There are many variations of kitchari, however, the recipe always calls for moong dahl and basamati rice, plus various spices, and seasonal vegetables. This particular recipe is intended to be eaten in the Autumn season – the selected spices help to reduce excess pitta from Summer, yet also ensure the digestive fire (agni) maintains it’s strength.
SERVES 6 approx (perfect for a light cleanse, eating 3 kitchari meals a day)
- Ghee – 2 tbsp
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 Small onion (chopped finely)
- 2 garlic cloves (chopped finely)
- 1 tsp finely chopped ginger
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground fennel seeds
- 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
- 1 tsp salt
- Yellow split moong dal – 1 cup (Rinsed & soaked)
- Basmati rice – 1 cup (Rinsed & Soaked)
- 4 – 6 cups of water
- Fresh coriander (a handful, lightly chopped) & lemon juice – for garnish
- **Seasonal Vegetables (optional): Chopped pumpkin, carrot, green beans, sweet potato, etc
- Wash & then soak dahl & rice for 2 – 8 hours. Drain ready for use.
- Heat ghee on medium heat, using a heavy-bottomed pot.
- Sauté the cumin seeds in the ghee until the seeds pop.
- Add garlic, ginger, & onions. Cook until lightly golden.
- Add seasoning & salt & cook for 1 minute
- Add dahl & rice. Mix well.
- Add water & cover. Bring your kitchari to a boil on high heat. Then immediately turn the heat down and let it simmer, until both the rice and dahl are mushy. **If using them, add seasonal vegetables when turning heat down to simmer.
- Garnish with fresh coriander & freshly squeezed lemon juice
Serves 3 approximately
This recipe is an incredible breakfast option for vegetarians, vegans, and those who need to eat gluten free. The taste is both sweet and savoury, and can be served with a delicious chutney of your choice. The recipe is slightly adapted from my mentor, Dr Ajit, as he has offered it as a part of my certification training in Ayurveda.
- 1 slightly heaped cup of Besan Flour (just over 250 ml)
- 1 red or brown onion, chopped finely
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp of Ajwain Seeds (You can get these from an Indian grocer)
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp ground Turmeric
- 1 small green chilli (omit in Summer, and for Pitta constitutions)
- 1 1/2 cups of water
- Ghee (or rice bran oil) for cooking
- Fresh Coriander (for garnish)
- Chutney of choice, to serve with pancakes
- In a large bowl, mix besan flour, onion, salt, ajwain, turmeric, and cumin seeds.
- Add water slowly, & mix well to make a batter, ensuring no lumps of flour remain.
- Heat tawa or non stick pan to medium heat, and drizzle on 1 teaspoon of ghee (or oil).
- Spoon 2-3 tbsp of batter onto pan and spread to make a pancake.
- Lightly cook for about 30 seconds or so.
- Flip over and cook on other side for 1⁄2 – 1 minute.
- Option to spoon a tiny little more oil or ghee on the sides of the pancake to make it crisp.
- Flip it one more time and cook for a few more seconds, either side.
- Serve hot with chutney and freshly chopped coriander (cilantro).
This recipe is great for a sluggish lymphatic system/water retention, diabetic cases, asthma, and bronchitis conditions. It is also wonderful for vegans and vegetarians, especially when they are not eating enough protein. Good for Kapha & Pitta constitutions and Kapha aggravations, these protein pancakes are best eaten in Winter and Spring.
***Delicious to consume with a cup of home made Ayurvedic Chai on the side! xx
The incidence of sleeping difficulties is on the rise. With the very ‘vata aggravating’ society we now live in, it is no wonder that we are not getting enough solid time on the pillow. As we fill our days, and feel the pressure to be and do more (aka ‘FOMO’ syndrome) it certainly is no surprise that sound sleep quality is diminishing for most of us.
The objective of Ayurveda is to increase ojas in the body, which provides us with clarity, energy, enthusiasm, and happiness. Deep sleep, to rest the mind and the senses, is one way to increase ojas. Lack of sleep, or disturbed sleeping habits, increase ama (toxins) in the body.
According to Ayurveda, there are three types of sleep imbalances. Each is associated to the three doshas, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. A Vata sleep disorder will show signs of restlessness, an over active mind, and sensitivity to noise. Other symptoms may be difficulty falling asleep, sleeping very lightly, and identification with the senses. A Pitta sleep disorder will occur when one can easily fall asleep, but awakes during the night and cannot go back to sleep for some time. They may also be disturbed by light. Finally, a Kapha sleep disorder will show up in one who sleeps very long and deep, yet has difficulty waking up and will do so with a feeling of dullness, achiness, or exhaustion.
Good quality sleep is one of the main pillars to optimum health. Sleep is when the body has time to repair and heal itself. It is also a time to rest and balance the quality of the mental and emotional body. When sleeping difficulties arise, we can become lost in a vicious cycle that spirals downhill, and which we struggle to get out of. Often we defer sleep, to prioritize other seemingly important tasks. As a consequence, we move through life performing at less than optimum levels, and yet we do not even realize it.
Although there are specific suggestions for each of the three conditions or doshas, there are a few simple Ayurvedic recommendations, which everyone can apply to their daily routine, to ensure a more restful and rewarding slumber:
- Go to bed no later than 10pm. The time between 10pm and 2am is governed by Pitta, so trying to get to sleep during this time will be most likely disturbed.
- Eat a light and warm dinner, no later than 7pm (and ideally at 6pm). We must give our digestion time to assimilate our final meal of the day. Once our digestive system has done its job, our body can then focus on healing and repairing whilst we’re sleeping.
- Avoid spicy foods for dinner, as these are aggravating for the Pitta and Vata doshas.
- Avoid caffeine after 2pm. Avoid alcohol dependence to relax (another vicious cycle).
- Wear cotton, or natural fibres, to bed. This includes your bedding also.
- Ensure your room is well ventilated and dark. Be sure to switch off all technology (properly shutting down your devices).
- Your bed is for sleeping only. Do not read, meditate, eat, or watch TV in bed. It must be a sweet sanctuary for rest.
- Massage your feet, just prior to bed, with warm sesame oil (not the cooking kind, but cold pressed sesame oil).
- Lunch should be your largest meal of the day. If you like to treat yourself with desserts, this is the best time. Not after dinner.
- Awake no later than 6am.
- Get regular exercise – preferably prior to 10am. If exercising in the evenings, try something relaxing like a long walk, or some restorative yoga.
- Create space in your day to write/journal, to walk in nature (barefoot if possible), to read, and to mindfully prepare nutritious and delicious food. Avoid using the TV or Internet as downtime, as it is generally a distraction for the mind, yet continues to exhaust the senses.
These simple suggestions can make a profound difference, not only in regards to quality of sleep, but also the overall quality of health. Ayurveda is a science that promotes prevention. Without a doubt, implementing these principles into one’s routine, even without any sleeping concerns, will result in an enhanced experience of living. Regularity is the key here. These guidelines will create tremendous improvement if followed through with full awareness and commitment. We must take the time to reduce the Vata stimulating and aggravating influences, which are overwhelming us within society. Reducing, simplifying, and refining will ultimately bring us more stillness, and a feel of equanimity.
Amy has been featured on the front cover of Om Yoga & Lifestyle Magazine, for their July/August 2013 issue.
The delicious, easy to make, vegan recipe will make your morning tea time a delight! Change up the spices if you wish, to suit your taste buds. Serve up with a little drizzle of maple syrup if you’re feeling decadent – or if dairy is not issue, a light spread of ghee will aid in the digestibility of this scrumptious snack. I will be honest, I am breaking the rules of Ayurveda with this recipe by using fresh bananas (In general, fruit should not be combined with other foods). However, an occasional treat will never harm us, especially if our digestive fire (agni) is in tip top shape. Enjoy! xx
- 2 large, ripe bananas
- 1 tspn vanilla essence
- 1/3 cup organic Macadamia Oil
- 2 cups organic flour (wholemeal, spelt, etc – you could try a mix)
- 1/4 cup organic coconut sugar
- 1 cup of crushed walnuts
- 1 1/2 tspn gluten free baking powder
- Juice of 2 medium lemons
- 1/4 cup water
- A pinch of pink himalayan salt
- 1/4 tspn of allspice
- 1/4 tspn of cinnamon
- 1/4 tspn of nutmeg
- Heat oven to 180C
- Grease a small loaf/bread/cake pan
- In a blender or processor, blend bananas, vanilla essence, lemon juice and macadamia oil
- In a separate bowl, sift flour, and add sugar, walnuts, baking powder and a pinch of salt (optional), and stir to mix
- Add banana mix to flour mix and add the 1/4 cup of water slowly. And be careful not to over stir.
- Pour the mix into the greased pan, and bake for 35 minutes
- Test by using a skewer, and allow to cool before slicing