It’s that time of year again, when I will be embarking on my bi-annual Ayurvedic Kitchari (a stew made from soaked mung beans, rice, spices and ghee or coconut oil) cleanse. There are so many cleanses our world, so why do I choose this one? Well, for one, it works! I end up slowing way down; I sleep, nourish my body and senses with daily mediation and abhayanga massage (self-oil massage) and most importantly, take the time to look inward. Eating this mono-diet of kitchari as well as giving up all caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods for the next 10 days also gives my digestion a must needed rest and I will come out feeling vibrant, juicy and ready to tackle all that Fall brings in with it’s cool crisp air, longer nights and shortened days. I encourage you to join me on this wonderful ten day pilgrimage of turning inward.
Here’s what you will need:
1/2 c. organic mung beans
1/2-1 c. organic basmati rice (for those who can tolerate quinoa, it can be substituted in place of rice).
2 tbsp. of ghee or coconut oil
1/2-1 tsp. mixture of the following: ground cumin seeds, ground coriander seeds, ground pippali pepper, turmeric, ground fennel seeds, mustard seeds (unless you’re high pitta).
pinch of ground saffron threads
pinch of asafetida
pinch of black pepper
pinch of pink of Himalayan Sea salt or a blend of sea salt with kelp
a couple of pieces of kombu seaweed or dulse
4-6 c. water
A handful of chopped cilantro
squeeze of 1/2 a lime (optional)
– Soak the mung beans and rice for at least 8 hours or up to 24 – changing the water 2-4 times.
– When ready to cook, rinse the beans and rice until the water runs clear, then drain water from the mixture.
– Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add 2 tbsp. of ghee or coconut oil.
– When oil is hot, add 1-2 tbsp of spice mixture and wait for the mustard seeds to pop, stirring with a wooden spoon. Once you see the popping begin to slow and sense a good smell arriving, add 1 tbsp. of grated ginger and stir another minute. Next, add rice and mung beans and coat with spice and ghee mixture for a minute or two.
– Add 4-6 cups of water, stir, and after it comes to a boil, turn it down to a simmer and cover for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
– Add the ground saffron threads and feel free to add a green leafy vegetable of choice (such as collard greens, kale, dandelion, chicory, radish tops–the list goes on) in the last couple of minutes before it’s finished, and cook until soft and fragrant.
– Serve in a bowl with the squeeze of a fresh lime and sprinkle cilantro on top. Offer some to your family and sit down with your warm bowls of love as you contemplate all the delicious flavors that are about to dance on your tongue.