ahhhh……kichadi

28th December 2009

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I always turn to this healing Ayurvedic dish when I need a simple cleanse.  I prepare kichadi with a variation on the vegetables for a few days – to one week – alongside plenty of water, fresh fruits, steamed vegetables and cumin & coriander kashaya.  It always feels cleansing and nourishing.

There are endless variations to this dish, all dependent on the herbs, spices and vegetables used. Whenever my tummy is feeling sensitive, kichadi is always a medicine to my body and has the same soothing quality and nostalgia as a bowl of warm porridge.  All healing begins with the digestive tract.  Kichadi is good for all body types and depending on your constitution a few adjustments to the recipe can help balance out your constitution.

If you tend to have a pitta imbalance (fire & earth), moderate use of heating spices like pepper, ginger, mustard seeds and chilli.  Imbalances are usually seen in skin rashes, burning sensations, ulcerations, fever, rapid changing in moods and anger.  Kapha imbalance (earth & water) avoid extra ghee or oil and yoghurt which can make a slow digestion and excess mucus.  Imbalances are likely to be seen as colds, congestion, depression, excess weight and headaches.   Vata (wind and space) imbalance avoid eating too many cold raw foods and increase the heating spices. Imbalances may be seen in aching joints, dry skin and hair, nerve disturbances, constipation and mental confusion. A skilled Ayurveda physician can access your pulse and give you the right information about your constitution.

Just a quick note on asafoetida.   It has a very strong smell due to their sulphur compounds. Asafoetida is available in solid wax-like pieces or in powder form.  Used sparingly, it gives a flavour similar to garlic and shallots in vegetables, stews and sauces.  The smell quickly disappears with cooking.  It is a frequent ingredient in Indian dishes, especially as a replacement for garlic and onion which is not used by yogis in their cooking.  I am not sure if you have noticed, but all my recipes use no onion or garlic. Garlic and onion are avoided because they can agitate or excite the body and make it difficult for meditation.  They stimulate the nervous system.

Another practical use for it is as a natural pesticide to ward off unwanted animals in the garden.  Mix 2 tablespoons of powdered asafoetida with 1½ litres of water, shake hard, then apply around plants.

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 healing kichadi

For a lighter spring/summer, kichadi see recipe here or here. One of my favourites is this barley kichadi.

ingredients :

½ cup whole moong dal (mung beans)

½ cup brown basmati  rice

6 cups/1½ litre filtered water

3 cardamom pods

1 cup broccoli\cabbage, finely chopped

1 tsp rock salt 

1 tsp jaggery/brown sugar

¼ cup dried shredded coconut

1 heaped tsp finely chopped ginger

voggarane :

1 Tbsp  ghee

½ tsp black mustard seeds

1 heaped tsp cumin seeds

1 medium red chilli

10 fresh curry leaves

⅛ tsp asafoetida powder (hingu)

⅛ heaped tsp turmeric powder

juice of half a lemon or more to taste

¼ cup chopped fresh coriander 

1 cup roughly chopped kale

extra ghee for serving

preparation :

Place the rice and whole moong dal, in a heavy saucepan and cover with water.  Swish the rice & dal around with your hand, drain, repeat and rinse.  Do this four or five times until the water runs clear.  Pour in the 1-litre water into the pot with the dal, rice and cardamom pods.  Bring to boil over a medium-high heat, then lower the heat to maintain a rapid simmer.  Simmer until dal and rice has broken down and softened – approximately 30 – 40 minutes.  Halfway through cooking add the broccoli/cabbage.  You may have to add water as needed.

While waiting for the dal & rice to cook, chop the chilli into three pieces and tear the curry leaves in half (this way everyone is guaranteed to consume a curry leaf and benefit from their medicinal properties).

When the dal and rice has softened, add salt, sugar/jaggery, dried coconut and chopped ginger.  Simmer for 1-2 minutes more, then turn off the heat, cover and set aside.

prepare the voggarane:

In a small pan over medium heat, add the ghee and mustard seeds.   When the seeds start to splutter and pop, turn down the heat and add cumin seeds and chopped chilli.  Fry until sizzling and fragrant.  Add the curry leaves, asafoetida powder (hingu) and turmeric powder and fry for 30 seconds, swishing the pan around to allow for the spices to fry evenly.

Turn off the heat, then add to the cooked dal and rice.   Stir in the lemon juice. With your hands, break up the fresh coriander, roughly chopped kale and stir into the kichadi.  Check for seasoning, adding more salt or lemon if needed.

At serving time, garnish with fresh coriander and drizzle with ghee.  Top with a dollop of spicy yoghurt and avocado mixture or plain yoghurt.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

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4 comments

  • Molly Hagan

    Wow, you have changed your recipe! I look forward to trying this one. Will need to find curry leaves first. Not familiar, although I have heard of the curry tree.

    Your older version has become my favorite kitchari recipe. Because it had tomatoes in it I did not use it for health reasons but a great dish. I have a blander simpler kitchari recipe I use when doing a cleanse or when I feel ill or I just have been eating too much and I need to give my innards a rest.

    I have many kitchari recipes but have liked your the best.

    Thank you!

    • Good Ness

      Hello Molly, So glad you enjoyed the kitchari recipe! I have been also trying not to use too many tomatoes lately as they are slightly tamasic in nature. I sort of go between the two recipes as well, using a simpler recipe when needing to cleanse. I hope you have success in finding the curry leaves, it is well worth it as they have many medicinal qualities and the fragrance is wonderful! Thanks for coming to visit ..Stace

  • Alicia

    Made this tonight and it tastes divine. I made it without the cardamom pods because you didn’t mention them in the recipe and so I didn’t know whether I needed to leave them whole or not. Still tasty as can be, though 🙂

    • Good Ness

      Hello Alicia, so very glad you enjoyed it. I will amend the recipe where the cardamom pods should be added. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Also try the barley kichadi – its one of my favourites. Blessings Stacey

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