ayurvedic healing

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 yoga practitioners 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 stimulate the nervous system, making it difficult for meditation. 

Another practical use 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

4 cups/1 litres 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 coriander, chopped

1 cup roughly chopped kale

extra ghee for serving

preparation 

1.  In a heavy saucepan, rinse the rice and dal until the water runs clear, drain, then pour in the 1-litre water, add the cardamom pods and bring to boil, then lower the heat to maintain a rapid simmer – simmer for 15 minutes uncovered, then add the cabbage.

2.   Simmer until dal and rice has broken down and softened – approximately 30 – 40 minutes. You may have to add water as needed. While waiting for the dal and 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) and measure the spices for the voggarane.

3.  Add salt, jaggery, dried coconut and chopped ginger – simmer for 1-2 minutes more, then turn off the heat, cover and set aside.

prepare the voggarane

4.  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. 

5.  Add the curry leaves, asafoetida and turmeric powder – fry for 30 seconds, swishing the pan around to allow for the spices to fry evenly.

6.  Pour the voggarane into the cooked dal and rice and stir in the lemon juice.

7.  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 and pickle.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

ghee

27th August 2009

ghee

Ghee is the most amazing substance, melted, it pours like liquid gold.  At room temperature, it is semi-soft and creamy.  Ghee can be kept at room temperature for months and heated to frying temperatures without burning.  Ghee takes only moments of hands-on time to make at home. It’s derived from butter through a process of cooking off the milk solids until it becomes an easier to digest, healthier alternative to butter and oil or as an ingredient to add flavour and richness to foods.

Ghee heals your body from the inside.  In Ayurveda, ghee is recognised as one of the most sattvic foods.  Ayurvedic doctors have used ghee for centuries.  Ghee is known to reduce heat in the body, sharpen the memory and intellect, lubricate and strengthen the digestive tract.  It helps you on your yogic journey. 

Ayurveda recommends for overall health to add a spoon of ghee with one’s morning and evening meal. It is recommended to add ghee in the liquid form (melted) when adding it directly to your food.

ghee

ghee

Cooking ghee is a continual process, which requires a watchful eye. The butter goes through several different stages of clarification from a gentle simmer, to frothing, boiling and even rising up and settling down. Watch closely!

Preparation 10 – 15 minutes.

Makes about 1½ cups.

The good quality of ghee rests on the quality of butter, so use the best available and use unsalted. 

ingredients

500 grams, unsalted organic butter

ghee stage 1

preparation

1.  Place the butter in a saucepan and bring it to a gentle boil over medium heat.  It will take approximately 5 minutes to meltdown. Initially, it will froth and foam, and then begin to settle down.  

ghee 2

2.  The ghee will begin to bubble and crackle quite vigorously. Continue boiling until the bubbling and crackling stops – approx 3 -4 minutes. Use your sense of hearing as you will hear the intense bubbling, then a quieter sound.  Watch carefully, the ghee will burn quickly at this stage. 

ghee stage 3

3.  Turn off the heat, and allow the pot to continue to sit on the stove, it will continue to bubble slightly. Eventually, it will turn from white to fawn-colour.  The ghee will become clear, translucent and pleasantly fragrant, it is done.  Allow to cool slightly in the pan.

ghee stage6

finished ghee

4.  It is optional to pour the hot ghee through a very thin sieve, possibly a tea strainer.  Or alternatively allow the ghee to settle and pour the ghee as is, into a jar using the leftover residue to make a delicious treat. See below.  

ghee straining

Additionally, the residue left in the strainer and the pot can be turned into a sweet.  Add ½ cup/75g whole-wheat flour to the pot, stir for 2 minutes on medium heat. Add 2-4 tablespoons of jaggery or unrefined sugar and continue stirring another 2 minutes.  Add ½ cup/115g milk, stir and turn off the heat. Form into balls, roll in coconut and enjoy!  

Variation: use semolina or coconut or add to a pot cooked brown rice.

COOKING BENEFITS AND TIPS

  • Excellent cooking oil – since ghee doesn’t start smoking until it’s heated to 375F/190C, it will neither burn nor splatter easily. When heated its chemical structure remains more stable compared to other oils.
  • You will know when you have over toasted or burnt ghee as it takes on a granular texture when chilled and turns a dull beige colour.
  • Stores well – due to its low moisture content, ghee can go weeks without refrigeration. Ghee should be consumed within a month or two.
  • The key to ghee longevity: Store it somewhere cool, keep it covered and avoid letting any moisture or water into the ghee as this promotes bacterial growth.
  • Although milk-based, it lacks both lactose and casein.
  • As it sits it will become semi-soft and creamy.  (Unless you live in a very hot climate, it will stay liquid.)

Use as a replacement for oil/butter in cooking.  It can also be used to ‘cool down too spicy food’.

solid ghee - finished

Goodness shared from Stacey

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