To soothe your spirit, cleanse your organs, and prepare yourself for the transition into fall, try eating this meal for lunch or dinner this week.
Kitchari means mixture, usually of two grains, and is particularly nourishing and easy to digest. This recipe comes from the Ayurvedic tradition of India, where food is considered medicine. I like to prepare the rice and lentils separately and mix them in my bowl.
For the rice:
Rinse 1 cup long grain brown rice.
Bring to a boil with 2 cups water. Reduce heat to simmer and cook , with lid askew, for 30 minutes.
In a skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon sunflower oil with:
1 teaspoon each: fennel seed, cumin seed, cumin powder, coriander seed, turmeric powder
When seeds start popping, turn off heat and slowly pour mixture into cooking rice.
You can add zucchini, carrots, winter squash, beets, cauliflower, broccoli or leeks to the rice.
For the dahl:
Rinse 2 cups yellow split lentils. Drain and bring to a boil with 5 cups water.
Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Skim off any white foam that develops and discard it.
In a skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon ghee or coconut oil with:
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon each: cumin powder and garam masala
1 teaspoon each: turmeric and coriander powder
Add vegetables such as beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, collards, kale and spinach to the skillet. Add 1 cup water, cover, and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. Mix into the lentils, stir, and enjoy!
Coriander seed, Coriandrum sativum: considered both an herb and a spice; its leaves are known as cilantro, a liver detoxifier, and its seeds are rich in both calcium and dodecenal, an antibacterial compound. This aromatic seed stimulates appetite, encourages the pancreas to secrete digestive juices, and strengthens digestion.
Cumin seed, Cuminum cyminum: source of iron, which stimulates hemoglobin production in the blood thereby strengthening immunity. Its tonic action on the digestive system eases the intestinal spasms that may cause gas and warms the body.
Fennel seed, Foeniculum vulgare: this anti-inflammatory, analgesic seed as a slightly sweet taste, which normalizes digestion and cools ulcerative sensations or indigestion in the upper digestive tract. Its aromatic quality opens the airways to its fragrance, thereby encouraging us to engage with our food even before we taste it.
Steeped in boiling water in equal proportions, these three seeds make a lovely tea.