Khichadi is one of the most traditional dishes that comes from Ayurveda. It is a simple combination of split yellow mung beans and white basmati rice with various spices which can be adapted to your dosh or Ayurvedic make up.
We don’t normally recommend whole beans for Vata types, however , when the beans are split and without their husks, or skins, they are definitely easier to digest, and with the combination of rice and spices, this becomes a completely balanced and “safe” meal to eat for all doshas.
Khichadi is Easy to Digest
Khichadi is so easy to digest, that in most Indian homes, we offer it to our tiny babies as one of their first “purees”!
White rice is traditionally used in khichadi because it is very easy to digest. Along with the split mung dal, khichadi is a food that is gentle enough for babies. In fact, in Ayurvedic homes, khichadi is typically given to people who need to support their health, to the elderly, and to babies because it is so gentle. In most Indian homes, we cook Khichadi after a heavy weekend of over indulging, or when one suffers from tummy issues such as diarrhoea , cramps or IBS.
In addition, eating a mono diet of primarily just khichadi for several days offers the digestive system a rest by making the diet extremely simple.
You can adapt Khichadi to your taste by switching rice for quinoa, as I often like to do, or another grain of your preference.
The key to great health according to Ayurveda, is great digestion. You are what you eat but you are PRIMARILY what you DIGEST. Our Agni, or digestive fire, needs to be strong and able to digest our food properly in order to keep toxins , or Ama , at bay. When Agni is strong, we are able to absorb nutrients from our food and get rid of toxins easily. When Agni is weak, that is when accumulation of Ama begins, which leads to illness , or dis-ease.
Spices in our foods are what help us to maintain a healthy, bright Agni. Khichadi is made with various spices such as ginger, cumin, coriander, fennel , turmeric and salt. We can adapt the spices according to our Dosha too, in order to make it even more beneficial to us, individually. For instance, Pitta types should focus on the more cooling spices such as cumin and coriander and perhaps avoid black pepper or too much ginger.
Khichadi can also be adapted as per the seasons, balancing certain tastes, or “Rasas” within the dish itself.
In the summer, we want to focus more on the cooling, astringent qualities so that it keeps our internal system calm and not inflamed. So we could add more cooling green herbs, for example, and stick with the rice and mind dal as both these are sweet and astringent, respectively.
In winter, feel free to add sweet veg such as sweet potato and/or carrots, to balance windy and unstable Vata.
AS you can see, Khichadi = health in a bowl. I urge you to try it, if you already haven’t, and see it’s immediate, comforting benefits for the whole family!
And if you’re interested to know more about your Dosha, let’s talk! ( clickable to go to Ayurveda page on site)
RECIPE: MUNG DAL KITCHADI
Ingredients for 4:
- 1 C basmati rice
- 1/2 C yellow split mung dal
- 2 TB ghee
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 6-8 curry leaves ( optional) or 1 bay leaf
- 1” piece fresh ginger, grated
- A pinch of asafoetida
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- Himalayan salt
- 4 C water
Combine the rice and the dal, wash several times and drain. Soak for a few hours.
In a large pan, heat the ghee and add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Once the mustard seeds begin to pop and jump around add the ginger, asafoetida and the drained rice and dal. Stir and combine nicely. Add the turmeric and a little salt and stir continuously. Add 4 cups of recently boiled water , bring to a boil and stir for a couple of minutes. Lower the heat and cover. Allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes. Serve warm with a splash of fresh lime juice and fresh coriander if you wish.