Cleansing the Ancient Way: Kichari
Kichari (pronounced kich-ah-ree) is known as a staple food originating from India, and combines mung lentils with basmati rice. These two ingredients being the most digestible of the group, mung beans in particular are considered the most digestible of all its cousins. The word defines ‘mess’, meaning porridge. It is a warm dish, as digestion is in fact a warm process, and is packed with optimal protein and nutrition for nourishment of all the cells and ‘dhatus’ (tissues, in Ayurveda there are 7) of the body.
The type of cleanse is compared to that of a mono diet, which helps the body reach homeostasis in its quest for optimal balance. From day 1 to 3, you may notice the boredom of the diet may urge you to cheat, however, by day 4, you’ll feel a slight and noticeable difference in your energy levels as the digestive system is given a much needed break. The journey of cleansing is not so extreme, it adds value to removing unwanted toxins without the negative effects of a total juice fast. However, leading up to any cleansing, one must try to avoid, animal products, even dairy and cheese, caffeine is a tough one but necessary, otherwise the body may go into major healing crisis with caffeine withdrawals. Sugar is another story, and if you remove refined sugar before partaking in this cleanse it can drastically help the removal of toxins and it has a less harsh effect on the healing. Gluten can be avoided as well.
So give the cleanse a try and see for yourself how beneficial fasting is. This coupled with a yoga and cleansing program can help city dwellers to reach a state of inner peace and calm without spending top dollar on health products or vacation spas or retreats.
Happy Cleansing. Below is a recipe to help you along the way;
Kitchari- Serves 4
- 3 ⅓ cups (800ml) water
- ⅓ cup (80ml) split mung beans
- ⅓ cup (80ml) red lentils
- ⅓ cup (80ml) basmati rice
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 12 curry leaves
- 1 teaspoon crushed fresh ginger
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
- 5 pepper corns
- Step 3
- 1 carrot, chopped
- ½ medium zucchini, chopped
- 2 kale leaves, thinly sliced
- ¼ teaspoon rock salt
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ⅓ cup (80ml) chopped fresh cilantro
- ¼ lemon
- ¼ lime
Bring water to a boil in a medium pot. Add mung beans, lentils, rice, turmeric, curry leaves, and fresh ginger. Once it is boiling again, reduce heat and simmer. In the meantime, grind cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and pepper corns in a coffee grinder. Add 1 teaspoon of the spice mix to the kitchari.
Add carrots, zucchini, kale, and salt. Cook uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes until the lentils are tender and the mixture resembles a thick porridge. Stir occasionally. Add more water if necessary.
Heat ghee in a skillet. Add . teaspoon cumin seeds and fry for 30 seconds. Add rest of the ground spices from step 2, then immediately add a little bit of the kitchari to prevent burning and stir well. Add the spice fry to the kitchari and stir.
Garnish with fresh lemon and lime juice and cilantro.
Variation: Add fresh chili peppers and fresh ginger in step 4 for a spicier version.