Khichadi: Healthy Comfort Food

recipes

recipesWestern cultures are known for their “comfort” food. They devour anything deep-fried, meaty, or high in carbohydrates because the moment calls for it. They satisfy your taste buds, but don’t really do anything for your health and nutrition.

The comfort is short-lived because many health conditions can arise from the consumption of these comfort foods, including obesity, heart disease, and many cancers. Shouldn’t comfort food provide long-lasting comfort and health to your body?

Many comfort foods provide lots of short-term comfort and might actually be harming your digestive system as well. Khichadi (pronounced khich-ah-ree) is a staple comfort dish for South Asia that can be greatly beneficial for your digestive system. East Indian cuisine in particular is known for the Khichadi, featuring basmati brown rice, basmati white rice, or other rice. The dish also includes mung beans, lentils, or split peas. This healthy recipe also includes your choice of fresh vegetables and flavorful herbs and spices.

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Khichadi recipes are commonly used within Ayurvedic practices for cleansing therapy because they help ease digestion and assimilation in your body. You won’t have any gas or bloating from this comforting healthy recipe. People with persistent digestive problems will benefit from eating Khichadi for one to two weeks straight. Rice and beans are starches that blend well together because they contain the 10 essential amino acids. They are plant-based foods that create a complete protein.

The combination of ingredients benefits fat metabolism in your body, while also creating a natural calm state for deep spiritual practices. It is a great healthy recipe for yoga practitioners or anyone cultivating awareness within themselves.

Khichadi

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Water
  • 1/2 cup Brown basmati rice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Whole cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • 1 pinch Hing (asafoeoetida)
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Dry oregano
  • 1-2 teaspoon Fresh grated ginger root
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kelp powder
  • 3-4 cups various vegetables (choices include: carrots, kale, zucchini, celery, collard greens, chard, cabbage, or summer squash)
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan rock salt, Celtic sea salt, or unrefined sea salt
  • 1/2 bunch Cilantro

Optional

  • 2-3 tablespoons Ghee

Directions

Soak the whole mung beans overnight to help improve digestibility. Soaking beans helps remove sugars within beans that help cause gas. It is a great idea to change the water halfway through the soaking process. Sprouting the beans is also a healthy option.
Combine the soaked beans with the brown basmati rice in a colander, and rinse fully.
In a coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle, grind the coriander and cumin seeds.
In a medium sauce pan, warm the ghee, while adding hing, turmeric, freshly ground cumin and coriander seeds, bay leaves, and oregano. Sauté lightly until there is a nice aromatic smell. Stir in the ginger, brown basmati rice, and mung beans, while adding the water and kelp powder.
On low heat, cover and simmer, until rice and beans are soft. It should take about 30 minutes.
Wash and chop the vegetables thoroughly.
Add the vegetables and salt just before the beans and rice have absorbed all the water. Continue cooking until vegetables are completely tender for about 15-20 minutes.
Stir and garnish with chopped cilantro. The healthy recipe is now ready to serve. Enjoy!

Sources:
Cabaca, E., Earthly & Divine: Whole Recipes for a Healthy World (Richmond Hill: Live Nutrition, 2010): 123.
Dr. Douillard, J., D.C., “What’s So Amazing about Khichadi?” elephant journal web site, March 21, 2013; http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/03/whats-so-amazing-about-khichadi/.
“Ayurvedic Recipe – Moong dal khichari (Khichdi),” Ayurveda For You web site; http://ayurveda-foryou.com/treat/khichari.html, last accessed Feb. 3, 2014.