Today really feels like spring. It’s 60 degrees outside, sunny, and just a little bit windy. I found myself driving to the market with the windows rolled all the way down, singing to the radio at the top of my lungs. There’s something about a day like today that makes me think of fresh starts and new beginnings. I also especially feel this way because I’m moving back home with my family for the first time in three years, and I feel like I have a second chance to really appreciate what makes my childhood house a home.
When I was younger, I didn’t really appreciate my house in a small town. I thought it was so much more exciting to live in the city; to have places to go to all the time and tons of restaurants and shops around. And don’t get me wrong, all of that is fun, and it’s the ideal situation for a lot of people. But for me, I really have missed being amidst the Great Outdoors. Having swimming holes and hiking spots and farm stands just minutes away. Having and owning earth in which to garden and let all of the greenery flourish. I’d trade that for the city any day.
In the spirit of new beginnings, I thought I’d share this recipe for kitchari – which can also be spelled khichdi or kichadi – a traditional Ayurvedic cleansing food. When anyone mentions a “cleanse”, most people think of juice fasts or detoxing. In Ayurvedic tradition, however, the combination of “rice and beans” (or in this case, rice and lentils) is the ideal cleansing food because it is so easy to digest, while still providing the body with complete proteins. Made with healing Ayurvedic spices like turmeric and cumin, kitchari is flavorful and delicious while still being part of a cleanse. But the most important aspect of this type of cleanse is eating mindfully and with intention – preparing the food with love, and listening to your body to know when you’re full.
Red Lentil Kitchari | An Ayurvedic Cleanse
- 2 Cups Vegetable Stock
- 1 Cup Red Lentils
- 1/2 Sweet Onion diced
- 3 Cloves Garlic minced
- A little Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 Tsp Paprika
- 1/4 Tsp Turmeric
- 1/8 Tsp Cumin
- 1/8 Tsp Coriander
- 2 Cups Cooked Brown Rice to serve
- Cilantro for garnish
Bring lentils and vegetable stock to a boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes. Do not stir, this mashes the lentils! When done, remove from heat.
While lentils are cooking, sauté the sweet onion and garlic in a little olive oil on medium-low heat until onions are translucent.
In a small bowl, mix together spices.
When everything is done, mix onions and garlic and spices into the pot of lentils.
Serve the kitchari over brown rice or any other grains you have on hand, like quinoa or millet. The kitchari can always be eaten on its own with bread!
Enjoy, and eat with intention.