Kichari Burger

winter kichari I am often asked how to make Ayurvedic meals appealing to the whole family. First, I am very fortunate that my family enjoys eating well, and by that I mean eating whole, healthy foods. But it is true that our Ayurvedic staple, kichari (click the link if you are not sure what that is), hasn’t always been popular with the younger ones.

kich burrito Kichari Burrito

Early on, I would spoon kichari into a wrap with salsa, a bit of yogurt and cilantro, and we’d call it a burrito. That worked, although I can’t say it was our most popular family fare.

Recently, in the midst of juggling a few things, I found myself wanting to prepare a special meal for a sick friend who was staying with us. We’d had kichari the evening before, and since I didn’t have time to make anything new, decided instead to spruce up what we had left.

This was the result – a Kichari burger that has now become a family favorite.
kichari slider stamped

To make it, you start with your favorite kichari recipe. I have lots around this site – a basic, all purpose kichari recipe here, a more elaborate one on that same page, an autumn kichari here, a winter kichari here, a summer kichari here, and for good measure below I offer you one more – because I want to share the amazing grace that is Robyn Field, and to share her favorite kichari as it is such a classic.

Part 1

If you already have a favorite kichari recipe, skip to part 2. 

Robyn Field’s Classic Kichari

Step 1 

3 & 1/3 c water
1/3 c split mung bean
1/3 c red lentils
1/3 c basmati rice
1 t turmeric
12 curry leaves
1 t crushed fresh ginger

Step 2
1/2 t cumin seeds
1/2 t coriander seeds
5 peppercorns

Step 3
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 medium zucchini, chopped
2 kale leaves, thinly sliced
1/4 t rock salt

Step 4
1 T ghee
1/2 t cumin seeds

Step 5
1/3 c fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 lemon
1/4 lime

Method
1. Bring water to a boil in a pot. Add mung beans, lentils, rice, turmeric, curry leaves and fresh ginger. Once it returns to a boil reduce heat and simmer.

  1. Grind seeds in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. Add 1 teaspoon of the mix to the kichari.

  2. 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 needed.

  3. Heat ghee in a skillet. Add 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds and fry for 30 seconds. Add the rest of the ground spices then immediately add a bit of the kichari to prevent it from burning and stir well. Add the spice fry to the pot of kichari and stir.

  4. Serve with lemon and lime juice, garnished with cilantro. Variation: Add fresh chili peppers and ginger in step 4 for a spicier version. 

kichari burger Part 2 Kichari “Burgers”
You could also call these sliders, and serve them at parties, or over salad for an elegant lunch. You pick the shape, and ultimately what to call them – because a rose may be a rose by any other name, but when it comes to feeding children (and fussy grown-ups), what’s in a name may make all the difference.

Ingredients
2 c your favorite kichari
1-2 T psyllium (husks or ground, either)
1 T nutritional yeast, optional
1 T ghee garlic powder to taste
optional: 1 egg

Method
Stir the psyllium and optionally the nutritional yeast with the kichari in a mixing bowl and mix well, ideally with your own clean hands. If you eat eggs, beat one egg and lightly stir it in. It will give your burger and better hold, and a crispier, golden edge. But strictly speaking, Ayurveda does not like us to mix our proteins

Melt the ghee in a saucepan on medium high. Sprinkle in the garlic powder according to your own taste, swirl the pan. Take a small handful of kichari mixture, pat it into a ball, then press to flatten. Place in your saucepan and cook until it browns. Turn it over and cover now while it browns on the second side.

Since there is no egg and the kichari is cooked, it is not essential you “cook it all the way through,” but I cover it to be sure it heats all the way through. vegan burger Raita Dipping Sauce
1/2 c yogurt (make your own)
1/2 small cucumber (persian are best), chopped small
3-4 spring onions, chopped 1 bunch of chives, chopped
1 bunch dill, chopped
1 small bunch cilantro or parsley, or a bit of both, chopped
Pink salt & fresh cracked pepper, to taste

Stir everything together. Season to taste.

I served these on a slice of roasted beet and roasted sweet potato, ladled with the dipping sauce, and a side of curried mayo (1 t curry powder to 3 T vegan mayo) for vibrant color and flavor.

raita and chutney In the Springtime, Kichari is an essential part of a detoxifying cleanse. I invite you to join me for my upcoming 10 day Spring Cleanse with a 10 day meal plan, nourishing cleansing recipes, as well as Ayurvedic self-care and guidance, coaching, daily motivational emails, group phone-ins and group online support starting April 20th. For one of you lucky commenters, we will (randomly) pick someone to give the Cleanse for free.

So tell us, how do you use your creativity to keep your family eating well? I look forward to hearing.

Namaste! 

kichari vegan burger

Detox Dal: A Simple Winter Soup

winter detox soupJanuary used to be the hardest month. Back to school, back to work, back to cold, intense urban environments. Now January is this: Warm soups on lovely days. Writing. Researching. Planning. Walks on the beach. Morning prayers with the sunrise. Sitting by the fire in the evening. Meals with my beloved.

January. Slow. Mindful. Deep. Days of hope. Days of white: snow, skies, interior scapes. Days of spiced tea and hot soups.

Detox Dal Soup

This simple winter soup has been our favorite so far. Made with three basic ingredients: split mung bean, carrots and chard, it’s easy, the way January should be.

It’s easy to make, easy to digest, and easy to love.

split mung beans

detox dal on the stove

Be sure your mung beans are split, otherwise it will require soaking and a longer cooking time, and frankly it just never tastes as good. You can find them at any good Asian or Indian store, or you can order them online here.

A Wintry Dal
Serves 4

Ingredients

1 T ghee (be generous)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T vata spice mixture (see below)
1 t ginger powder
1 t curry powder
1 c SPLIT mung bean, rinsed and drained
4 c vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
4 small to medium sized carrots, cut into bite-size pieces
1 bunch chard, rinsed and loosely chopped
1 c water
1 T white miso

Seasoning: gf tamari or shoyu, extra virgin olive oil, fresh cracked black pepper
Optional: scallions, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, cilantro, sage leaves

Instructions

Melt your ghee over a medium flame. Sweat the onions, then add the garlic and give it a swirl. Add your spices and swirl again, now for about a minute. Stir in the mung beans. Turn the heat to high, and slowly pour in the vegetable broth. Add the bay leaves. Bring it to a boil, cover and reduce heat.

Allow it to gently boil for about 25 minutes. Add the carrots. Stir and check your liquid levels. It might need another cup of water. If so, add now.

Cook for another 15 minutes and add the chard. Let it sit on top of the soup to steam. Cook until it wilts, about 5-10 more minutes. Stir the chard into the soup. Taste to check if the beans are cooked through. They will be soft if they are done.

When the beans are done, turn off the heat. Remove the bay leaves. Stir in the miso, and mix in well.

Ladle the soup into bowls. Season with tamari or shoyu, and a generous splash of olive oil. Sprinkle with cilantro, chopped scallions, roasted seeds, and, optionally, a toasted sage leaf.

Enjoy!

Vata Spices
click to print

How well do you know your dals? When I was home visiting my mother recently she shared with me this article from the Chicago Tribune which is a great feast of delicious information about legumes, and how best to prepare. It’s worth a read for any travel, culture or culinary lover.

detox dal

This New Year, I have a brand new, wonderful, online course called New Year New You. It’s full of goodies and powerful tools to help you live your very best life, and shine your gorgeous light. So check it out and see if it resonates with you. If so, sign up quick. We begin this weekend.

If you comment below letting me know you are interested, you will be eligible for a 10% discount (even if you’ve already registered!). I’ll pick randomly tomorrow afternoon.

Again, I wish you a Happy New Year. May it be nourishing and bright.

Namaste! 

Summer Cleanse + Smoothies

Summer Cleanse + SmoothiesSummer Smoothies :: Download the PDF for your Kitchen

This is one of many beautiful, colorful, vibrant, nature loves you recipe sheets you receive as part of our upcoming Ayurvedic Summer Cleanse. From August 9-15, this 5 day Cleanse with 1 day Prep at the front and 1 day Transition at the end gives you recipes for all 7 days, plus Yoga practices, a meditation, group calls and daily motivation, plus a facebook forum to share, connect, inspire.

If you can’t wait, head on over to Kate’s 3 day Cleanse going on now. Then come back and join us in August.  Invite your friends, too. We have room for plenty and it’s always more fun with your loved ones.

I love this Summer Cleanse so much I want everyone to have it. In fact, I love it so much and love you so much that I am going to give it to three of you for free. Just leave a comment below letting us know what you love about summer, and we will pick a winner in a random, double-blind drawing.

Are you ready for mind-blasting freedom, clarity and vibrance? Let’s join together and heal the world!

Loving life, loving summer, loving you ~ Namaste! 

~

Congratulations to Kate, Nicole and Nathalie who will receive the Summer Cleanse as a gift!

Cannellini Hummus: A Spring Detox Staple

#hummus
We are just finishing up our 21 Day Spring Clean Challenge, and I thought you, along with some of my fellow “Cleansers,” might like a simple way to stay the course. This hummus is so easy and quick to prepare, yet makes a nourishing, hearty meal, even while detoxifying. In fact, it was my family’s lunch today served up with arugula, radicchio, zucchini and sun-dried tomatoes for dipping, along with gluten-free “superseed” crackers and olives. They loved it, never knowing they  were eating “Cleanse” foods. I hope you like it, too.

cannelini hummus poster 2

Cannellini Hummus

1.5 cups organic cannellini beans, cooked
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 T vegan mayonnaise (make your own)
1 t dijon mustard
1 t tahini
3 hearty shakes of aleppo pepper
pink salt to taste
1 t lemon juice, optional 

Put everything in your electric blender and mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add a spoonful of fresh lemon juice if you think it needs more salt. Serve with fresh vegetables.

#cannelini hummus
Why change it up and make Hummus with Cannellini? What’s wrong with good old-fashioned Garbanzo?

It’s true, garbanzo beans do make delicious hummus. But, they can be difficult to digest. In many cases (think Vata)  they cause gas, bloating, abdominal discomfort, even constipation. Any Cleanse, to be successful, should strengthen, and not confuse digestion. Mung beans, cooked in Kichari, are the ideal bean for that. In our 21 Day Cleanse, Kichari is a central component. Now that we are almost complete, though, this hummus is a nice variation on the theme.

If you want a simple cleanse you can do anytime, try making up some kichari with lightly steamed vegetables and feast on that for a day, or two, or three… You’ll find many recipes for kichari around my blog ~ here, and at the bottom of the “Basics” page here, for example.

I wish you extraordinary health and wellness so that you are able, in the most vibrant way possible, to taste all the joy, intelligence and love Mother Nature has to offer you.

Thank you for visiting this site, and for being so dedicated to life, light and love! Jai Ma!

What about you? Are you welcoming Spring with a bit of a clean-up, clean-out? What is your favorite way to invite in Spring, and enjoy the season’s energy of renewal?

 

Namaste!

 

 

 

Hangover Remedy

Clover
Shamrocks, aka Clover

With St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Sunday this year, it occurred to me that some of you might appreciate a remedy for recovery come Monday.

This healing tonic matches the color of the day, and points to the Ayurvedic call in this season for a Cleanse. It’s laced with shamrocks, too, for fun – but also to add brightness in color and flavor.

The Shamrocks, also known more commonly as Clover, are optional. But if you are like us and have it growing all over your garden this Spring, toss in a handful to augment the magical, “luck of the Irish” benefits. Then you could call this hangover remedy, a “Shamrock Shake,” and continue your holiday celebrations, even while you recover. It is kid-friendly, too!

Shamrock ShakeShamrock Shake Hangover Remedy
Serves 2

1 Banana
6-8 leave Kale, with stems
10 Brazil Nuts
1/3 c Aloe Vera Juice
1 c Almond Milk
1 T VitaMineral Greens (optional)
1 t Coconut Oil
1 t Turmeric
A few pickings of fresh Shamrock (White Clover), leaves and flowers (optional)

Toss it all in a blender and mix until it is very thoroughly blended. Drink at room temperature. Best on an empty stomach.

Shamrock Shake

Clover is a natural alterative, or blood purifier, used by traditional poeple across North America and Europe. It is “rich in minerals and vitamins that help with decongestion and (which) stimulate the liver and digestion. While most alteratives contain bitter compounds, Clover is unique because it is sweet and tasty,” writes acclaimed herbalist Rosemary Gladstar.

Clover makes a great tea. So if you want to skip the Guinness, but still celebrate, you could enjoy instead an old-fashioned cup of “Shamrock Brew:” Simply boil up a few cups of water, add clover leaves and flowers, reduce to a low simmer, and steep for ten minutes.

Speaking of green, my annual Spring Cleanse begins next weekend. If you would like to join us to greenify your body and mind, please visit my website to register or learn more. If you can’t wait to get started, you’ll find a Spring Green Detox Tonic I wrote up for Elephant Journal here.

May your days be happy and green!

Namaste!

Related articles:
Clover’s Medicinal Uses, Live and Feel Well

Clover and Ayurveda, Tattva’s Herbs
White & Red Clover Species, Montana Plant Life

Spring: Season of Fiery Spice & Wild Greens

Spring is a time for healing and growth, bringing life to its fullest blossom while sloughing off accumulations that weigh and slow us down. This, therefore, is the prime season for detoxification, when we want to do what nature is doing: melt the freeze of winter and prepare for the liberation of Summer.

The key to healthy detoxification is Agni! Agni is the Sanskrit word for fire. It is generally used to describe our digestive fire, which resides in our solar plexus. Agni’s job is to help us digest and assimilate the nutrients in our food, and to support the cleansing organs, including the skin, liver, and kidneys, to move the waste out of our body.  Agni is like a little potbelly stove at the center of our “house” (or body). Our digestion, as well as our immunity, vitality, and clarity of mind, depend on it.

You can strengthen your Agni in four simple ways: aerobic exercise, a targeted Hatha Yoga practice, healthy whole foods, and detoxifying herbs.

To stoke your digestive fire, sip ginger tea with your meals and add zesty warming spices that help to break down foods and eliminate waste. In the Spring, Ayurvedic spices such as ginger, garlic, cinnamon, clove, basil, oregano, pepper, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne, asafetida (hing), fenugreek and chilies offer flavor, aroma, healing wisdom and most of all, fire to your foods.

Hot peppers “melt” Winter’s “freeze.”

What to Eat

Edible wild greens of Late Winter and early Spring are especially detoxifying. Bitter and pungent tasting, they include dandelion greens, purslane, ramps, sorrel, lamb’s quarters, chickweed, chicory, garlic mustard, shepherd’s purse, escarole, fiddleheads, wild prickly lettuce, mache, nettles, frisee, sour grass, and onion grass. Sample some of these Spring greens, freshly picked and still moist, and you might be surprised by its peppery, pungent blast.

Green Vegetables: Loaded with fiber, leafy greens like mustard greens, spinach and kale act like industrial scrub brushes to aide your body in its housecleaning and repair.

Dark leafy greens: Full of chlorophyll, a detox agent, chlorophyll will help release toxins from your body, while stimulating cellular intelligence and improving your energy.

Beans: Packed with protein, a side of legumes, like dhal or hummus, add savory satisfaction as a substitute for the heavier, harder to digest, and often pesticide-laden meat, fish and eggs.

Good quality fats (including avocados, extra virgin olive oil, ghee and coconut): Enjoyed in moderation high quality fats are stored in the body as energy, not fat, and help you lose weight in the long run. Remember, it is not fat, but sugar that makes us fat.

Zesty warming spices: Strengthen digestive fire with the help of pungent spices that help to break down foods, and eliminate waste. In the Spring, Ayurvedic spices such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne, black pepper, cayenne, ginger, asafetida (hing), cloves and fenugreek offer flavor, aroma, digestive muscle and purification.

Farmer’s Market Sprouted Beans & Sunflower Greens
What’s in Season

Artichokes, asparagus, avocadoes, beets, broccoli, grapefruit, kumquats, meyer lemons, blood oranges, tangelos, mandarins, grapefruit, carrots, chard, dates, fava beans, fennel, green garlic, kale, leeks, lettuces, mustard greens, new potatoes, nettles, English peas, Snap peas, pea shoots, pea tendrils, radicchio, radishes, rapini, spring onions, shallot shoots, sorrel, bean sprouts, strawberries, watercress.

~

For delicious Spring detoxification, try this Cilantro Pesto.
For a more detailed Spring Clean Regime, how about joining our Spring Clean 21 Day Challenge?

~
Namaste!

Ayurveda on Fasting

There is something delicious about hunger. It presents a raw desire we rarely allow ourselves to feel. Like Silence, it offers a deeper insight into ourselves, and takes us to the source of our true nourishment.

In this New Year, I have begun a practice of fasting on Thursdays. Thursday is named for Jupiter, the planet that relates to the Guru. I offer my hunger to my teacher and to spirtual teachers everywhere, to wisdom wherever it is revealed, to the light of consciousness within and all around. When I feel hungry I try to remember that food is love, that what quenches my hunger is love, that love is inexhaustible ~  and I vow to feed all such hunger with love.

Fasting is a beautiful ritual in the New Year. It clarifies, purifies, and helps us move into the New Year with an internal spaciousness, a greater expanse for life yet to come.

Physically, fasting strengthens the digestive fire while burning away toxins that clog the channels, weight the body and muddy the mind. Fasting increases energy, luster, mental acuity, immune response and overall well-being while reducing weight, fatigue, irritability and mood swings. It makes the body feel lighter, refreshed, more supple, and provides the satisfaction that comes from personal achievement.

For all these reasons, Ayurveda encourages fasting, but favors consistent, short fasts such as skipping dinner once a week or fasting for a few days each month over long-term fasting that can deplete vital tissue and increase, not decrease, imbalances that lead to disease.

According to your constitution, Ayurveda recommends the following types of fasting:

  • Eating a mono-diet of Kichari only
  • Consuming a liquid diet of raw or lightly cooked vegetables only
  • Abstaining from all solid foods while drinking only water or herbal teas

If you know your doshic constitution, consider the following ~

Vata does best with the Kichari fast for one to two days;

Pitta benefits most from the second option, blending together a variety of dark, leafy vegetables with fiber like psyllum husks, oat bran or ground flaxseed, and a dash or two of turmeric, fasting for up to three days;

Kapha people get a boost from the traditional fasts of abstention, drinking only warm water and herbal teas, and can usually fast for longer periods of up to five days.

For an easy introduction to fasting, you can join me and choose one day of the week to consistently follow either of the options listed above. Thursday is a good day, as are Mondays. They are both “Kapha days,” when nature’s support makes it less challenging.

Whatever type of fast you choose, be sure to squeeze fresh lemon into warm or hot water and drink it often. Sipping ginger tea throughout the day will also help you burn, baby burn.

A small, thin woman once told me that she tried the Master Cleanse (the one with lemon, maple syrup and cayenne) but felt like a failure because she didn’t last the prescribed ten days. She did fast for seven days, but cold sores began developing throughout her mouth after the fourth day, and finally it became too painful for her to continue. Apparently, friends suggested that the fire in her mouth was a sign of detoxification and that she should have pushed through it, which only helped solidify her feelings of failure.

In fact, the cold sores were a sign of excess Pitta, or too much inner fire, which developed as a result of consuming only the sour (lemon) and pungent (cayenne) tastes – both “fire” tastes that are highly Pitta-increasing. Maple syrup added the sweet taste but not enough substance to balance so much fire. Because this young woman was slight, she did not have much tissue to contain that fire, nor much toxic waste to burn. Once the fire did purify her system, it had nothing left to consume but her healthy tissue.

I like the Master Cleanse and have done it many times, but this example is a reminder that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to diets or fasting. So if you feel discomfort when fasting ~ more than the occasional lightheadedness or gentle headaches ~ trust your body’s wisdom: please discontinue and seek professional advice.

Just as Silence deepens us into Mystery, fasting helps us remember our true hunger – that deep, longing for union: to be one again with the divine, with the eternal, with Oneness itself.

It reminds me of this wonderful piece by Thomas Merton ~

Dawn

There is in all things an invisible fecundity, a dimmed light,
a meek namelessness, a hidden wholeness.
This mysterious Unity and Integrity is Wisdom, the Mother of all.

There is in all things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity;
a silence that is a fount of action and joy.

It rises up in wordless gentleness and flows out to me
from the unseen roots of all created being,
welcoming me tenderly,
saluting me with indescribable humility.
This is at once my own being, my own nature,
and the Gift of my Creator’s Thought and Art within me,
speaking as Hagia Sophia,
speaking as my sister, Wisdom.

I am awakened, I am born again at the voice of this my Sister,
sent to me from the depths of the divine fecundity.

May you know the divine fecundity of Love ~

Namaste!

If you are interested in learning more on Ayurveda and diet ~ in clear, simple language, the fantastic book Eat, Taste, Heal outlines Ayurvedic cooking, and fasting, for the Western palate.




New Year Cleanse: Deep Detox Drink

Every year, at some point between Christmas and New Year’s Day, there comes a morning when you wake up and the first thing you hear is, “Enough!”

It is only a voice in your head, of course, but it is powerful, insistent, and every bone in your body knows it’s right.

Enough! Enough with the excess. Enough with the crowds. Enough with the parties, the merriment, the recaps and resolutions. Enough with the sugar. Enough with the cream. Enough with the foods you said “enough” to last year. Enough with it all!

The new year is dawning. It’s time to pull it together. Time to get healthy and pure.

When this day comes, when you vow to reduce, when simple is more than enough, our Deep Detox Drink is a great way to get started. It stands on its own as a potent detoxifier, and gives a robust kick-start to any cleansing or dietary regime.

Here is how to make it:

Squeeze one half a lemon into a blender or shaker with 1/2 cup water, one heaping tablespoon of Spirulina, 1/2 cup Aloe Vera juice, three shakes of Turmeric, a dash of black pepper and a spoonful of honey, or more to taste. Give it a good shake and drink on an empty stomach.

You can drink this before breakfast, to replace a meal, or in regular intervals as a juice fast for up to three days. The efficacy of this drink comes from the power of bitter-tasting ingredients to reduce mass, purify tissues, and eliminate toxins. If you are pregnant, this is not for you. If you are weak, frail, have a chronic illness, or feel mentally ungrounded or unstable, please consult a health professional first.

Deep Detox Drink: The Remains
Deep Detox Drink: The Remains

Ayurveda has much to say on the subject of physical and mental detoxification. One of the leaders in the field, Maharishi Ayurveda, has more suggestions for you to consider on their website.

Happy New Year !