Khichdi, also known as kitchari, is an ancient yogi meal that balances the dhatus (tissues) and doshas (physiological forces). Khichdi is often prescribed to be consumed for 30 days to balance the doshas vata, pitta and kapha to detoxify the body. In India I enjoyed the availability of this nourishing, filling meal anytime of the day. During the colder winter months our bodies often accumulate kapha. In Ayurveda kapha is understood as guru (heavy), sheeta (cold), mrudu (soft), snigda (unctuous), manda (slow), sthira (stable) and slakshna (jelly like). When these properties increase in our body, Ayurveda explains that kapha aggravation may lead to the following conditions.
- High cholesterol
- Weight gain
- Reduced jaataragni (gastrointestinal metabolic power)
- Reduced dhatuagni (body tissue metabolic power)
- Head and chest congestion
- Aama accumulation
- Growth of tumors, polyps, cysts
- Mental fogginess and feeling depressed
- Feeling tiered and sluggish
- Lower immune system
- Increased infections such as common cold and candida
To reduce these kapha symptoms and conditions it is recommended to make khichdi with spices that will counterbalance kapha qualities and promote proper tissue and digestive metabolism. Khichdi is made from mung beans or lentils, rice, vegetables and spices. The variability of the vegetables and spices are adjusted according to the season and dosha balance. For this particular kapha pacifying khichdi I have chosen lentils, basmati rice, carrots, celery, spinach, onion, jeeraka (cumin), shatapushpa (fennel), haridra (tumeric), ardraka (ginger), lavanga (clove) and krushna sarshapa (black mustard seeds), mareecha (black pepper). The spices are particularly beneficial to keep kapha normalized. Here’s why.
- Jeeraka (Cumin) is classified as vatakaphashamak and pacifies kapha and vata in the body. Have you read my blog on the basic information about kapha, vata and pita? Click here if you need more information on the basics of Ayurveda.
- With an ushna veerya, cumin brings warmth to the body to reduce kapha.
- Cumin is an excellent antioxidant and reduces hydroxyl radicals, 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radicals and lipid peroxides.
- As a krumigna, cumin reduces pathogenic gram-positive and gram-negative bacterial strains as well as fungus.
- Cumin help reduce bloating, gas, indigestion and restores proper metabolism.
- Cumin also purifies the blood and acts as a gentle diuretic.
- Get extra help eliminating aches and pains too since cumin is an analgesic and has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Cumin has so many great healing properties, click here for an excellent research article on cumin if you want to learn more now.
- Mishreya (Fennel) is excellent for keeping the digestive system balanced and reduces flatulence, gas, abdominal cramps and nausea.
- Fennel tones and balances all seven dhatus (body tissues).
- Fennel is a medicinal herb rich in Vitamin A, B6, B12, C, D, magnesium, Iron, calcium, sodium, carbohydrates, dietary fibers and potassium.
- Fennel also help keep coughs and colds away since it is an antimicrobial.
- Here’s a great in depth research presentation on fennel.
- Haridra (Turmeric) I chose to add turmeric since it is deepana and pachana. In Ayurveda deepana means that it increases tissue agni (metabolic activity). Pachana means that it reduces the body toxin called aama.
- Turmeric promotes healthy digestion
- As a potent antioxidant it reduces the effect of aging and keeps cells functioning optimally.
- As an anti-inflammatory agent, turmeric reduces body aches as well as the pain of osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Turmeric is excellent immune booster as well as antimicrobial.
- Turmeric is phenomenal support to the brain and nervous system. Did you know that turmeric when properly consumed helps prevent Alzheimer disease? Here is a great research article on turmeric to further sharpen your mind.
- Ardraka (Ginger) is a phenomenal spice to cook with on a regular basis to maintain proper digestion, metabolism and reduce inflammation. In the future I will also write in depth about ginger’s medicinal properties. If you really want to read up right now, click here for a great article.
- Lavanga (Clove) In Ayurveda clove is classified as Kaphapittahara (pacifies kapha and pita).
- I almost always cook my rice with about 5-10 cloves to reduce the kapha qualities of rice.
- Krushna aarshapa (black mustard seeds) keep the digestive system at optimal function since it is categorized as vatakaphashamak and keeps kapha and vata balanced. However it can create too much heat and aggravate pita, so use with respect.
- I always cook with more mustard seeds in the winter time to keep my kapha levels normal. Plus it is great for the skin, heart and spleen.
Ready to try a kapha pacifying Ayurvedic khichdi recipe? Here you go.
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1 cup rinsed red lentils
- 1 cup chopped organic celery
- 1 cup chopped organic carrots
- 1 chopped yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger root
- 8 whole cloves
- Cook 1 cup basmati rice and 8 whole cloves in 2 cups filtered water in a rice cooker till done.
- In a sauce pan add ghee, turmeric, fennel, cumin, black mustard seeds, black pepper and ginger. Cook on medium heat 5 minutes stirring frequently. Then add 1 cup rinsed lentils and onions in 3 cups water. Cook together for 20 – 25 minutes till lentils are soft.
- Steam celery and carrots in a separate pan 5 – 15 minutes till desired softness.
- Stir all ingredients together and serve hot.
- I prefer to cook the rice separate from the lentils and vegetables so I can better control the quantity of rice versus lentils and vegetables.
My favorite local restaurant that serves khichdi is The Blessing. They always make their food with love ❤️.
To learn more about classes I offer on Ayurveda, wellness, yoga, meditation visit HealthierVibrations.com.
Dr. Christie Smirl has over 25 years of medical experience. She completed a Doctorate of Ayurvedic Medicine from American University of Complimentary Medicine as well as Nurse Practitioner and Master of Science from Loma Linda University. Dr. Christie is also an E-RYT 500 Yoga Teacher Trainer YACEP, Reiki Master/Teacher, Tantric Energy Healer and Musician.