Fourteen years before I was practicing Oriental Medicine, a friend named Sam was experiencing a chronic, undiagnosed condition which prevented him from having the energy to even hold down a job. He had consulted with one of the foremost western practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine, Robert Svoboda. The treatment prescribed was primarily dietary, and it included the following recipe, which Sam shared with me.
The word "Kichadi" describes any dish whose base is rice and mung beans. Kichadi is made in infinite variations — for different tastes, and for different medicinal effects. This one is simple, and because of it’s delicious warmth and nourishing effects, it remains my favorite twenty years later. This recipe is extremely soothing and tonifying to fragile, dysfunctional digestive systems. It may be eaten daily and, if needed, more than once per day until the system is strong enough to handle other foods.
This recipe uses white basmati rice, which is quite easy to digest, as well as having a high nutrient profile. For those familiar with Indian cooking, it will be noticed that it uses an exceptionally large amount of asafoetida. Rest assured that this potent spice does not overpower the dish at all. In fact, I have never been moved to alter the spices at all.
So. Here it is for you to try. Perhaps you’ll still be enjoying this dish twenty years from now.
Soak the rice and dahl separately for at least an hour. Drain and rinse them well. Brown the cumin, coriander, turmeric, and asafoetida in the ghee. Stir the drained rice and dahl into the spiced ghee, and mix well for a minute. Add the water or broth, followed by salt, ginger, and cardamom seeds. Cover and simmer twenty or thirty minutes, until ingredients are soft and the liquid is absorbed.
Asparagus, arame, hijiki, carrots, or peas are compatible additions to this dish.
For maximum benefit, enjoy in an atmosphere of pleasure and gratitude! I encourage you to make batches no larger than will be consumed at one sitting.
As for my friend, Sam, a diet of nothing but this kichadi revived him to a fine state of health — until he returned to India…
2202 Menaul NE