Yes, there is a food out there that rivals chicken soup’s ability to heal the body and soothe the soul. This fabulously nourishing vegetarian stew is called kitchari.
Not only does it give strength and vitality, it improves digestion and assimilation, as well as being superbly grounding and comforting. It is also an easily digestible complete protein that dosn’t have the degenerative (tamasic) qualities present in chicken soup.
Kitchari is the combination of split, peeled mung dhal and basmati rice, cooked with lots of ghee (or oil) and digestive spices. It has numerous possible pairings of spices and vegetables, making this dish one with many possible incarnations. 🙂
Although kitchari is ideal food for postpartum rejuvenation, it is not reserved only for new mamas. Whether you have the flu, recovering from surgery, doing a cleanse, or simply eating a balanced vegetarian diet, kitchari is the Ayurvedic food of choice. Not only is it nourishing, digestible, and deeply satisfying, it is also easy to make (and inexpensive!). Because it is a one pot shot, I often cook kitchari in the slow cooker – highly recommended for postpartum!
Many years ago while I was in Ayurveda school savoring yet another bowl of delicious kitchari, I was brought back to my childhood memories of enjoying chicken noodle soup. It was in that moment that I realized the undeniable connection between the two. That hot broth full of gently sweet and savory digestible protein. I could feel it nourishing my cells as I slowly sipped it down. I remember that warm and deeply satisfying feeling it gave me. A feeling of comfort and love. I was very happy to make this connection and to realize there was a vegetarian equivalent to chicken soup.
Eating a vegetarian diet is preferred during the postpartum window because meat has a degenerative quality and is heavy on mama’s weak digestion.
I created this delicious kitchari recipe specifically for postpartum healing. It stimulates the digestive fire, soothes the nerves, aids in healthy elimination, as well as brings the body and mind back into balance. A perfect staple for your postpartum diet.
Kitchari ~ The Vegetarian Chicken Soup
- 1/3 C split peeled mung beans (dal)
- 2/3 C basmati rice
- 10 Cup water
- 4 Tbsp ghee (or unrefined sesame oil)
- 2 Tbsp cilantro
- 2 Tbsp shredded coconut
- 1 1/2 " piece peeled fresh ginger
- 2 " cinnamon stick
- 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
- 1/2 tsp clove powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- salt to taste
- Soak mung dhal and rice for a 3 hours to aid digestibility.
- Rinse rice and dal until water runs clear.
- Blend cilantro, fresh ginger and coconut with 1 cup of water until smooth.
- Add all of the ingredients to a heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Turn down to a simmer and cook for 2 hours, adding more water as needed.
- Add salt and additional ghee to taste.
- Final product should be soupy, with the rice and dhal broken down.