Spring Into Health with an Ancient Ayurvedic Recipe
Happy Holi! Also known as the "Festival of Colors," Holi is the Indian holiday celebrating the end of winter and beginning of spring as communities come together to rejoice in the change of season with good food, games and playfully covering each other in bright, colorful powder.
As the snow accumulated in winter begins to melt and rains soak the earth, you'll notice the earth+water kapha dosha qualities marking the arrival of Spring. The land is wet, the air is moisture filled and nature's rebirth is germinating and will soon bloom.
Just like the nature around us (the one we are very much a part of, as disconnected as we may feel) our natural bodies will mirror similar kapha qualities this season. While Spring brings more warmth, the season still has the heaviness of increased moisture that tends to feel slower than summer and fall. Runny noses, colds and seasonal allergies are abound as the air changes and showers release particles collected in the earth during winter. Our body's response and connection to the cycles of nature has also been researched, showing that almost a quarter of our expressed genes differ based on the time of year. This also affects our seasonal immunity and blood composition, helping determine how the overall immune system functions  and explains why certain times of the year leave us more prone to illnesses.
Spring's quality of liquifying can either eliminate the accumulated kapha or instead further aggravate it with the heaviness and denseness of earth. Depending on your seasonal routine and detoxifying tools during this change of season, this process can either be an event renewing that spring into your step or one that triggers health challenges.
If you're looking for the perfect Ayurvedic recipe for the season, keep reading...
Khichari, an Indian Superfood
One of our favorite (and tastiest!) methods of cleansing the body is preparing Khichari, a delicious Ayurvedic detox dish made from rice and legumes. Khichari, derived from the word “khicca,” is an Ayurvedic staple food mentioned in ancient texts dating back to the 14th century. You may have seen it spelled a number of ways (khichdi, khichri, kitchri, khichadi, or kitchari) due to its popularity as a healthy and easy to prepare meal.
Khichari is packed with nutrients, including protein, fiber, vitamins B1 and B2—all of which help keep your digestive system running smoothly. The combination of rice and lentils helps detoxify your body while keeping inflammation at bay with a number of spices rich in anti-inflammatory properties. Khichari is a great way to keep your immune system in tip-top shape, to help you detoxify and is also suggested by Ayurvedic practitioners for those looking to lose weight with nutritious recipes.
Ready to learn how to make your own Khichari? Check out the recipe below for your own spring cleanse!
- ⅔ cup long-grain white rice, such as jasmine
- ⅓ cup yellow split moong beans
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 2 green cardamom pods
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 sprig curry leaves (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon red chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
Combine the rice and moong and rinse several times, until the water that drains away runs almost totally clear. Add to a heavy-bottomed pot with 1¾ cups water and set over medium-high heat.
In another small saucepan, heat the ghee and mustard seeds. When the seeds start to pop, lower the heat and add the remaining ingredients, swirling them in the pan. Let the spices sizzle for under a minute, then carefully pour into the rice pot, along with the ghee. (Watch out: The fat may splatter).
When the water comes up to a rolling boil, give it a good stir, scraping at the bottom of the pot, then cover tightly and turn the heat down to low. Cook for 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the rice rest for 10 minutes before opening the lid. Fluff gently with a spatula. Taste, season with salt to taste and serve.