Cooking has always been something I’m passionate about, from a very young age. I think I get it from my mom, who was a professional baker for many years in Houston, selling her cheesecakes to restaurants all over town. To this day, I still think she makes the best cheesecake in the world, regardless of how simple the secret recipe is.
Honestly, I’m a true foodie with an adventurous palate and insatiable appetite for good food… thank goodness I’m in the line of work I’m in… otherwise I’d be in trouble. One way that yoga has really impacted me is how it’s affected the way I think about food, cook, and eat. I’m a firm believer in eating healthy, and finding as many ways as possible to make that more enjoyable, and that’s been even more important since I’ve realized how sensitive my digestive system really is… including my intolerance to wheat… It’s amazing how common that’s becoming. Or maybe it’s been happening for generations, and we just didn’t know it.
Because of my sensitivity, and my love of cooking, I’m always searching for ways to keep the food I cook and eat interesting, flavorful, and healthy, all while being conscious of locality and sustainability. For that reason, probably one of my favorite simple dishes to cook on a weekly basis is Khichdi, and Indian mixture of mung dal and basmati rice mixed with any good-looking local veggies I find at the farmers market or grocers. It’s a wonderful thing to cook if:
- You have sensitive digestion
- You’re having other stomach or digestive-related issues
- You’re looking for a quick, balanced meal that will last you a few days in leftovers
Often times, Ayurvedic practitioners (the medicinal siblings of yoga practitioners) will prescribe a very simple version of this (perhaps just the rice and mung beans) to people who are sick, recovering from illness, or cleansing the body because it requires very little energy to digest well.
So here’s a rough recipe of how to make it. More often than not, I go by feel, and I suggest you experiment a little too.
For the masala (spice mix): these are just basic estimates. You can play with different amounts according to your own tastes
In one bowl:
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
In another bowl:
1 tsp tumeric
1 finely chopped small green chile pepper
1 tsp fresh ginger
2 bay leaves
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup of basmati rice, well washed
1 cup of mung dal or whole mung beans if you can’t find dal (split beans), washed
asafetida (if you can find it, usually at HEB or Indian grocers) OPTIONAL
1 tbsp of garlic-ginger paste (you can find it in the Indian/Asian sect. of HEB)
roughly ¼ cup of black raisins
¼ cup of chopped cashews, toasted in a sauté pan
half an onion, finely chopped
whatever veggies you might like: I often use yellow squash, zucchini, mushrooms, carrots, sweet potatoes, daikon radish… start there and experiment a little. Dice the veggies
for starters: 3/4 cup sweet potato, 3/4 cup zucchini, 1/2 cup cremini mushrooms, sliced)
Plain unsweetened yogurt
Mango pickle (find at Indian grocer or Central Market) IMPORTANT CONDIMENT!
METHOD: If you bought whole mung beans, boil them in twice the amount of water for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat, cover, and let them sit for a half hour to soften. The dal (split beans) doesn’t need to be boiled
Put 2 tbsp of vegetable oil, or ghee (Indian clarified butter) into a pot over high heat, and when hot, add the first cup of spices and stir for 15 seconds, until they become fragrant and the mustard seeds begin to pop. Then add the second bowl of masala ingredients followed by just a dash of the powdered asafetida, and continue to stir for another 15 seconds. At this point, add the garlic-ginger paste
Add in the onions and mushrooms, reduce the heat to med-high, and sauté for 2-4 minutes. Then add the mung beans, rice, raisins and sweet potato and let it continue to sauté for another minute. Add four cups of water, cover, and bring to a simmer. Then reduce the heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes. Then add the diced zucchini (since it cooks more quickly) and cook another 15 minutes. Take off the heat and serve! Sprinkle your serving with a few toasted cashew pieces
I like to eat my khichdi with plain yogurt and mango pickles, and it makes all the difference. The flavor combo is just awesome! I hope you enjoy. If have any questions, please put them in a comment.
Love and peace,