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At the heart of Ayurveda’s understanding of the human body is the principle of the three Doshas – Vata (movement), Pitta (transformation) and Kapha (structure). Although all three Doshas are present in and fundamental to every part of our body, taken as a whole the balance of these Doshas varies from one person to another. This leads to the understanding of different body-types related to the predominance of one or sometimes two Doshas.
Knowing your personal Doshic body-type helps you to choose foods that can keep you in balance and in good health.
Each food also has its own unique balance of Doshas. Some foods can increase, or aggravate a Dosha. Some foods can decrease or calm a Dosha. Some foods are naturally Tridoshic and have a balancing effect on all of the Doshas.
As each person sitting to eat can have a different body-type, it is tricky to cook a meal that has a balancing effect for everyone at the table. But it is possible to create a Tridosha meal that balances everyone’s Doshas, even though its separate ingredients are not themselves Tridoshic. Kitchari (meaning an all-in-one pot meal) is a traditional example of such a meal.
The following Kitchari recipe has a Tridoshic effect. It is well balanced in both taste and its effects on the Doshas.
(Sufficient for 2-3 people)
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 1 cup split mung dal
- 1 cup chopped french green beans*
- 1 cup diced carrots*
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 5 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 5 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cardamom powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 0.5 cup raisins
- 2 tsp rock or sea salt
- 1 bunch finely chopped fresh coriander
- Lemon or lime
*Can use broccoli and parsnips or any other green and root vegetable combination.
Wash both the rice and the mung dal.
Wash the greens beans and chop into 1 inch pieces.
Wash the carrots and dice into small pieces
In a saucepan, warm the ghee and add the mustard seeds, fennel seeds and cumin seeds.
Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the rice and mung dal and sauté for further 2 minutes.
Add the grated ginger, turmeric, cardamom powder, coriander powder, raisins, carrots and greens beans.
Stir and sauté for 1 minute.
Add 6 to 7 cups of water and bring to the boil.
Add the rock or sea salt and reduce to a medium-low heat.
Cover and cook until the dal and rice is tender – between 30 to 45 minutes.
During the last process, stir the pot now and then and check if you need to add more water to keep the Kitchari moist.
Before serving stir in some finely chopped fresh coriander.
Squeeze out the juice of the lemon or lime and allow each person to add their own according to their taste.