In these waning days of autumn, eating warming foods and warming spices is a really good way to fortify yourself to be strong and healthy against the elements.  I’ve been down with a cold and have been trying to use this time as an opportunity to slow down and as part of that, cook and eat some really simple food.

According to Ayurvedic teachings, Fall is a time of increased Vata, or the wind / air element that exists in all of us.  Think about the wind blowing off leaves from the trees around and the dryness in the air (even in the Pacific Northwest) and you’ll feel a sense of the Vata force.  To protect yourself against Vata’s tendency towards speed, lightness (also dryness), coldness and with it nervous and anxious emotions, try to slow down, dress warmly and eat simple, whole foods to warm your organs, particularly your kidneys and lungs.

Here’s a super simple Khichadi recipe that I’ve adapted from India’s First Lady of Cooking, Tarla Dalal’s book Roz ka Khana.  I’ve pared down her recipe and used split moong dal instead of the tuvar dal (yellow lentils) she recommended as I wanted to make the dish really soothing for my tummy.   The cinnamon and cloves are both warming spices and add a really beautiful  and complex depth to the humble ingredients that come together here, while turmeric is such an essential immune booster and has wonderful antibacterial properties.

Hope you enjoy it.

Subtly Spiced Khichadi

1 cup brown rice
1/2 cup split moong dal (these are green/white and can be found at any Indian grocery store and also at T&T in Vancouver)
3″ piece cinnamon
2 cloves
1/2 tsp or less turmeric
Pure ghee

Combine the rice and dal, wash multiple times until water runs clear, then soak for a few hours.

Heat the ghee in a heavy bottomed pot or a pressure cooker.  When hot, add the cinnamon and cloves.  Let them cook for about a minute, to release their oils, then add turmeri, saute and quickly add rice and dal mixture.  Add about 4 cups of water, bring to a boil and let simmer on a low flame for 45 minutes to an hour.  If using a pressure cooker, close the lid, let it boil up and release steam in about 10 minutes, then allow it to simmer for about 10 more minutes.

You can top the khichadi with little bit of ghee and serve with a side of steamed greens for a delicious and satisfying meal.

namaste, thanks for reading.