Cooking in Season - Spring
Spring is the season of new life and growth in nature, suitable to clear the body and mind from ama (toxins) accumulated during the long winter months for a healthy start into the new year. It is the time in which the dosha Kapha and the elements water and earth are dominating in nature as well as in our bodies. Our metabolism is slower hence toxins accumulate in the body. The respiratory system is producing more phlegm and the digestive fire (agni) is less strong. Ayurveda recommends eating smaller portions and exercising more. A diet suitable for the Spring season includes:
- light rice dishes like kitchary (see recipe below)
- light vegetables like spinach and kale
- less raw salad, since it is harder to digest than cooked food
- increased use of spices to stimulate the digestive fire
- a big glass of warm water with fresh ginger first thing in the morning to support detoxification, stimulate agni, and strengthen the immune system
Avoid heavy vegetables, like potatoes. Reduce the consumption of dairy products, sugars, refined carbohydrates and fatty foods since they all have a Kapha aggravating effect.
Ayurveda highly recommends gentle cleansing during Spring as an ideal time for undergoing Panchakarma. For more information about our ongoing Panchakarma retreat in India visit our Retreats in India section.
Kitchary - Annapurna Mata
Kitchary, a seasoned mixture of rice and mung dhal or lentils, is a primary element of an Ayurvedic diet. Both basmati rice and mung dhal have the qualities of being sweet and cooling with a sweet after taste. Together they create a very balanced meal high in protein, which is also tridoshic and easy to digest. Kitchary gives strength and vitality, nourishes all the tissues, and is the preferred food during fasting or Panchakarma. It aids detoxification, the regeneration of cells, and its healing properties have been used in Ayurveda since ancient times.
Ingredients for two people
- 1/2 cup of red lentils or yellow split mung dhal (ideally soak over night or for a few hours as it helps with digestibility, alternatively pre-cook for 20 minutes)
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1-2 tablespoons ghee
- 1 cup of small cut vegetables (cauliflower, carrots or kumera)
- 1 piece (size of fingertip) fresh ginger, pealed and cut into small cubes
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 pinches asafoetida (hing)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon rock salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1/4 teaspoon coriander (ground)
- 2 pinches nutmeg
- 1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed
- freshly chopped coriander or parsley
Wash rice and dhal well. In a saucepan over medium heat melt ghee and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and asafoetida. Stir a moment until the seeds pop. Add fresh ginger, vegetables, and rest of spices. Afterwards add rice, mung dhal, salt, and stir until well blended. Add the water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Turn down the heat and cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar. Cook until tender for about 20-25 minutes. Add lemon juice and sprinkle freshly chopped coriander on top before serving.