An Ideal Breakfast
In the evening place some water in a pan and soak at least 10 black raisins, 2-3 dates and some dried figs and apricots if desired. (Dried fruits should either be soaked over night . You can also soak a combination of any of the following seeds and nuts: sunflower and pumpkin seeds, blanched almonds, hazelnuts, shredded coconut, sesame and linseeds (flax). In the morning bring the water and soaked fruits etc. to the boil and add 2 tsp. cinnamon powder and 4 crushed cardamoms. Then pour in rolled oats and cook until soft. Experiment with adding different grains such as flaked millet, popped quinoa, amaranth etc. and try altering the flavor by adding 1 tsp. fennel seeds. To make the porridge creamier, use Oatly (oat milk), coconut or rice milk. If you like it really sweet, add any syrup of your choice (date, barley, rice, maple etc.), fruit spreads or hazelnut and almond butter.
Mung beans are less gas producing than other beans, remove toxins from the body and, when cooked with the suggested spices, stimulate the digestive fire. Soak the mung beans either overnight or for at least one hour before cooking. Heat sesame oil or ghee in a pan and add a teaspoon of turmeric powder, 2 pinches asafoetida (to take the gas quality out of the beans) and two bay leaves. (All ingredients are available in any Indian food store and most health food shops.) Discard the water from the soaked beans and add the beans into the pan with fresh water. To one part mung you need at least three to four parts water. Leave to bubble away for 30-40 minutes adding water as necessary. Slowly the beans begin to soften and break up. Continue to cook until all the beans are soft.
Whilst the beans are cooking heat some oil or ghee into another pan and add one heaped teaspoon of cumin and coriander seeds plus any other herbs or spices (except chilies) such as garam masala, black pepper, kokum etc. Sauté briefly and then add a finely chopped onion, some fresh root ginger and 2-3 cloves of garlic. Sauté until the onions turn golden brown and then remove from the heat. Once the beans are soft add the onions and some salt into the pan and continue to simmer for a further few minutes. Don’t add salt until the end as this makes the beans tougher and they would therefore take longer to cook. Serve with rice, fresh coriander leaves and ghee.
Ghee – Clarified Butter
To make ghee, use unsalted and good quality organic unsalted butter. Place the butter in a pan and let it melt and simmer on the lowest possible heat. In the beginning it will make a lot of noise, the butter will look thick and cloudy, and a foam will appear on the top. In the first five minutes occasionally give the liquid a stir to allow all the water content to evaporate, and then leave the liquid to continue simmering for a further 15 minutes. Slowly particles will sink to the bottom, the foam will settle on the top and in between the pure butter oil will become clear. The moment the sediment on the bottom starts to turn brown, remove the pan from the heat, skim off and discard the foam, and strain the liquid through a very fine sieve cheesecloth or muslin into a jar.
Don’t store ghee in the fridge: it doesn’t go rancid and will keep for months. Use it for cooking (ghee doesn’t burn as quickly as butter does) and you can always add a teaspoon to your food. ENJOY!
Khichadi is a simple stew of rice and split mung beans which is easy to digest and stimulating to the digestive fire.Soak the split mung beans for at least one hour before cooking. Heat ghee or olive oil in a pan and add cumin or coriander seeds. Then add some finely chopped onion, root ginger and garlic and sauté until golden brown. Stir in 1 tsp. turmeric powder, 1 pinch asafoetida, some black pepper and a few bay leaves. Take a cup and fill half with mung and the remaining half with white kolam or basmati rice. (One can also add any chopped vegetables that you have such as carrots, pumpkin, green beans, courgettes, asparagus etc.) Add the beans into the pan with min. four cups of water (more if you have added vegetables). In a normal pan you will need to cook it for about 30 minutes, adding more water as necessary
When it’s ready, ie. The beans have become completely soft, add a little salt and serve the dish with ghee and freshly chopped herbs. Experiment with different vegetables and spices to create different flavors.
Ginger water is the ideal remedy when you have a cough, cold or excess mucus accumulation in your throat and sinuses. Being hot in nature ginger has the quality to cut into and loosen mucus as well as stimulate your digestive fire so that the stomach can clear the mucus effectively. Due to this stimulating action on the digestion it is also the perfect drink to be taken either before you eat a meal or half an hour afterwards if your digestion is sluggish. Don’t drink it too regularly though as it might then increase pitta too much.
Cut 4-5 slices of fresh root ginger and place in a pan of water. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for at least 5 minutes. Strain into a mug and enjoy! If you wish to sweeten it with honey, add it only after the liquid has cooled to drinking temperature, as honey is not heat stable.
Digestive Tea for balancing weight and improving Digestion
Place 4 cups of water, 2 tsp. cumin powder, 2 tsp. coriander powder, 1 tsp. rose water, 4 crushed cardamom, 1 tsp. fennel seeds, 1 pinch black pepper, 1 pinch asafoetida and 2 slices fresh root ginger together in a pan and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 5 minutes, remove from the heat and keep covered for another 20 minutes. Filter and keep warm in a flask to drink regularly throughout the day.