Updated: Feb 17
Every January 14th, there is a celebration of LIGHT and the northern movement of the Sun, which is when solar power starts increasing (reaching its height in mid-July).
It is called Makar Sankranti in the Vedic spiritual tradition, and also known as Kitchari Sankranti.
This date is a very auspicious one on which to begin new educational endeavors, particularly ones that are spiritually oriented.
The sun has a very special place in Vedic spirituality. It is the source of all of life. Ayurveda reveres the sun as a symbol of health, wealth, power, creativity, joy, spiritual illumination, and abundance. The ancient teachings of Ayurveda reveal how our recommended daily routines
revolve around the sun.
The sun is connected with the fire element, and, according to Ayurveda, the strength of the fire element within your body is responsible for your digestion. Healthy digestion is the key to good overall health. There’s a direct relationship between the strength of the sun in the sky and the strength of your digestive fire, which is like an inner sun. Ayurveda recommends eating your largest meal around noon, as that’s the time of the day when the sun is strongest.
Eating kitchari, which has a beautiful sun colored tone to it, is one of the BEST recipes for healing your digestion and cleansing your body, giving you a wonderful, fresh start to set new resolutions and intentions for your spiritual growth.
Lord Ganesha, the elephant headed remover of obstacles, works closely with Goddess Lakshmi (the bestower of health and wealth of all kinds, including the wealth of virtues that comprises your character). He is a great deity to call upon for overcoming obstacles of all kinds at the start of any new undertaking - something we all can sure use at the beginning of the new year, and anytime we seek transformation!
1/2 cup white basmati rice (or quinoa)
3 cups water, plus more if needed
1/2 cup urad dal (black gram - or yellow mung dal)
1/2 cup green or yellow mung dal
Himalayan pink rock salt
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
7-10 curry leaves
4 teaspoons ghee or coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (optional)
1/4 teaspoon fresh chipped ginger (optional)
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds (optional)
1/4 teaspoon hing (asafoetida - optional)
2 1/2 cups (approx.) of your choice of seasonal veggies, such as: carrots, sweet potatoes, yam, squashes, winter melon, asparagus, fennel root, green beans, leeks, okra, parsnips, pumpkin, rutabaga, spaghetti squash, turnips
fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped, for garnish
Rinse the rice and dal, then add to a medium saucepan. Add enough water to cover the rice and dal by 1 inch and soak for 3 to 4 hours if possible (or at least 30 minutes). It is ideal to soak urad dal and kidney beans overnight since they are heavier lentils.
Place the pot on the stove over high heat. Heat until it boils, then reduce the heat to low. Add the rock salt and turmeric and cook, stirring occasionally, until it has a mushy consistency, 20 to 25 minutes. Add additional water if preferred, or cook until it becomes as dry as you like.
Place 2 teaspoons ghee in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and whatever other spices you choose to use. Cook until the seeds start crackling, about 10 to 15 seconds or less.
Pour the warmed ghee mixture into the pot with the rice and dal.
At the same time, add the spring veggies of your choice to a skillet with the remaining ghee and cook until soft. Add to the rice (or quinoa) and dal mixture and combine.
Serve with fresh cilantro for added flavor and digestive power.
Before you eat this delicious meal, take a moment to close your eyes. See if you can visualize the light of sun in your heart. Invite this light into your heart, to bless each and every aspect of your being.
To be an ambassador of this light, do also consider joining The Ancient Way's Wellness Ambassador Program starting March 26th, 2022, to spread the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda in your community.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ANANTA RIPA AJMERA is founder and CEO of The Ancient Way and Advisor of Ayurveda at THE WELL, a modern wellness club that brings together world-class doctors and master healers for a more balanced you. She is author of The Ayurveda Way, a compilation of 108 simple, doable practices for better sleep, less stress, optimal digestion and more.