Most of you have tasted coconuts in some form before. The supermarkets are full of products containing coconut - from coconut water and coconut milk to coconut oil and beauty products. In fact, given how difficult it is to crack open a coconut, eating raw coconut isn't too common. However, eating raw coconut pulp is just as good, if not better, for us as it is full of fiber and contains an array of vitamins and minerals! This recipe includes shredded coconut pulp so let's first talk about the benefits of coconut.
Coconut meat is rich is several minerals, including selenium, phosphorus, iron and zinc but it is especially rich in manganese and copper. Both minerals are vital for our health - manganese supports enzyme function and fat metabolism and copper assists bone formation and heart health. Coconut is commonly known for its fat content and majority of it (around 89%) is saturated. The effects of saturated fats on our body have been subject of much controversy for many years. However, most recent research shows that some of the negative assumptions made about saturated fats may not actually be supported by science. Recent evidence suggests that saturated fat may not be directly linked to heart disease, and several studies have actually demonstrated the benefits of this fatty acid. Regardless of the research, you can consume the coconut pulp with confidence as most of the fats contained within it are medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are absorbed intact in your small intestine and used by your body to produce energy. Perfect. Another good news is that the coconut pulp is high in fiber. In fact, just 1 cup (80 grams) of shredded coconut provides 7 grams of fiber, which is over 20% of its recommended daily consumption. However, most of this fiber is insoluble, meaning that it doesn’t get digested. Instead, it works to move food through your digestive system and aids bowel health. Not a bad news either.
Ayurvedically, the properties of coconut are described as sweet in taste, cooling in energy and sweet in its post digestive effect on the body. This is why coconut is good for Pitta and Vata types but should be eaten in moderation by Kapha types. Coconut is said to improve strength and immunity, is nourishing for the body and causes weight gain. Coconut pulp is indicated for conditions such as gastritis, neuropathy, burning sensation in eyes, weight loss, bleeding disorders and gout. Coconut water is recommended for the urinary bladder conditions, said to improve digestive strength and acts as a cardiac tonic. Coconut milk is considered an aphrodisiac in Ayurveda and improves vigour, it improves strength and immunity, relieves anorexia and is useful for colds and coughs.
This kitchari recipe uses fresh shredded coconut pulp - just enough of it to help balance Pitta, in combination with cilantro, but not so much that it would increase Kapha. If you are struggling to get hold of fresh shredded coconut, I recommend going for a frozen version. I get mine from a local Asian store and it is perfect! In addition, this recipe uses cilantro (fresh coriander leaves), which can be easily purchased in any supermarket. Cilantro is known for its heat reducing and detoxifying properties so, in combination, these two ingredients work very well to help balance Pitta dosha.
GREEN COOLING MUNG DAL KITCHARI
PITTA BALANCING RECIPE
1 cup yellow mung dal
1 cup basmati rice
1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped fine
2 tablespoons unsweetened, shredded coconut
1 small handful cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 cup water water
3 tablespoons ghee
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 1/2 inch piece of a cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 cups water
Wash the mung dal and rice in three changes of water (or until the water runs clean). Soak the mung dal for a few hours, if you have the time, then drain. Alternatively, you can soak the dal in hot water for 20 minutes before cooking.
Put the ginger, coconut, cilantro and 1/2 cup water into a blender and blend until liquified.
Het the ghee on medium in a large saucepan and add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds, turmeric, salt and cinnamon stick. Stir a moment until seeds pop then add the blended items. Stir well.
Next mix in the rice, mung dal and the 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Boil uncovered for 5 minutes. Then cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar, turn down the heat to simmer and cook for 30-35 minutes, until the rice and dal are soft.
Recipe: Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing by Usha Lad & Dr Vasant Lad