Summer Soup (Kicharee)

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Summer kicharee is not only great for detoxification, but it is also a light summer soup perfect for the hot months of year. It is balanced in protein and can include as many local vegetables as you wish. As well, you can easily cook up a big batch to eat over three days, or freeze for longer, so your time is spent in the garden or hiking, swimming and so on '" you get the idea!

Some are surprised with the lightness of summer kicahree and yet how it fills and satisfies them. Many eat it just for breakfast, or for one other meal, while others eat it exclusively for several days or weeks to cool and clean toxins from their bodies. Have fun with it and explore! Your imagination is the limit here.

Here is a sample recipe to follow. You can make it as is, substitute what you have on hand, or change it to satisfy your tastebud desires. To keep it a summer kicharee suitable for this time of year, use only seasonal local vegetables and add light protein (if desired). I give several possibilities here.

Basic Summer Kicharee Recipe

Makes approximately 6 to 8 two-cup servings.

1/2 cup barley (rice or quinoa)

1/2 cup green split peas (aduki beans)

1/2 cup yellow split peas (mung dahl)

1/2 cup lentils (other dahls)

2 quarts chicken stock

2 tblsp ghee

1 tblsp cumin powder

1 large onion

4 stalks celery

2 big carrots

garnish with 1/2 lemon per serving of soup and season to taste

Directions:

(Optional but wise first step: Soak grain and beans in water for 12 hours. Strain.)

Place grain and beans in stock and simmer for 30 minutes. In meantime, brown cumin in ghee, then add vegetables one at a time and sauté. Add this mix to grain and beans after the first 30 minutes and simmer all together for another half hour. Eat as is, or add various garnishes, additional protein and so on. Ideas are given below.

Ingredient Descriptions:

Barley is used because it is cool and eliminates dampness, both perfect for the summer heat and balancing the Spleen and Stomach organs, which flourish and rule this season (July to mid-September).

Split peas and lentils are lighter to digest than heavier beans and actually need less soaking time. All are alkalinizing.

Ghee, or clarified butter, is a pure oil that sparks digestion without being too heating. It also doesn't go rancid without refrigeration.

Cumin is neutral in energy and helps digestion.

Lemon is alkalinizing, cooling and helps digestion.

Substitution Possibilities:

GRAIN: Use brown rice or quinoa instead of barley. (Be sure to soak the brown rice for 12 '" 24 hours first to eliminate its outer kernel and make it far more digestible.) Both are cooling and alkalinizing.

 

BEANS: Use aduki beans (adzuki beans), mung dahl or mung beans. Aduki beans assist kidney function; June through July is when Kidney energy is lowest (this is the opposite time of year from the Kidney/Urinary Bladder time of year, in winter). Mung dahl and mung beans are cooling and detoxifying.

STOCK: You may use a different stock or water instead of chicken stock. Chicken stock is lighter than other stocks and provides additional protein that is easily digestible.

OIL: Try coconut oil instead of ghee. It is light, reduces fat accumulation, is more water soluble and so breaks down more quickly and is immediately used by the liver for energy (see upcoming blog on this!).

SPICES: Try cumin seeds instead of the powder, or also add coriander seeds or power and turmeric. Try other spices according to your individual health needs such as the following (all of which promote good digestion): basil (cooling), fennel (warming, moves Qi), ginger (warming), garlic (warming, anti-parasitical), onions (warming), mustard seeds (warming).

VEGETABLES: Onions, celery and carrots are always a good way to add flavor to a soup pot, but feel free to substitute or add other vegetables as desired. Ideas include: summer squashes, red bell peppers, eggplant, string beans, artichoke hearts, potatoes and tomatoes.

GARNISHES: Try adding yogurt, cilantro, parsley and/or gomasio (sesame salt).

PROTEINS: If you need or desire to increase the protein of this soup and provide more warming energy to your body, add any of the following (all are lighter proteins and easier to digest for the summer months): hard-boiled eggs, sardines or other fish, chicken or pork pieces, chicken sausage, or buffalo (very low fat for a red meat).

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