Krishna Village guests are blessed to have meals provided by the hard working devotees at the New Govardhana ISKCON Temple every day, cooking nourishing and unbelievably tasty offerings to whomever shows up around the table. Undoubtedly one of the highlights however is breakfast, with two staple dishes competing for the most popular every day: kitchari and porridge.
These two foods couldn’t be more different – one sweet, one savoury, one very Indian in tradition, and one more seen as a Western or European staple. The basic of food in the Hare Krishna tradition is the ancient Indian science of Ayurveda – which translates from Sanskrit to the knowledge of life or longevity.
Applying an Ayurvedic approach to your life looks to reverse serious illness by understanding how and why we become ill, and it’s a philosophy that embraces nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, rest, relaxation, meditation, breath or pranayama and medicinal herbs. Food is obviously a major influence on our health, and one of the key ways that Ayurveda can be instantly accessed for most people.
Which of course brings us back to kitchari and porridge. Kitchari could have the edge over porridge in the question of which is the supreme breakfast food, as kitchari is a complete food. A combination of rice, split mung lentils, some spices and vegetables cooked together with water into a thick soup, kitchari is a one pot dish that is hearty and nourishing. The combination of rice and lentils when cooked together make a complete protein, ensuring that sustained energy is released all day – perfect for those long days on the mat for our trainee yoga teachers.
Porridge is pretty close to kitchari in utilising the health benefits of whole oats, with their known properties in reducing cholesterol, being full of valuable carbohydrate, minerals and beta-glucan fibre. When the oats are left whole and cooked into a porridge this goodness is retained, add in fresh fruits, sweet dates, fragrant earthy spices like cinnamon and cardamom, and creamy coconut, its close to heaven in a bowl, and the perfect yogi fuel.
Luckily there isn’t any need to choose a favourite – both are available at the Temple in ample quantities and make a 5am morning yoga class that much easier to get up for knowing that a hot breakfast full of love is waiting on the other side.
Both Kitchiri and oat porridge are easy to make, if you want to try them out at home click here for the recipes.