Rice Porridge Recipe
Basmati rice is a flavorful, aromatic grain that has long been a staple in Ayurvedic cooking. Easily digestible on its own or when used to prepare kitchari, you can make your rice even softer and easier on agni (digestive fire) by transforming it into a mushy and nourishing rice porridge.
Inspired by the traditional Indian meal congee, or kanji, this soupy rice dish is soft, creamy, simple to make, and gentle on digestion. Like kitchari, congee is popular in Ayurvedic cooking and across many cultures, and this particular version is especially appealing any time you want to give your agni a break, especially during an Ayurvedic cleanse.
Balancing for pitta and vata, this meal can slightly increase kapha if eaten in large amounts because it absorbs large quantities of water. Those with high or imbalanced kapha might try substituting rice for a lighter, more kapha-friendly grain, like quinoa. (If you don't know your Ayurvedic constitution or state of balance, take Banyan's dosha quiz.)
This recipe calls for cumin seeds, but you are welcome to use any of your favorite digestive spices, such as ginger, cinnamon, or coriander. For a sweeter porridge, for example, try cinnamon instead of salt and cumin, and top it off with a dash of honey (just be sure to add the honey after the rice is removed from heat and before serving—Ayurveda doesn’t recommend cooking honey).
Remember that your food will absorb the energy of your mindset and state of being while cooking, so you can assist your healing process by bringing good intentions and a sense of presence to your kitchen.
- 1 cup white basmati rice
- ½ tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
- 1 pinch of cumin seeds
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- 3–4 cups of hot water
Wash rice thoroughly. Heat the ghee or oil over medium heat and sauté the cumin seeds (or other spices) for a few moments until the aroma starts to come out.
Add the rice and mix well, then add water. (Use 3 cups of water if you prefer a thicker porridge, or 4 cups if you prefer a soupier consistency.)
Turn down the heat to very low, cover, and simmer. For stickier rice, leave the lid ajar and stir frequently; this agitates the starches in the rice, helping it break down and become sticky. You may need to add a little more water if cooking with the lid off.
Cook for about 20 minutes, until the rice is tender. If desired, add more water and simmer for an additional 2–3 minutes. Then add salt, stir, and enjoy.