Rice Pudding with Rose and Almonds
Rice Pudding is the creamiest, sweetest and life giving breakfast you can enjoy! This nourishing meal is recommended specifically to build ojas (energy container and immunity) especially in the winter season, when digestion is restored after intense cleansing or Pancha Karma, during certain stages of pregnancy and after giving birth. While we eat it warm to support digestive function it is sweet, heavy, cooling and unctuous but with the addition of the spices listed below supportive to digestion and can be used specifically to build tissue health, reproductive function, strength and longevity.
Pre-requisite for eating Rice Pudding
Yes you read that right. There is a pre-req to eating such a sweet, heavy delicious meal like Rice Pudding, or really anything with similar qualities. That is healthy digestive fire (agni). For us to use the sweet, oily tissue building nature of Rice Pudding we need to make sure our digestion is light, strong and stable enough to handle it. This is why after cleansing we work for a few weeks on building back digestive strength before moving into rasayana (rejuvenation practice) like eating Rice Pudding.
Signs of Healthy Digestion
If you are waking up in the morning feeling light, energized and hungry that is a good sign that you are ready to consume heavier foods. If you eliminate regularly, have a movement practice and follow general concepts of healthy eating most likely this is a great addition to your morning routine, especially during the winter season.
It’s important to remember that the Ayurvedic Diet is not about firm rules. It is about monitoring both your physical body and the world around you to reflect the desired experience of health and balance. There is nothing you CAN NOT have but there are ways in which we can consume food to allow it to become the best support for long term health. Since this starts with healthy digestion we can support the heaviness of the sweet taste is with digestive spices like cumin, carom, dill seed, fennel and coriander. We make a special Agni Spice Mix we can send to you or try making it yourself with our recipe.
Nibbling digestive herbs before or after indulging in sweet, heavy meals helps the body use nourishment from the sweet taste to promote tissue growth, strength and stability instead of heaviness, lethargy or weight gain. Consider these concepts before we move on to the recipe.
Making Fresh Coconut Milk for Rice Pudding
Use what is local! While we do have a dairy farm up the street our yard is filled with fresh and dried coconuts and we love this recipe with a creamy coconut flavor. Usually we make it with half coconut and half homemade oat milk but you can use what feels right to you. If you live in the tropics and making coconut milk is a new practice we tell you how on our Green Curry Boiled Breadfruit Recipe.
Which Spices are best for your Rice Pudding?
Ayurveda offers unique explanations of the karma, or action of foods and herbs on the body. If we are using Rice Pudding for therapeutic purposes it can be useful to understand how to serve ourselves with the recipe or know which is best serving others.
Roses are a magical flower. While they are bitter and cooling they also are pungent and sweet allowing them to stimulate digestion without heating up the body. This makes them balancing to all three dosha with an affinity to the blood, heart, intellect and reproductive system. They nourish the body and mind and are safe to be used in moderation for everyone. You may have noticed we have a love for roses and use their beautiful petals often in many of our recipes. If you grow roses and haven’t tried our Gulkand (Rose Preserve) Recipe we highly recommend it. You could even add a spoonful of Gulkand to the top of your Rice Pudding.
Cardamom has a unique effect apart from being both a dipana and pachana spice (stimulates digestion and supports digestions). It is anuloma, which means that it supports vata moving in its appropriate direction. There are 5 directions of vayu (wind or air) in the body. If you think about how anything is moving within your own bodily system wind, impulses, fluids and function can move in (respiration), up (burping), to extremities (circulation), diffusion (digestion) and down (elimination). Often particularly after cleansing we are working to make sure these directions continue moving properly so elimination in particular recalibrates to normal and regular bowel movements allowing toxins to be released from the body and for us to stabilize digestive fire. Cardamom as an anulomana helps restore apana vayu (the downward moving air) restoring digestive and elimination patterns. It reduces all three dosha (can increase Pitta in excess so keep to the recommended quantity), it supports the blood and increases sexual potency or shukra dhatu. This makes it an excellent addition to our Rice Pudding recipe for anyone looking to increase both digestive function and the tonifying, strengthening and building qualities of the body through all tissue layers.
Cinnamon is a wonderful addition to meals post cleansing when we are looking to keep agni (digestive fire) stimulated but also increase strength and the regenerative qualities of the tissue and bodily systems. Cinnamon reduces vata and kapha dosha, but can increase pitta in excess. It is best to use in the winter months and recommended to omit this in the recipe during late Spring and Summer when pitta dosha naturally increases with the heat of the sun. Being warming, pungent and sweet it supports the digestive, circulatory, respiratory, nervous and reproductive systems. It has an affinity for shukra and for those of you studying Ayurveda you may remember the connecting to building overall high quality reproductive tissues along with healthy ojas (life strength and immunity). The stimulating qualities of cinnamon make it one to avoid in pregnancy in excess, so for mamas to be omit the cinnamon or maybe sub the full stick for a sprinkle of cinnamon powder.
Saffron is both a dipana and pachana, which means that it increases digestive fire and improves the digestion itself. It has an affinity for the blood and reproductive tissues (rasa, rakta and shukra dhatus) and is balancing to all three dosha. The energetics of saffron are heating with a pungent and bitter taste, but because it is used in such small quantities it rarely effects the taste of food in that dramatic of a way. Due to the support of the circulatory system saffron is often used for skin conditions as it invigorates the blood. This is why it should be avoided during pregnancy as it can stimulate blood flow to the uterus, however when used after birth it can be supportive for postpartum care. As Rice Pudding is a delightful dish in prenatal and postnatal care it is important to know which variation to share with mamas when using Rice Pudding as a therapeutic addition to their diet.
Ginger is sometimes called vishwabheshaja, or the universal medicine as it is said to benefit everyone for everything. There is a slight distinction here as you all know ginger is quite heating. The reason that it’s praised as the universal healer is due to its strong affinity for the digestive system working to destroy toxins, improve agni (digestive fire) and rejuvenate the mind and body. This makes it a fantastic addition to foods after cleanse programs in particular when digestion is being built back up and it is essential to make sure the food is not heavier than the digestive capacity as it can create toxins in the body. Ginger can help burn any accumulated food keeping the system clean and ready for more. The ayurvedic evaluation of ginger goes one step further as dried ginger is called shunti and has an increased dry quality and pungency that can make it too stimulating for Vata and Pitta dosha, but can be used more regularly for Kapha. Fresh ginger is called ardraka (means moist) containing a sweeter taste and a milder warm (not hot) energetic effect to the digestive system making it more suitable for Vata and Pitta dosha. In the rice pudding we recommend only using fresh ginger to add a warm, sweet and nourishing quality to the dish. This would only be used during the winter and early spring months and omitted if there is any excess heat or burning sensations in the body or intensity of the mind signifying excess Pitta dosha.
Raisins can be a nice addition of nutrients especially if your goal in eating Rice Pudding is to build healthy tissues if you feel weak or post cleansing. It is no surprise we see them more frequently in winter meals as they as soft, sweet, strength building and tonifying to all three dosha. It is always recommended that raisins be soaked before use. We like to add them towards the end of the cooking process of the Rice Pudding, we soak them in warm water for about 5 minutes, strain and add when the rice is about half way done cooking.
With information overload these days we hear much confusion around what ayurvedic cooking or an ayurvedic diet actually is. While this dish can be enjoyed as food for everyone it is a powerful medicine when shared in the right time and prepared thoughtfully with proper herbs and high quality ingredients. Sometimes students think ayurvedic meals are just about Indian spices or cleansing. It is so much more. Ayurvedic cooking utilizes fresh local ingredients to reflect the balance of the season and your local environment. It offers insight to food combinations allowing food to be digested properly. Opposite therapy theory gives us clues whether to give warming or cooling meals, heavy or light and oily or dry to create balance in the body simply and with ease. When being used for therapeutic approaches to healing it offers details on the karma (action) of every whole food and herb so we can be clear on how to best serve the individual maximizing benefits, overall health and longevity. While this may seem overwhelming it is actually quite simple! This is the foundation of what we share both in our individual consultations and our professional training programs. If you are looking to learn more reach out! Ayurveda is for everyone and you can gain the power of self healing and knowledge of preventative healthcare that starts in your own kitchen!
For now enjoy the recipe! Let us know which variation you choose for yourself and your loved ones and why. We want to hear from you!