In Ayurveda, digestive health is the source of whole body health. When your intestinal flora is well-balanced, symptoms like gas, bloating and constipation are rare and easily remedied. As a result, your ojas is stronger, leaving your body with better immunity. When this balance is disrupted, the reverse is true.
Ayurveda seeks balance in all things, so it makes sense that there is an ancient recipe that offers balance for your intestinal flora – kambalika. This soup, made with a base of takra, ghee, split mung and spices, is a great cultured food that is balancing for most everyone (an exception is if you have significant kapha imbalance and need to avoid dairy altogether). Have kambalika two to four times a week for a month if you’re recovering from past antibiotic use or whenever your digestion feels compromised. It will quickly and deliciously restore your healthy intestinal flora to their natural levels and strengthen your agni. After all, food is medicine.
One thing to remember when you are making kambalika is that what you see in the store as buttermilk is often a byproduct of butter making. That is not the same as takra, which is cultured buttermilk with the friendly bacteria we need. Use fresh takra that you make yourself (here’s a great source for buttermilk culture) to ensure that you’re using one with active cultures. We’ve included a recipe for takra below – it’s simple to make.
Try this kambalika soup, served with a side of grain and vegetables, at your next meal and find out how tasty it is to get cultured.
1 cup fresh takra (cultured buttermilk, see recipe below)
½ cup water
1-2 Tbs. split mung flour (grind split mung dhal in a blender or coffee grinder)
¼ tsp. fresh grated ginger
¾ tsp. mustard seeds
Pinch of asafoetida
Pinch of cumin seeds
Pinch of mineral salt
2 Tbs. ghee
4-5 sprigs fresh mint
Pour the buttermilk into a pan and add the water and ground split mung. Warm over low heat. You don’t want it to come to a boil or it will destroy the good bacteria.
Heat the ghee in a separate pan. Add fresh ginger, mustard seeds, cumin, asafoetida and salt. Cook over medium-low heat just until the aroma comes up (1-2 minutes).
After the buttermilk has warmed, but not boiled, add the ghee and spice mixture. Stir and let warm on low heat for a few minutes. Add more water for a thinner consistency.
Garnish with fresh mint and enjoy.
Takra (cultured buttermilk)
4 cups organic whole milk (raw is ideal)
1 package buttermilk culture
Pour the milk into a large container and add the buttermilk culture. Do not stir or shake, as the culture is delicate. Cover with a cloth that breathes and store on a countertop for 6 - 12 hours, depending on the temperature in the room. Leave the mixture until the buttermilk is as tangy and thick as you like it. In cooler weather it can take longer.