Rasam (South Indian astringent soup)

Posted by on October 15, 2016 in Food.

rasam

Rasam is a typical South Indian soup. It is warming, helps with digestion, and very nice to take in cold weather. According to Ayurveda its primary taste is astringent which is necessary to end the digestive process in any meal. We should start a meal with the sweet taste and end with the astringent taste.

Main Ingredients:

  • 1 lemon sized tamarind (approx 1 tbsp tightly packed seedless tamarind) + ½ cup warm water
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • ½ tsp of asafoetida powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds/
  • 2-3 dry red chilies, broken and deseeded
  • 2 tsp chopped coriander leaves
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • Salt as required

To be powdered to a semi coarse consistency:

  • 3 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp whole black pepper
  • 6-7 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

How to make the recipe:

  1. soak the tamarind in ½ cup warm water for 20 to 30 mins.
  2. squeeze the pulp from the soaked tamarind. strain and keep aside.
  3. in a dry grinder or coffee grinder, powder the cumin seeds, whole black pepper and garlic to a semi fine consistency.
  4. heat oil in a pan. crackle the mustard seeds first.
  5. add the curry leaves, red chilies & asafoetida and fry for some seconds till the red chilies deepen their colour.
  6. temper on a low flame so that the spices don’t burn.
  7. than add the tomatoes and sauté till the tomatoes soften.
  8. then add the semi coarsely powdered cumin, black pepper and garlic along with   turmeric powder.
  9. stir and then add the tamarind pulp. add water and stir well. season with salt.
  10. just let the whole Rasam come to a gentle boil uncovered.
  11. then switch off the fire and add chopped coriander leaves.
  12. serve Rasam hot, plain or with steamed rice.

Healthy food is Correct food!

Posted by on July 2, 2016 in Ayurveda (General), Food, Uncategorized.

Food is Medicine and Medicine is Food! Healthy food becomes healthy provided it is correct, compatible, suitable etc for each individual. This is for the simple reason that each and every one of us are uniquely different and therefore need to have our own personalised daily life-style activities starting with food. This is Ayurveda; the knowledge of living our life correctly according to our own constitution (prakriti/vikriti). What suits one need not have to suit the other! 

Millet – benefits and how to cook

Posted by on November 22, 2015 in Food.

Millet is a highly nutritious seed (rather than a grain) that is gluten free and packed with minerals and vitamins. It has been used for centuries in China, India, Greece, Egypt and Africa, in everything from bread to couscous, and as cereal.

 

Millet

Millet

Research has indicated the following key benefits of including millet in your diet:

  • It acts as a probiotic to feed microflora
  • It provides serotonin to calm and soothe
  • It helps to hydrate the colon for more regular bowel movements
  • It is a great energy source so ideal for athletes
  • It is a complete protein source when combined with legumes (as in the Kitchadi recipe below) and therefore is ideal for vegetarians
  • It has a high amount of fibre and digests easily
  • It is has a low glycemic index so is a very suitable food for diabetics as well as for those with high cholesterol
  • All millet varieties show high antioxidant activity

Below are some guidelines of how to prepare plain millet (very suitable as a rice substitute) and also a millet Kitchadi (which you may need to experiment with to get the taste and consistency you like).

Millet can be used by all Dosha but is most suitable for pacifying Pitta and Kapha.

 

Making plain millet (as a rice substitute)

Look for barnyard millet if available, otherwise any millet will do
Wash thoroughly
Soak for one to two hours
Put in a non stick pot or rice cooker and add two cups of water for each one cup of millet
Add a pinch of salt
Bring to boil and keep stirring, then reduce heat, cover with a tight fitting cover and let it cook over low heat for ten minutes without disturbing it
After ten minutes turn off the heat and let it rest for 10-15 minutes to cool down
Before serving use a fork to fluff up the millet so it doesn’t stick together

 

Millet Khichdi

Ingredients needed:

  • Onion – 1 (diced)
  • Green chilli -1, slit slightly
  • Ginger – 2 inch piece scrape off skin, chop finely and make into a paste
  • Millet – 1 cup
  • Moong dhaal split yellow variety – 1/2 cup
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Salt as needed to taste
  • Vegetables and greens (to suit your Dosha) chopped
  • Water – 3 ½ cups

For the seasoning :

  • Ghee – 1 Tbsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dhall – 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds -1/2 tsp
  • Whole black peppercorns – 10
  • Dry Red chilli (whole) – 1 piece
  • Asafoetida (Hing powder) – 1/4 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 12 leaves

Preparation:

  1. Chop all the vegetables into medium sized pieces (half or three quarter cook first depending on how big the pieces are and how long they take to cook)
  2. Wash and soak millet and Moong dhall separately for 2 hours or overnight
  3. Heat ghee in a deep frying pan. When ghee is hot, add mustard seeds, when it splutters, add urad dal, cumin seeds, red chillies, Asafoetida (Hing), black pepper and curry leaves (fry quickly and be careful not to burn)
  4. Add chopped onions, ginger, green chillies and saute until onions turn golden brown
  5. Then add all the vegetables, turmeric powder, salt needed and saute for 2-3 minutes or until 3/4 cooked
  6. Drain the water from the millet and moong. Then add the millet and moong together into the frying pan and stir in well
  7. Then add the water and add salt to taste or according to Dosha and bring to the boil. Then cover fully and reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. Do not open cover in between
  8. After ten minutes, turn off heat and let settle for 15 minutes
  9. Then use a fork to fluff up the mixture and serve to eat
  10. This could be eaten with some Indian spiced pickles and goes well with some appalam (the South Indian version of the Pappadam) according to Dosha

Dosha Notes: For Pitta omit the chillis and don’t eat the peppercorns. For Vata use 2 Tbs of ghee

 

Moru (salted lassi)

Posted by on June 28, 2015 in Food, Uncategorized.

This is a delicious drink that makes a simple, nourishing and tasty meal. If properly made and consumed regularly it will help tremendously with both digestion and absorption in the stomach and intestines.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh yoghurt*
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp ground fresh ginger
  • 1 sprig (about 10 leaves) crumbled fresh or dried curry leaves
  • Coriander leaves – half a handful of fresh leaves
  • Pinch of salt

 

Curry Leaves

Curry Leaves

Directions to make:

  • Mix water, yoghurt, ginger, and salt to taste and whisk until the cream breaks and foam forms
  • Chop other ingredients into small pieces and add to this mixture and stir thoroughly

To serve:

Either drink as a pre-digested drink or mix over rice and mash together to make it like a light rice porridge. Serve as it is or you may choose to have a little Indian pickle on the side (so long as it is correct for your Dosha).

Dosha guidelines:

  • For those of a Kapha constitution use goat yoghurt and you could also use some chilli to make it spicier. Replace rice with millet.
  • Pitta can serve with either rice or millet

*Those familiar with making yoghurt at home can use fresh home-made yoghurt

Fresh Yoghurt

Fresh Yoghurt

 

Barley

Posted by on June 8, 2015 in Food.

Barley is a whole grain rich in vitamins and minerals and can be easily added to dishes such as soups, stews, and casseroles or used as either a main or side dish on its own. It can even be made into breakfast dishes. It is an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fibre, and is low fat and free of cholesterol. It will keep you feeling satisfied for longer than other grains and is known to help regulate sugar levels.

barley

Barley is very suitable for Kapha Dosha and can make a good rice substitute for those with a Kapha aggravation. It is also suitable for Pitta Dosha, and Vata Dosha can take occasionally. It is diuretic, demulcent, and laxative in quality and is soothing to digestion. It isn’t mucous producing and is relatively light to digest.

Barley flour can be used in bread making, and barley water is a very nourishing and cooling drink.

Here are a few simple suggestions to introduce barley into your diet.

  • Barley in a vegetable soup. Slow cook and add vegetables to suit your Dosha
  • Barley as a risotto
  • Barley powder can be used in bread making to replace wheat
  • Barley can be blended with water to make a cooling drink in the summer time

We will be adding some recipes to this blog over the coming weeks and welcome your suggestions and questions!

 

Barley and Pumpkin ‘Risotto’

Ingredients:

  • 1T Olive oil (or Dosha suitable oil of your choice)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 400 mls of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup pearl barley (rinsed)
  • 2 cups cubed peeled pumpkin or butternut pumpkin
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

To prepare:

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat
  2. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened
  3. Add the stock, water, barley and squash; bring to a simmer
  4. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the barley and squash are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed (about 50 minutes)
  5. Add parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper; mix gently.

 

IMG_4374[2]

Barley and Pumpkin ‘Risotto’

Barley Water

This is a cooling drink that is suitable in the hotter months. Barley is better suited to Pitta and Kapha constitutions so this drink could be taken in greater quantities by them. However, Kapha should not take too much liquid and are generally advised to take their fluids mostly as plain water (and not chilled). They could take one cup of this drink though in hot weather.

Method 1 (using whole barley grains):

  • 1/2 cup barley soaked overnight in water
  • add 1 L water and a pinch of salt and bring to the boil
  • simmer until soft for about 30 mins or so
  • strain the water from the barley
  • keep in the fridge

Method 2 (using powdered barley):

  •  4 heaped dessertspoons of barley powder
  • 1 Litre water
  • put in blender, blend and then pour into a jar of bottle to keep in the fridge
  • store in the fridge and drink to keep cool when the climate is very hot

Dosha guidelines:

  • Vata could take occasionally in hot weather and add a little extra salt and honey
  • Pitta can take the drink cool/cold and add some rock sugar or molasses for sweetening
  • Kapha can add some hot water to make the drink lukewarm and add a little honey to sweeten
Barley water - serve with molasses or honey

Barley water – with molasses or honey

In Ayurveda, Food is Medicine and Medicine is Food. Food can only be considered healthy if it suits your constitution.

 

Ginger Drink

Posted by on May 29, 2015 in Food.

Ginger is aromatic, carminative, and a stimulant for the digestive system. It is often used in conditions such as cold and flu, indigestion, vomiting, headaches, abdominal pain, gas, cramps etc. It’s taste is pungent and sweet

It is best for Kapha (particularly when it is older and drier) and also suitable for Vata. Pitta is recommended to take fresh young ginger which is not so pungent.

To make it easier to use, blend it into a ginger juice first for drinks or puree before adding to recipes.

IMG_4327

 

Making the ginger juice:

  • Take fresh young ginger root (4-5 inches or 10-15 centimetres in size), clean/scrub/scrape the outside, cut into small pieces, put into blender and add two cups of water and blend until creamy ginger juice is formed
  • Strain this and squeeze out whatever juice is remaining in the pulp, use a spoon to squeeze the pulp (try not to allow hands to touch as it will become contaminated quickly)
  • Keep this ginger juice liquid in a container and store in the fridge (you will notice a starch like formation and sediment forming at the bottom, this is the starch from the ginger, don’t use this or stir it in but let it be and when the liquid is close to finished then throw this away)

making ginger tea (3)

Making the ginger tea:

  • Take normal black tea and add two teaspoons of ginger juice per cup (or more to taste) and add required amount of boiling water and allow to sit for around 3-4 minutes
  • Alternatively have as ginger tea without black tea, just add to hot water
  • A little honey can be used to sweeten (best for Kapha) but only add once the liquid has cooled (honey becomes toxic if heated). Pitta can use cane sugar, and Vata can use a little salt and/or honey.

 

Ghee Recipe

Posted by on May 18, 2015 in Food.

According to Ayurveda, the ingestion of Ghee increases the most refined element of digestion, Ojas, which is the underlying basis of all immunity. Although not recommended for those with high cholesterol it is otherwise suitable for all Dosha though Pitta and Kapha must minimise their use of Ghee (and any oil they use).

Ghee is understood to increase the digestive fire but to do so without aggravating Pitta, instead it has a cooling and soothing effect. It is particularly beneficial for use by those with an aggravated Vata Dosha, and can be used both internally and externally.

 

making butter and ghee (6)

How to make ghee:

  • Take unsalted cultured butter out of the fridge and let it soften
  • Put it in a small non-stick pan with very low heat to let it gradually melt
  • Once melted increase heat and let it start to cook and boil – the boiling is caused by the water in the butter
  • Keep stirring it and keep it between simmering and boiling, control the heat so you don’t burn the oil. As the boiling reduces it indicates that the water is getting less so start to reduce the heat
  • Once the boiling and bubbling stops the water has gone and you will see a clear crystal gold oil and that is the ghee
  • Later after it cools you will see some residue settle at bottom – these are milk solids and milk fat
  • Once cool take a fine thin muslin cloth and tie it around the top of a glass jar and pour the ghee into it. Don’t touch for a couple of days, let it settle and it will emulsify. Keep it somewhere cool but not in the fridge. Slowly from liquid it will become solid
  • It becomes the best cooking medium once all the water is removed and is one of the only oils that doesn’t burn at high temperatures. It also has natural preservative qualities and will keep a long time without refrigeration, is rejuvenating and has medicinal qualities both as a food and on the skin

 

May June 13 (17)

Rice and Mung Recipe (Kitcheree/Kichadi/Kitchari)

Posted by on in Food.

Kitchari is a nourishing and easy to digest food and is an excellent protein source. It is great to use when fasting and when undergoing treatment and detoxification or when you just want a simple and quick to make meal that you know is good for you.

Make it a regular part of your diet – it is easy to adjust for your taste and Dosha, and it can make a great meal anytime of the day. Cook early in the morning and it is ready for breakfast and lunch (either at home or take it with you to work).

Below are suggestions for recipes based on the three Dosha but you can modify them to suit you. Just remember to always choose foods from the food list suited to your constitution.

ENJOY!
IMG_4120

Simple Kicheree Recipe for pacifying Vata

 Ingredients:

  • 1 c basmati rice
  • ½ c mung beans (without skin and split – yellow in color)
  • 4 tbs ghee
  • ½ tsp cumin seed
  • 1 tsp black pepper whole
  • 1 tsp urad dhall or black lentils (without skin and split)
  • 1 pcs dried chilly (whole)
  • ½ tsp asafetida
  • 6 pcs of fresh curry leaves
  • 10 pcs cashew nuts halved
  • salt to taste
  • rice cooker
  • small frying pan

 Preparation method:

  1. Wash rice and mung separately and when clean put in rice cooker together. Add 5 cups of water and 1/4 tsp salt. Start the rice cooker.
  2. Put frying pan on stove and set heat to high.
  3. Pour in ghee and wait till hot
  4. Then add the cumin and whole pepper. Wait till it ‘pops’ then add dry chilli, urad dhall, cashew nuts, curry leaves and asafetida. Fry until light brown. This will happen quickly. WATCH and don’t let it burn
  5. Then transfer all of this directly into the rice cooker where the rice/mung is being cooked. Stir, add little more salt to taste, stir and cover.
  6. Kicheree should be ready in about 10 to 15 minutes time.
  7. You can add some mixed vegetables when you are stir frying the spices if you like.
  8. Eat while hot with some South Indian spiced pickle and appalam (a south variation of the larger spiced papadam). You can also put some fresh coriander leaf on the top. Make sure you eat it warm.

 

 Simple Kicheree Recipe for pacifying Pitta:

Ingredients:

  •  ¾ cup of basmati rice
  • ¼ cup of mung beans (also known as moong dal – it is without skin, split, and yellow)
  • 2 T Ghee (make your own if possible)
  • 4 cups of water
  • Salt to taste
  • Cumin seeds (1 tsp)
  • Fresh ginger sliced finely or ground in a mortar and pestle (about 1-2 teaspoons)
  • Fresh Coriander leaves – about a handful
  • A few whole peppercorns (about 10, you can keep them aside when you eat but they’ll add to the flavour during cooking)
  • 5 or 6 fresh curry leaves (whole)

 Procedure:

  1.  Soak rice and mung beans for 10 to 15 minutes in medium sized saucepan (you can soak the mung beans longer on their own first if you have time)
  2. Pour away water and rinse once more then pour away the rinse water
  3. Add required water for cooking and a little salt and then place on heat to bring to the boil (once brought to boil lower heat, keep covered and simmer for 30 minutes or until completely cooked)
  4. While the rice/mung and water is cooking take a frying pan and heat the ghee
  5. Once hot add the cumin seeds and pepper corns and allow to ‘pop ‘ – make sure they don’t burn
  6. Add the ginger and curry leaf, stir in for a few seconds and then take the whole mixture and add to the rice and mung and stir in well and allow all to cook together. Stir occasionally while cooking to keep everything well mixed
  7. You can also cook in a rice cooker as with the previous recipe and add suitable vegetables if you like

 Serve:

  • When finished, immediately sprinkle about 10 chopped leaves of fresh coriander all over the top of the rice and keep it covered until ready to serve – this allows it to cook a bit and absorb the aroma of the coriander into the rice/mung mixture.
  • Eat everything except for the whole peppercorns
  • You may serve with a little Indian pickle eg sweet Mango
  • Sliced cucumber is also a good side dish for Pitta (in the hotter months)
  • Fresh unsweetened yoghurt is also good for Pitta (you may season with a little salt, chopped/grated cucumber and a few cumin seeds to make a simple form of raita)

Simple Kicheree Recipe for pacifying Kapha:

Ingredients:

  •  1 cup of basmati rice
  • 1 cup yellow mung beans (split, without skin, yellow in colour)
  • 2 T Ghee (easy to make yourself)
  • 6 cups of water (you may find you like to use more or less depending on the consistency of the kitcheree you like – you don’t want it too wet, remember Kapha needs to take their food light, hot and reasonably dry)
  • ½ cup water
  • Salt (enough to season rice)
  • Small pinch of turmeric powder
  • 5 whole cardamom pods
  • 5 whole cloves
  • Cumin seeds (1 tsp)
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 piece of cinnamon bark
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Fresh ginger sliced finely or ground (about 1-2 teaspoons)
  • Fresh Coriander leaves (two handfuls – one to add when cooking, one handful for the end)
  • 10 or so fresh curry leaves (whole)

 Procedure:

  1.  Soak the mung beans for at least 10 to 15 minutes (or longer). Wash the mung beans, add rice and rinse once together then add required water to cook, season with salt and add tumeric
  2. In a blender blend the ginger,1/4 cup water and coriander until liquefied (this is an optional step but is very nice, alternatively you can just warm the ginger in the spices before adding to the rice and mung)
  3. In a large saucepan or frying pan heat the ghee then add the cumin, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, peppercorns and bay leaves and stir until fragrant, be careful not to burn but get the spices hot and they should crackle and pop a bit, add the curry leaves last and stir into the spices
  4. Reduce heat and add the blended liquid carefully and slowly to the spices and stir all together and cook for a few seconds
  5. Add this mixture into the rice and mung as it is cooking and mix in very well
  6. Once boiled turn the heat down very low, lightly cover and cook slowly until the mung and rice are soft and thoroughly, about 30 minutes or so (you may stir occasionally while cooking to keep everything well mixed)

 Serve:

  • After cooking, immediately sprinkle about 10 chopped leaves of fresh coriander all over the top of the rice and keep it covered until ready to serve. Eat everything except for the whole spices
  • Serve with a little spicy pickle or simply eat as it is (make sure it is hot in temperature)