All posts filed under: Recipes

seasonal and dosha specific recipes, inspired by the wisdom of Ayurveda

The Summer Cooler | minty, cucumber, aloe & lime elixir

On those summer days when no amount of water seems to quench the thirst, there’s nothing more satisfying than a refreshing, minty beverage. A glass filled with a little sweet, a little tangy, and a whole lot of cooling hydration. To rebalance the five elements, nourish the tissues, replenish electrolytes, and pacify pitta dosha. During a season where mineral depletion and heat accumulation are common imbalances, reaching for a cooling mineral-rich drink can recharge the system, while reducing internal heat. Summertime well-being has a lot to do with the balancing the water and fire elements in the body. Staying hydrated and cool are essential practices in cultivating a balanced pitta dosha. To sustain energy levels and prevent imbalances related to dryness and heat. In a season when the body is prone to rapidly lose water and minerals, dehydration is a common imbalance. Depleting the tissues of vital nutrients and moisture. Dryness in the body can also play a role in imbalances related to blood pressure levels, the flexibility of the joints, muscles, and be one …

Artichokes with Crispy Garlic, Ghee & Sumac

After coming home with a bag of freshly harvested baby artichokes from Palo Alto Farmer’s Market last Sunday, I was reminded that some fresh produce still remains seasonal. With year-round access to our favorite fruits and vegetables, sometimes remembering whats in and out of season can be a little challenging. Strolling through the Farmer’s market was a lovely way to reconnect with nature’s seasonal gifts, the farmers, and sunshine. While remembering that produce like fava beans, cherries, peaches, fresh peas and artichokes don’t come by daily. Seasonal produce still exist!

Sesame Honey Ladoos (Balls)

Remember the sesame brittle candies wrapped in clear twisted plastic..often found at the check-out counter? These sesame honey balls from Divya Alter’s cookbook, What to Eat for How You Feel remind me of them. But without the sticky fingers and teeth. Since the beginning of winter, I’ve been wanting to make sesame “candies” from scratch. They’re the perfect, nourishing winter treat. Rich in immunity-boosting nutrients, healthy fat, anti-oxidants, and minerals. With a warming energy to balance with the cold season. Sometimes, it’s hard to wrap my mind around how a yummy “candy” can also be nutritious. Traditionally, sesame “candies” are made in the cold season. Often in the form of a laddu (ball) or as brittle (I love the diamond-shaped versions). Instead of honey or refined sugarcane, South Asian recipes most often call for jaggery, an unrefined sweetener that comes from sugarcane. It’s often given to kids melted on a chapati with ghee for their iron and mineral content.  A snack after my own heart. Jaggery is also used in nuts and seeds based spiced treats made specifically for women, post childbirth. …

Shredded Carrot & Lentil Salad

I think what I appreciate most about Indian/Pakistani salads is their similarity to a slaw.  They can be eaten as is,  a side, added to a wrap or the final topping on a bowl. Complimenting a meal or a bite, similar to a chutney or condiment. While retaining a hearty, crunchy freshness like a slaw. Since they last a few days in the fridge without wilting or losing the crunch factor, they can easily be made ahead. A handy convenience when time is of the essence. Salad-slaws can be a quick way to add a missing taste, quality or vegetable to a meal when applying Ayurveda food guidelines to eating.  Need a sweet, sour, astringent or bitter taste? Or something a little dry (aka crunchy) or light? Depending on the type of slaw, several missing bases can be covered at once. If I haven’t already said enough about why slaw-salads are awesome, here is one more thing. Slaw type salads aide and support digestion. A light fermentation process takes place from the salt and lemon or lime “dressing”.  Adding a …

Green Bean & Coconut Stir-Fry

Quick and easy with a flavorful aromatic punch pretty much sums up this string bean coconut stir-fry recipe from Chitra Agrawal’s new cookbook (read more here).  Any dish with shredded coconut always makes my eyes shine.  The chewy goodness sweetly balances the spicy flavor profile of this Karnatakan dish.  Adding a layer of complexity to a fairly simple dish.  The use of coconut is one of the things I appreciate most about cuisine from the Southern part of India. When I came across this recipe in Vibrant India, I knew it was one of the first ones I wanted to try.

Roasted Butternut Squash & Lentil Stew

The days when I craved butternut squash soup were long ago. A time when the sweetness did not overwhelm my taste buds and the heavy soup felt light.  An era I did not think would return.  Until I came across this Roasted Butternut Squash & Lentil Stew recipe in . A cookbook filled with Chitra Agarwal’s family’s recipes from the southern Indian state of Karnataka (click here to read my review). The combination of sweet and spicy ingredients immediately appealed to my current taste preference. Which is currently lingering between autumn and winter. When vata dosha is still center stage and kapha dosha begins to introduce itself.  A time when the grounding, earthy nourishment from the sweet taste is still integral to Ayurveda’s seasonal diet. While the pungent taste needs to take a step forward.  To counterbalance the start of the cold and wet season with its warming and drying qualities. A take on a traditional family recipe, Chitra, author of , blends butternut squash with red lentils.  Then spices it up with with a traditional …

Moong Daal in a Pot

Ghee-licious Moong Daal

Sometimes you’ve got to strip it all away and get down to the bare necessities. After six months of recipe testing, I was able to digest and implement this practice. Understanding that good food does not need to be complicated. The time and practice were well worth the experience.  Along with a ghee-licious recipe for moong daal, I love. You would think a girl who grew up eating daal every other week, could just whip up a  batch of soupy moong daal.  It would be easy breezy. Well…apparently, that wasn’t my case. Growing up moong daal was served like a dry curry. In which the integrity of the lentil remained. We ate this tomato based dish with chapati.  Sometimes rolled into a burrito. It was our road food. We also made other single soupy-style lentil recipes like tuwar and urad, but never moong. Hmmm—maybe it was a regional thing? I am not really sure of the why, but I do know there are a plethora daal recipes in South Asia. They vary from town to town, street to street, …

Peaches_Ghee_Coconut_Sprinkles

Caramelized Peaches with Cardamom-Coconut Sprinkles

What do you do when you pick up too many peaches? Carmalize them in ghee and sprinkle them with cardamom toasted coconut sprinkles, of course! White, yellow or donut shape, we’ll take one of each, please. Inspired by kela (bananas) ghee, a decadent weekend breakfast lovingly eaten with warm ghee’d up chapatis, we wanted to cook our peaches in a similar manner sans the chapatis. The end result was a keeper—perfect for breakfast, snack time or dessert. Not too heavy, nor too sweet, and with a little spice to make it extra nice. Happy Eating. Happy Digesting. 

Thyme for Coriander & Asparagus

I’ve been eating asparagus every week for the past 6 weeks and I am still loving it! With minimal prep and cook time, whether sauteed or steamed, these slightly sweet and astringent tasting spears are topping my spring list for the easiest green veggies. They’re so tasty too! Rich in the earth and air elements, foods with an astringent taste, like, asparagus, can bind and draw out excess from the body.  Whether it is ama (toxins derived from undigested food), fat or water, the astringent taste supports detoxification. Have you experienced urinating a bit more or longer after eating asparagus? In helping the body release excess water, combined with asparagus’ cooling energy, these delicious spears support reducing inflammation and puffiness, while helping to purify the blood. For individuals who tend to retain water or have accumulated excessive heat from the winter season, asparagus is spring’s natural detoxifier. It’s light and dry qualities harmonize with spring and prep the body for the summer. Mother Nature’s—she’s on it and one step ahead. Whether steamed or sautéed, the simpler the …

Zesty Fennel, Cucumber and Chive Salad

Over the past few years, fennel has a reserved spot my vegetable bin. Its versatility, carminative properties, and cooling energy has made it a weekly produce staple. When in season, I pick up a small to medium size bulb to incorporate half into a bitter-tart-sweet-slightly pungent juice, while using the stalk and fronds in homemade bone broths and the other half to roast with other seasonal veggies or shaved in a salad. From it’s seeds to flowers, fennel is used in many cultures around the globe. Commonly known as a digestive aid, fennel is cooling for the body. It is also a diuretic, helps with internal spasms and is considered a carminative herb. I wrote about the benefits of fennel if you would like to learn about it in more detail, click here. This week, I was craving a slaw-like salad. Something with a little crunch that felt cooling, was refreshing, with a touch of pungent and bitter tastes for balance and did not involve any lettuce. Apparently, all the ingredients also had to be green and white! I …

Smokin' Sweet Cranberry Chiptole Chutney

Smokin’ Sweet Cranberry Chipotle Chutney

With the craziness of the holiday season, I should have, could have, but didn’t post my cranberry sauce recipe in November. Ce la vie, at times. You do what you can do—right? It may seem out of season, but cranberries are still lingering around in the markets. If you love sweet, smoky and tangy flavors, you’re going to want to preserve a jar of this chutney, to take you through spring. If not, hold on to this recipe for next fall! Six years ago, I came across Chiptole Cranberry Sauce in Bon Appetit and have never looked back. The following year, I used it as my base recipe and added a little orange zest and increased the spices a bit. The flavor from the zest is not strong, but it adds a little complexity that makes it taste extra good. It’s hard to believe that was five years ago. To my surprise, this recipe is one of the few dishes that returns to the Thanksgiving table. every year. This cranberry chutney/sauce is a-mazing with turkey, but the sweet, spicy, garlicky, smoky flavors …

Rose-Mary Citrus Platter

It’s a Rose-Mary Citrus Party

Citrus season is in full swing in California. Local markets are filled with an abundant array of varietals, from juicy tangelos—don’t you just love the ring of it? To sweet ruby reds and blood colored oranges. On a cold winter’s day, walking through the citrus aisle warms the heart like a gorgeous sunset. The vibrant colors and invigorating scents activate the sluggish winter mind, while their sour taste activates digestion. As energizing as citrus fruits are, they are also heavy. All that juicy goodness, may be hydrating, but water can be weighing. Lucky for us, Mother Nature provides a little balance through the bitter pith and membranes. Bitter, one of the six taste in Ayurveda, is naturally detoxifying. In eating citrus with the membranes retained, the intended balanced nutrients are received—sweet with a little sour and bitter. In comparison to citrus juice, which can reduce fiber content and the bitter, detoxifying element. Juice also increases the serving portion from one piece of fruit to perhaps three or four. Something to consider, when sugar intake is of concern. Citrus fruits also …

creamy-quinoa-khichadi

Creamy Quinoa Khichadi with Cumin Ghee

There’s something comforting about a rice and lentil porridge that just makes me holistically feel good.  I think Naram (creamy) Khichadi (khitch-ri) is infused within each of my cells. If a month goes by and they haven’t gotten a taste of some khichadi,they begin radiating signals and I begin to crave for it. If you’ve seen my Instagram posts, you know I make khichadi quite often. Per your requests—and thank you for the encouragement, I am posting the recipe for this down home dish with a slight twist today. I never thought the day would come when khichadi, would be requested by so many!  I think my nani (maternal grandmother) would be in shock if she knew that a dish she would dare not serve at a dinner party, is now loved across many cultures. Like daal (lentil soup), the are several khichadi variations. However, the base is always moong daal and a grain—traditionally, basmati rice. Naram Khichadi or just Khichadi as we refer to it in our home, is similar to Bhuni Khichadi. It is soft, moist and easy on the digestion. The …

chit-chaat-chai ayurvedic roasted squash and yam with tahini dressing

Roasted Squash & Yams with Sweet Spices & a Tahini Lime Dressing

A common perception about ‘Ayurvedic’ food is that it is Indian food and vice versa. Hundreds of years ago, this may have been true, but over time, trade, economics, immigration, migration, personal tastes, priorities, availability, population, media, etc…have influenced India’s cuisine. Creating a distinction between Indian food and ‘Ayurvedic’ food. Although the spices may be similar, Indian dishes tend to a bit spicier, oilier, heavier, hotter or at times more processed than a dish deemed ‘Ayurvedic’. As the proverb goes,  “what you eat becomes your mind, as is the food, so is your mind”. ‘Ayurvedic’ food is based on a holistic approach to ingredients, preparation, and serving. Each aspect accounts for the mind-body connection, to ensure a meal is not only nutritious but that it has soul! Ingredients are fresh versus highly processed to attain the highest nutritional value. They align with the season to support digestion, absorption, and elimination. Meals are prepared with an intention along with calm, steady and happy mindset to infuse the meal and ultimately the mind-body-soul with the same energy. When food is served, it’s to appease the eyes and the …

5 Spices w/Yams & Rainbow Chard #chitchaatchai

5 Spiced Yams & Rainbow Chard

I love leveraging a good, basic recipe and adjusting a few ingredients to change up the flavor. It makes cooking easier, leaves room for a little creativity and keeps meals fresh—who doesn’t want that?! Today’s recipe, is based on a recipe I posted awhile back that was intentionally developed to be flexible—5 Spices & a Veggie, a Quick ‘Ayurvedic’ Stir-Fry.  Using the same simple concept to create today’s recipe. I chose veggies and spices based on the tastes and qualities that are complimentary to the summer aka pitta season. The main ingredients—yams (sweet), red onions (sweet when caramelized) and rainbow chard (astringent and bitter) make up the 3 key tastes of summer according to Ayurveda’s wisdom.  A sprinkle of five spices (technically six with the lemon-oops!) provide the remaining three tastes—pungent, sour and salty. Ayurveda speaks to the importance of incorporating all six tastes in every dish and/or meal to ensure the body, mind, emotions and spirit get the essential nutrients and nourishment. This helps with retaining balance and reduces cravings.

Cauliflower "rice" & Peas Pilaf #chitchaatchai

Golden Cauliflower “rice” & Peas Pilaf

Spring is here! Time to focus on pungent, astringent & bitter tastes. It’s the season to detoxify, cleanse and utilize the energy we accumulated from Autumn and Winter while prepping ourselves for Summer, Summer, Summer time. This means increasing the veggies and reducing the grains. It’s all about lighter foods in the Spring. This doesn’t mean denying yourself of rice or bread, rather it’s about reducing grains, to help bring lightness and balance the heavy, wet’ish air that comes with Spring. With this in mind,  I thought I would try making “rice” with cauliflower. Cauliflower, or gobi is a light, slightly drying vegetable that is considered to have an astringent taste according to Ayurveda. Making it perfect for Spring and all people who are kapha or pitta dominant. Cauliflower is one of the vegetables that I ate way too much of as a child, so I am always looking for new ways to cook with it. I prefer it mashed, creamed and now riced! There’s something about changing the texture that transforms my frame of mind—cauliflower is new again. A new texture, …

Simply Delicious Daal II with Spinach #chitchaatchai

Simply Delicious Daal II (with Spinach)

One of my favorite additions to my Simply Delicious Tangy Daal in 30 minutes is adding leafy greens, like baby spinach. It’s a great way to transform leftovers into a new meal or work with what you know and then change it up! Adding greens into the daal also saves me a bit of time and clean up as I no longer need to make a separate veggie dish to accompany my daal. Yes, it stems from a bit laziness—but when time is of the essence, this is quick and efficient.  I get 2 for 1 and then all I need is a crunchy salad, a grain (if I am having this for lunch), and viola my healthy, digestible meal is complete in less than an hour. Eating a bit of greens with every meal is important, especially for pitta and kapha dominant constitutions. Bitter tastes are primarily cooling, light, can be detoxifying, rich in fiber and high in nutrients. If you have high blood sugar, are overweight, have a tendency to gain weight easily, incorporating bitter greens into every meal …

Simply Delicious Tangy Masoor Daal in 30 Minutes

I love me some daal. With rice, crunchy sourdough, chapati, quinoa, millet or just as is, like a bowl of soup. It can be my lunch or dinner, and if you are my sister—breakfast. Aside from the taste, the nostalgia, the comfort factor, I love the variety of daals I can make by simply changing a few ingredients or my cooking process. From adjusting the water content, the type or blend of lentils, the cook time, or the spices results in a new daal every time. Cooking lentils is like a blank canvas waiting to be splashed with some vibrant colors. From Mondrian to Pollack, I choose the palette and then it’s all about the technique and having fun! Daal means lentils—but daal is also the name of a dish.  With the large variety of lentils available, comes a gizzilion types of daals. Depending on the person’s region, what the cook feels like making, the type of lentils, the dietery restrictions, the spices, or the cooking technique—will inform the flavor of the daal. You never know what to expect when someone says they are cooking up daal. It can be thick and …

Fall's Breakfast Spice Mix #chitchaatchai

Breakfast Masala Mix for Fall (Ayurvedic)

Every season I tell myself, I am going to make a seasonal spice mix, and every season I get side tracked. But not this season! Goal accomplished and I am already seeing my  ROI.  The 15 minutes I invested to make my Breakfast Masala Mix for Fall has already saved me time, effort and less to clean up—my favorite. Now every time I make my morning porridge, eat fruit, make a batch of muesli and other dishes I have yet to explore, I am ready to spice it up. I decided to keep my breakfast mix simple to 3 of my favorite Fall friendly spices, cinnamon, cardamom and ginger.  These warming spices are naturally sweet (except ginger).  A taste I want to embrace during vata or the Fall season. Their natural sweetness reduces my sugar intake while starting my morning off with the carminative energy I need to ignite my digestive fire. For those occasions, the variety lover in me wants to add another spice into the mix, I have the flexibility to do so. It’s nice having a good seasonal base to begin with and the …

Cardamom-y Plantains (Kela) & Ghee #chitchaatchai

Cardamom-y Plantains (Kela) & Ghee

You know it’s going to be a good day when you wake-up to the smell of bananas caramelizing in ghee.  After you realize it’s not a dream, it’s pretty good motivation to get out of bed. Kela Ghee was and is one of my favorite warm fruity breakfasts. My parents didn’t make it very often, so when it came to the table it was quite a treat. Everyone loved this super easy, quick and a great way to use up bananas that were a day or two too old for breakfast. On occasion I still make this for breakfast. It may appear to be a guilty pleasure, but when eaten within balance and in the right season, it’s quite nutritious. I like making a spiced version of Kela Ghee in the late summer to early fall. The air is lighter, a bit drier and life is more active. Having a slightly heavier, soft and moist breakfast or mid-day snack is a nice way to harmonize with external environment and create balance. What l also appreciate about having cooked bananas or plantains is a few pieces …

5 Spices & a Veggie, an 'Ayurvedic' Stir-Fry

5 Spices & a Veggie: a Quick ‘Ayurvedic’ Stir-Fry

One of the best things for strengthening the digestive track is to—spice it up! Spices (and this includes herbs) are like digestive aides. They support the digestion of food from the time it enters the body to the time it exits. Rich in vitamins and minerals, spices prevent toxins from accumulating in the gut.  In-turn, allowing for better absorption and fostering good health. Eating healthy is not just about organic, fresh and local vegetables, good fats, and whole grains.  It also considers if the food can be easily digested.  Spices can be intimidating, at first.  The variety of spices alone can make it challenging to figure out which ones to buy.  I recommend starting with a 4-5 dry spices. A few different spices is all you need to get the party started.  Then, it’s having fun experimenting with different combinations, adjusting the quantity, or  when to incorporate them into the pot. Even with just a few of the same spices, making these types of adjustments can change a dishes flavor. My recipe below will help you get started on your spice journey. It is a tri-doshic recipe, meaning …

Coconut-y Summertime Daal #chitchaatchai

Summer Time Red Lentil & Coconut-y Daal (Masoor)

Of all the daals (lentils) in my cupboard, peeled masoor daal (red lentils) are my go to lentils in a pinch. They cook-up quickly, they’re tasty, can be found in most grocery stores (even Trader Joe’s), are affordable and nutrient packed. That’s a lot of bang for your buck. I’ll take it, thank you very much. Usually when I make daal with masoor, I like to keep it quite brothy, like a light soup. This summer, however, I’ve been opting for a thicker consistency since my appetite tends to have a little more velocity. In making a heavier daal, I skip eating the grain portion of my meal as the coconut cream satisfies the sweet taste and the heavy quality of any form of starch. The oily and cooling qualities of coconut also balances the drying and warming quality of red lentils.  In the end, although this is a heavier daal than I am use to,  it’s still lighter than if was to have it with rice, toast or potatoes. This daal works well for my pitta-kapha constitution. For someone with more vata-pitta energy, I would recommend a slice …

Lavender-Rose Blueberry Jam

Nearly a decade ago, I made my first spiced jam—blueberry with black pepper. The sprinkling of freshly cracked pepper on buttered toast had tickled my fancy for quite some time. Adding a few twists of this heating spice to homemade jam that was likely going to spread across crunchy, fermented sourdough, slathered in coconut mana or ghee seemed like a wise choice. Tickled are the taste buds. Nourished are the emotions. Satisfied is the spirit. With a little spice. So, why not a little spiced up ja Spices have been a part of my life since before my memories begin. One could say they’re part of my DNA. A lingering character that has melded into my life story.  A constant presence, spices filled the pantry even when the fridge was empty. When their presence became known, our relationship sparked. It began with learning their names. The process took a little time as unlabeled jars created some challenges along with way. Eventually, their English and Urdu/Hindi embedded themselves into my muscle memory. Soon after, I began to …

Aam Ka Raas aka Mango Soup @chit.chaat.chai

Aam ka Raas aka Mango Juice

It’s mango, mango, mango time.  Big, juicy varietals like Tommy, Kent and Haden are in peak season. Ready to be devoured straight off the skin like an artichoke and into my belly. Mango juice dripping down the sides of the mouth, hands getting stickier with every bite—tie your hair back because there’s nothing like the first mango of the summer! Mangos are not just any ol’ summer time fruit—they are an event.  Uprooting nostalgic sensations that ignite all of my five senses. Upon seeing, touching, smelling and eating a mango, I tumble down the rabbit hole hearing ancestral voices echoing pleasure. 

Creamy Fennel & Tahini Salad Dressing

I love making my own salad dressings. From simple vinaigrettes to creamy dressings—like this tahini based dressing. With a few basic ingredients (usually something acidic & oily), making homemade dressings are quick, simple, easy—and always fresh! Plus, I really appreciate all the extra room in my fridge. Having recently made a jar of Fennel Fronds Pesto, from an over abundance of fronds I accumulated. I thought I’d try mixing it in with my lemony tahini dressing to jazz it up and balance the warming tahini with cooling fennel. Creating a balance between heating and cooling energy is one way to foster balance within—if your food is balanced, you are likely to be in balance.

Waste Not: Fennel Fronds Pesto

What do you do when you have way more fennel fronds than you know what to do with? You make pesto! After a week of my fennel extravaganza—roasted fennel, 2 fennel based soups, and fennel salads. I was left with an over abundance of fronds.  Despite using them to finish, garnish or spice up my dishes, these fluttery fronds just kept lingering around.  Not one to waste (I try my best), I thought, why not fronds pesto?  It couldn’t hurt and I could preserve these delicate tasting fronds for future meals.  I have to say, it was the best thing I did.  The following couple weeks were so busy that having a homemade pesto around made cooking all that much easier. The simplest dishes were tastier. Sometimes, it’s all about the quick and easy, and this pesto helped to keep the spice in my life!

Golden Boiled Eggs – Marbled with Turmeric

Ever since my friend, Omario, introduced me to adding turmeric to my eggs,  I’ve been going a little crazy with trying out different variations.  I have scrambled and fried them, made an omelette, along with adding a variety of spices to mix it up a bit and keeps those taste buds alive. This time, I thought I would try marbling a few eggs with turmeric using a method similar to that of Chinese tea eggs—just for fun! Over the course of the week, I eat a few boiled eggs for breakfast, especially in the winter and into the early spring.  From a seasonal perspective, an egg’s heating energy can help counterbalance the cold. Plus,  it’s a nutritious, protein-packed breakfast that’s perfect to eat at work. One boiled egg keeps me full until lunch time. I usually boil a few eggs on Sunday, peel them and pack them in an airtight container. This makes breakfast quick and easy for those weekday mornings when there is no time to linger. It takes about 5 extra minutes to make these marbled eggs because you have to pull them out of boiling water and crack them.  I …