All posts filed under: Vata

Recipes for vata dosha inspired by Ayurveda

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, …

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.

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 …