autumn

carrot cake – vegan

9th November 2017

There are two ways to serve this cake. The first, for a special occasion and serving it with a very decadent cashew cream, the second, without the cream and giving it a warm earthiness by sprinkling the top of the cake with 2 extra tablespoons sesame seeds and the roughly chopped raw walnuts before baking. Both ways are delicious it just depends on the occasion.

As a general rule, all nuts are heating. In Ayurveda, it is recommended to eat sparingly, especially cashews as they provoke Pitta and because of their thought-provoking qualities can disturb the sleep and meditation.

sesame-seeded carrot cake

Inspired by the much loved Gingerbread Spice Cake.

The cardamom adds a rich warmth, so it is important to grind your own as the taste is so much more fragrant, fresher and more intense. An easy way to do this is to place ¼ cup of cardamom pods in a high-speed blender or coffee grinder, and roughly grind. Use a strainer to sift the ground pods, discard the shells and grind the bigger chunks again to a finer powder.  

cashew cream :

1 cup/140g cashews, soaked for 4 hours or overnight

¼ cup coconut cream (the cream from the top of a can of coconut milk)

1 Tblsp coconut oil

1 vanilla bean

2 – 4 Tblsp maple syrup

ingredients for the cake :

2 Tblsp sesame seeds – for sprinkling inside the greased pan

½ cup/50g walnuts – for garnishing

2 cups/210g tightly packed grated carrots (approx 2 medium)

1 cup/120g whole-wheat flour

1 cup/120g unbleached white flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

½ tsp fine rock salt

1 tsp cardamom powder

2 full tsp ground cinnamon powder

½ cup/125ml melted coconut oil/mild-tasting olive oil

1 cup/250ml maple syrup (can replace with 1 cup brown sugar & increase almond milk to 1 cup instead of ½ cup)

¼ cup brown or coconut sugar.

½ cup/125ml hulled tahini paste

½ cup/250ml soy/almond milk

1 Tblsp apple cider vinegar

½ cup/80g golden sultanas/raisins

prepare the cashew cream :

For the cream, soak the cashews for at least 4 hours or overnight in cold water. Drain, rinse and place in a high-speed blender. Split the vanilla bean down its length, scrape the seeds into the blender, along with the coconut cream, coconut oil and maple syrup, blend until creamy and smooth. Taste and adjust the amount of maple syrup. Transfer the cream to a bowl, cover and place in the fridge until ready to use.

prepare the cake :

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Spread the walnuts on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes.  While they are still warm, rub the nuts gently in a towel to remove the skins.  Inevitably there will be some skins that refuse to peel away, but no matter.  Roughly chop, and set aside. Oil a 9-inch springform pan or a baking dish with oil. Sprinkle the sesame seeds around the sides and bottom of the pan.

Wash the carrots and grate either using a box grater or your food processor (using the smaller grater attachment). Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients –  the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Whisk to combine. In another medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients – oil, maple syrup, sugar, tahini, soy/almond milk and vinegar. Whisk until the wet ingredients are emulsified. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry, whisking together just until all the dry ingredients are absorbed. The batter will be quite wet. Stir in the grated carrots and sultanas, fold gently with a spatula to combine.

Pour the batter into the oiled pan and place on a middle rack in the oven. Bake about 50 – 60 minutes, (mine took 60 minutes) or until the cake is springy to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean. If the top looks like it’s getting dark, but the inside needs more time, cover loosely with aluminium foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.

When the cake is completely cool and you are ready to serve. Spread the cashew cream evenly over the top of the cake. Decorate the cake with the toasted walnuts and long strips of carrot peel. To keep the carrot strips from discolouring, toss in a little lemon juice before placing on the cake.

Serve within a few hours of frosting otherwise, it is best to keep the cake refrigerated or to frost only when ready to serve.

easy vegetable soup

30th October 2017

This is a quick, simple, useful soup recipe which doesn’t tie you to specific ingredients, allowing you to substitute whatever is available in your fridge or garden. Being the start of Autumn, I am enjoying digging up crisp potatoes, picking the last of the beans and podding those over-matured borlotti beans, which I somehow missed harvesting. It is important to toast and grind your own spices to bring out their flavour, enhancing this soup.

Late afternoon walk ~ Sintra mountains

easy vegetable soup

Serves 4

The whole ground peppercorns give the soup a soft kick; the cumin & coriander seeds add earthiness, and the lemon brings all the flavours together. The vegetables listed are those that work best for me. It can be made with any seasonal vegetables – sweet peas or green beans, sweet potato instead of potato, fennel instead of celery.  I like to serve it with a guacamole and freshly baked challah bread.

ingredients:

3 Tblsp ghee/oil

2 stalks/150g celery

¼ cup/45g pearl barley/red rice

1 Tblsp finely chopped ginger

1 fresh bay leaf

8 cups water

1 large/130g potato

2 medium/140g carrots

1 cup/70g chopped cabbage

½ cup/60g freshly shelled borlotti beans/green beans

1 cup/120g spaghetti squash/pumpkin

1 heaped tsp cumin seeds

1 heaped tsp coriander seeds

¼ heaped tsp whole peppercorns

1½ heaped tsp rock salt

 heaped tsp sugar/jaggery

1 Tblsp fresh lemon juice

a handful of fresh coriander or kale

preparation:

Finely slice celery stalks and set aside. Peel and finely chop the potato and carrots into small cubes, along with the remaining vegetables.

In a medium pot over high heat, drizzle in the oil/ghee and sauté the celery until tender. Add barley, ginger and bay leaf. Sauté until coated in oil.  Add the water and remaining vegetables.  Rapidly simmer, uncovered for 45min – 1 hour.

Place the whole peppercorns, cumin and coriander seeds into a small saucepan, and dry-roast over medium heat until a good fragrance appears. Allow to cool, then roughly grind in a mortar and pestle.  Add to the soup along with the salt and sugar.  Turn off the heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes, or longer for the flavours to develop. Taste, adding more sweetness or salt.  Sprinkle in a generous handful of finely chopped coriander or kale. Serve with a drizzling of ghee and more fresh coriander.  If trying to avoid bread, it is lovely served with a spoonful of rice.

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a mostly wholewheat challah (revisited)

5th October 2017

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I  always look forward to sharing this bread when the four of us are all together.  And, especially if we are lucky enough to have our family or friends join us on these Friday nights. This is where we savour the opportunity to pause, bless and reflect on the week just passed and to light the candles as a reminder of that inner light inside all of us.

What is left-over, we spend the weekend eating with all sorts of delicious spreads.

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Freshly pressed sugar cane juice – Mysore, South India.

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a mostly whole wheat challah

Makes one large, challah.

The recipe uses a mixer with a hook dough, but you can easily use your hands. 

ingredients :

2 Tbsp flaxseed, plus 6 Tblsp water, whisked together

1 cup warm milk/almond milk

60 grams butter – room temperature/6 Tblsp olive oil

1 tsp active dry yeast

150g wholewheat flour

350g regular all-purpose flour

40g brown sugar/coconut sugar

1½ tsp fine rock salt

preparation :

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.  Whisk together the flax seeds with 6 tablespoons water.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes.  Add the warm milk/water, soft butter and sprinkle in the yeast, leave undisturbed until the mixture is foaming, about 5 – 6 minutes.

Measure out the flours, sugar and salt, whisk together and sprinkle over the yeast & milk mixture, turn the machine on the lowest option and knead on medium speed for about 5 minutes or 10 minutes by hand.  The dough should be elastic and smooth.  If the dough seems too sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time or if seemly too dry, add more liquid, a tablespoon at a time.

Cover with a damp tea towel and allow the dough to sit in a warm place for 1 – 1½ hours until well risen and doubled its size.  The longer it sits the better the final bread. I usually start in the early morning and it sits for 4 – 5 hours before proceeding to the second rise.

Take out the dough, knead a little with the heel of your hands and work it into a ball.

plaiting the dough :

Divide the dough into three equal pieces with a sharp knife or bench scraper.  Using your palms, and starting from the centre and working outward, elongate 1 piece by rolling it gently against the work surface with even pressure until you have formed a rope the desired length.  Repeat with the remaining 2 pieces. Place the three side by side.  Now pinch together the top ends and carefully braid the three, like you would if you were braiding or plaiting hair.  As I braid, I gently pull them length-wise to keep them as even as possible. Pinch together the ends and tuck them slightly under.

Transfer the plaited loaf to the baking tray and brush with ghee/oil and sprinkle with poppy & sesame seeds.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and set in a warm place to rise for 1½ hours.

About 10 minutes before the dough has finished rising, preheat an oven to 200C/400F with a rack in the lower third of the oven.  Remove the plastic wrap or towel and bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Allow to cool completely before cutting into it.

When it is just the four of us, we have been enjoying the challah with a simple vegetable soup, a salad and a bowl of guacamole, and for dessert, slathered with homemade jam.

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walnut parsley pesto

22nd September 2017

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Within a day of moving into our new home, I planted a small herb garden just next to the back door, it contained coriander, parsley, sage, thyme, and all the essentials plus 12 kale seedlings which I had been growing on the window sill in the old house. I am so glad I did as it’s been a vital addition to quick meals and those kale plants have been growing wild and wonderful. This is where the parsley came from. The main vegetable garden is quite a walk away from the house so it is helpful to have a small garden so close for emergencies.

This pesto is one I make weekly for pasta lunches for school and quick sandwiches for my young adults.  It goes nicely with a minestrone soup; a favourite with my daughter and part of easy dishes which she can prepare herself – recipe soon.

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~ Cosmos (Coreopsideae )

~ Cosmos is a Greek word meaning harmony or balanced universe.

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walnut parsley pesto

Makes 1½ cups

When a bit low on the essentials I change the recipe a bit, adding a mix of pine nuts and walnuts or basil and parsley – or whatever I have in the garden at the time.

Inspired by Gillian.

ingredients :

¾ cup/80g whole walnuts

90g parsley – rinsed, bigger stems removed

½ cup olive oil

¼ tsp fine rock salt

⅛ tsp freshly ground pepper

¼ cup/20g grated parmesan (optional)

extra olive oil for sealing the pesto

preparation:

Preheat the oven 180C/350F.  Place the whole walnuts on a tray and roast for 10 minutes.  Set aside to allow to cool.

Wash the parsley and pat dry, remove the larger stems from the parsley and add to the compost, place the leaves and smaller stems in a food processor with the ‘S’ blade attached, along with the cooled walnuts, olive oil, salt and pepper. Blend until all broken down – using a spatula to wipe down the sides.  Add the parmesan and blend until well incorporated – adding more oil if needed.

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Store in a jar, with a layer of olive oil on top to exclude the air, refrigerate until needed, for up to two weeks.  Level the surface each time you use it, and recover the pesto with olive oil.  Delicious served with home-made pasta.

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pasta dough without eggs

29th August 2017

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Once you get the feel of the dough, making pasta without eggs is easy, it is a little softer, more delicate, however, the texture is divine. Homemade pasta is much lighter on the system and easier to digest.

The durum wheat flour helps absorb the flavours. It makes a softer, silky, smooth dough, that you will not get from other flours it also absorbs more water then ordinary flour, so keep that in mind if swapping the flours around.

This is a recipe that has developed over trial and error, as time goes on I am sure it will evolve even more and I will update accordingly. So far, I found when rolling and thinning the dough I used a liberal amount of flour – this may have something to do with where we live as there is a lot of moisture in the air in Sintra. I found using an icing sugar shaker very handy for this purpose, a sifter or sieve will work just as well to get a fine layer of dusting. The process is quite time-consuming, however the more confident you become with the process the quicker it is. The results are so delicious and worth the effort and impossible to go back to a box of dried pasta.  Making your pasta from scratch is a very satisfying process.

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pasta dough without eggs

Serves 6 

Recipe inspired from Kusama via Elegantly Vegan.

If attempting for the first time halve the dough recipe.  It comfortably serves 3 – 4.  The best way to get good at making fresh pasta is to make it again and again. 

ingredients:

480g/4¼ cups finely ground semolina flour from durum wheat

2 tsp fine rock salt

4 Tblsp olive oil

300 – 360 ml warm water

extra flour for dusting

special equipment :

pasta making machine

preparing the pasta dough:

In a medium bowl, measure out the flour, sprinkle in the salt and whisk to combine. Create a well in the centre of the flour, drizzle in the olive oil and slowly pour in 300ml (about 1¼ cup warm water). Using your hands, combine the dry into the wet, adding water a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together into a ball. Dust your work surface with flour and knead the dough, begin gently folding the dough on itself, flattening, and folding again, for about ten minutes.

When you finish kneading, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for at least half an hour to an hour. For best results knead and allow the dough to rest for as long as possible.

rolling out the pasta dough:

Unwrap the dough and divide it into quarters, and then each quarter in half again so you have eight equal portions, weighing approximately 90 – 100 grams. Work with one portion at a time, and cover the rest. Flour your work surface and flatten one piece of dough a little less than the width of the pasta maker. Feed it through the thickest setting on the machine – #0.  Lightly dust both sides of the sheet of pasta with flour and fold this piece of dough into thirds, like folding a letter, dust again and feed the pasta crosswise between the rollers.  Repeat this step 5 – 6 times. This helps strengthen the gluten in the flour, giving it a chewier texture when cooked. Change settings to the slightly thinner setting – #1, dust with flour and feed it through the machine without folding it; then set it on #2 and so forth until achieving the desired thickness – I finished at #6.

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If your pasta sticks at all, dust both sides with more flour or is too lengthy to manage, lay on a cutting board and cut in half.  Don’t tug or pull on the pasta as it goes through the machine. Let the rollers do the work. With practice, you will become familiar with your machine and with the dough and will be able to manoeuvre the dough by slightly moving it left or right so that it doesn’t go in crooked.

Now cut the sheet of pasta crosswise into pieces about 25 cm long and lightly dust them with flour again. I like to air dry the sheets for 15 – 20 minutes before cutting.

To make the process easier, roll out all the dough at once before cutting it into the desired shape. Dust the sheets of pasta generously with flour and overlap them on a floured board or hang them over racks. When ready to cut use the sheets which were rolled out first and have been sitting longer to dry.

cutting the pasta :

If making filled pasta or lasagna, proceed with shaping.  If cutting into noodles, switch from the pasta roller to the noodle cutter, dust again with flour and run the sheet of pasta through the cutter. As soon as the pasta comes through the cutter, dust generously with flour and gently fold into loose rounds to make a nest. Dust again with a little flour and continue with the remaining dough. Leave the pasta to air dry for 15 minutes – 3 hours before using. This helps the pasta to not clump together while cooking.

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I usually make it around midday to use that evening. Once cut and sitting in mounds, cover loosely with a cloth and every hour gently pick up the mounds to loosen the noodles, gently replacing them into their mounds again.

to cook the pasta :

To cook the pasta immediately, bring a pot of well-salted water to a rollicking boil. Add the pasta to the water and cook for about 1 – 2 minutes – don’t overcook!  The pasta should float to the top of the pot when it’s ready and be al dente. Be gentle with it when you lift it from the water. Drain and then just drizzle it in olive oil or toss it with your favourite pasta sauce, and it’s ready to serve.

To dry, allow to air dry until completely brittle, turning the nests from time to time. Depending on the humidity it should take 5 – 6 hours.

To freeze, gather the bundles in a single layer separated with baking paper and freeze, in an airtight container, up to three months. Do not thaw them – place them directly in boiling water – may take 2 – 3 minutes to cook.

Enjoy!

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Goodness shared by Stacey

fig & ginger cluster granola

17th August 2017

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quietness

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Just now I went out into the garden, it was so quiet and still out there, except for a single bird, melodious and sweet.

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tara o’brady’s fig & ginger cluster granola

Makes approximately 8 cups.

The recipe is taken from Taro O’brady’s Seven Spoons Cookbook, with a few small changes.

Tara goes on to say ‘This recipe is my standard and is intended only as a starting point. By all means, add, substitute, or subtract ingredients (add ground nutmeg or ginger, cardamom; or take away the seeds and go heavy on the nuts; swap pistachios for pecans, or dried apricots and dried cherries for the figs) as long as the general guidelines are loosely followed.”

ingredients:

¼ cup/60g ghee or unsalted butter

3 Tblsp olive oil

3 Tblsp maple syrup

½ cup/100g packed jaggery/light brown sugar

½ cup/120ml hot water

1 tsp fine rock salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

5 cups/455g old-fashioned rolled or quick-cooking oats

1½ – 2 cups/180g slivered almonds & hazelnuts (I roughly chop my own into thick slivers)

¾ cup/65g flaked coconut

¼ cup/35g raw, hulled sunflower seeds

¼ cup/35g sesame seeds

1 heaped tsp cinnamon powder

½ cup/70g finely chopped candied ginger

1 cup/150g chopped dried figs & sultanas

preparation:

Preheat an oven to 325F/160C and with racks in the upper and lower thirds.

In a saucepan set over medium heat, melt the ghee into the olive oil and maple syrup. Turn off the heat add the brown sugar, hot water, and ½ tsp of the salt. Cook, stirring often until the sugar dissolves. Remove the saucepan from the heat, stir in the vanilla extract, and set aside to cool.

In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, grind 2 cups/180g of the oats into flour. Transfer this oat flour to a large bowl. Stir in the remaining 3 cups/275g whole oats, the remaining ½ tsp salt, and the nuts, coconut, seeds and cinnamon powder.

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Pour the ghee and sugar mixture over everything and stir to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes, to give the oats the opportunity to lap up the sugar syrup.

Line 2 half sheet pans with standard baking sheets. using your hands, drop the oat mixture in clumps onto the pans, then bake in the preheated oven until dry, light golden, and evenly toasted 45 to 50 minutes, gently stirring and turning the granola with a large spatula every 15 minutes or so and rotating the pans once from the top to bottom and front to back.

Remove from oven and leave the granola in the pans. The granola will continue to crisp as it stands. After 5 minutes, stir in the candied ginger. Once the granola has cooled completely, stir in the figs.

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Transfer the granola to an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

ginger coconut chutney

7th August 2017

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Chutney can be consumed with rotti, chapati, dosa, idli and rice. Recommended to all constitutions. Can be used once or twice a week, at any time during the day and in all seasons. For those suffering from Pitta imbalance, little ghee can be mixed into the food in order to eliminate any aggravation.  One may spice the dish as per his natural inclination adding or lessening the salty, sweet, sour (tamarind), pungent (chilli) tastes.

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Ginger Coconut Chutney

Makes approximately 2 cups.

Recipe shared by our teacher Ganapati Aarya, as part of the Jivana Yoga Programme. 

I make this quick and tasty chutney whenever I make dosa or idli.  The toasted chana dāl can be purchased from your local India store and once you purchase this everything comes together within minutes.

ingredients :

1 cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut

1 – 2 cups lukewarm water (start with 1 cup for right consistency)

¼ cup toasted chana dāl (bought from your local Indian store)

1 tsp finely chopped ginger

½–1  red/green chilli (according to taste and strength of chilli)

3 sprigs fresh coriander

¼ tsp tamarind paste

1 tsp sugar/jaggery

½ tsp fine rock salt

preparation :

Place in an upright blender/grinder the dried coconut, chana dāl, chopped ginger, chilli, jaggery, salt and tamarind paste. Wash the coriander leaves, remove the thicker stems and place with the ingredients.

Pour in 1 cup water and puree until you have a thick paste, adding more water until you have the desired consistency.  The texture should be a bit coarse.  Taste for seasoning, adding more salt, sweet, tamarind or chilli, as needed.

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easy spelt focaccia & a vegetable garden

13th June 2017

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I make this focaccia every Sunday as an accompaniment to our traditional pasta night.  I mix the dough in the morning and leave it covered on the side for a full day, the extra fermentation adds flavour to the bread.  You can also make it days before, and store in the refrigerator after the first rise, the dough develops a more complex flavour, and you can pull part of it out to make dinner – just be sure it has time to come to room temperature before shaping and continue with the recipe.

I usually make one large focaccia but since our move a month ago I have a small oven that fits two narrow trays – now I make two oblong focaccia.

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Quality of Food

‘A very natural lifestyle in which we could collect fresh vegetables every day would be even more ideal, however. Growing a small garden can serve that purpose to some degree. There are also many other benefits one may experience from having a small garden. For example, one may gain beneficial exercise, as well as deep satisfaction in doing garden work. If done in a measured and relaxed way, it may lead to a calm and quiet mind.’ 

~ Dr. Shankaranarayana Jois – The Sacred Tradition of Yoga

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easy spelt focaccia

Makes 1 rectangular or 2 small focaccia. 

Recipe slightly adapted from Good to the Grain, by Kim Boyce.

‘You can top the focaccia with almost anything: a liberal pouring of oil and a dusting of salt, a handful of fresh herbs, olives or sautéed vegetables, or a flavourful tomato sauce. However, you plan to top your focaccia, before cooking pour a generous glug of olive oil over the top – especially around the edges – for a crunchy golden crust’.

ingredients :

1¼ cups warm water

1 tsp active dry yeast

tsp sugar

1 cup/120g whole-spelt flour; plus additional for kneading

2½ cups/320g white spelt flour/all purpose flour

1 tsp fine rock salt

2 Tblsp olive oil + ¼ cup (divided) for drizzling over the top

herbs, spices, or other toppings of choice

preparation :

Lightly rub a large bowl with olive oil. Set aside.

Add 1¼ cups of warm water, yeast, and sugar to another bowl. Stir, and allow the yeast to bloom and bubble for about 5 minutes.  (If it doesn´t, it may be inactive; throw it out and start again.)

Add the flours, salt, and 2 Tablespoons olive oil and mix to combine to form a sticky dough.

To knead by hand: Turn the dough out on to a clean work surface. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and silky.

Or, to use a food mixer: Fit the dough hook and add the water, yeast, and sugar to the mixer bowl, stir, and allow the yeast to bloom and bubble for about 5 minutes. Add the flour and salt. Mix on low speed until evenly combined, then add the oil and leave to knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth and silky.

For the first rise: Put the dough into the oiled bowl, turning it so that the top of the dough is coated with oil. Cover with a towel and leave for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

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Generously oil a baking sheet with olive oil.

For the second rise: Place the dough on the baking sheet or divide the dough into two pieces and place them on the oiled baking sheet.  Stretch the dough out with your hands (It helps to oil your hands) into your desired shape on the baking sheet, and dimple it with your fingers. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and leave to rise for an hour.

Position two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven (or put a single rack in the middle if you´re using one baking sheet) and preheat to 200C/400F.

After the dough has completed its second rise and has puffed up on the sheet, drizzle with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt, herbs or spices, or toppings of your choice.

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Bake for 22  – 25 minutes, until golden brown. Drizzle with the remaining 2 Tablespoons of oil while still hot from the oven.  Allow the bread to cool slightly before slicing and serving.

Serve it with your favourite pasta or top it with mashed avocado, grilled zucchini, tomatoes, red pepper, fennel and a sprinkling of fresh herbs and salt.

Focaccia is always best eaten the day it is made.

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everyday simple dal for Yasmin

6th March 2017

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A simple dal we make weekly served with chapati and alongside a cabbage or okra palya.  A recipe my daughter requested that I write-up so that she can refer to when she moves out later this year.  It is also one of her favourite meal combinations.  We are in the process of learning how to make 6 easy meals which she can prepare herself.  This dal being one of them.

If the thought of making chapati sounds a bit overwhelming – it can be served with a bowl of rice and a crispy salad.  When drizzled with ghee it becomes a deeply soothing, warming, nourishing meal.

The tomatoes can be replaced with any vegetable of choice,  I like the process of stewing them in a voggarane pan before adding them into the cooked dāl, this way they slightly caramelise, deepening the flavour with the spices.

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~ Evening forage at the end of the day in a blanket of mist.  Silent.

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everyday simple dal

Serves 3 – 4

Inspired by Tara O’brady – Everyday Yellow Dal.

In Ayurveda, it is important to understand the different types of dal/legumes used and their energetic qualities.  There is two types of dal which are favourable and used most often – whole mung beans (whole moong beans) and split moong dal (yellow split lentils) which are whole moong beans skinned and split.  These two are easy to digest, gentle on the system and cause minimum disturbances to your constitution.  All other dal/legumes are recommended to use in moderation and in small quantities.

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ingredients :

1 cup/220g yellow split moong dal (yellow split lentils)

3 cups/750ml water

for the voggarane :

2 Tblsp ghee

½ tsp black mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

8 fresh curry leaves

1 dried chilli – torn in half

⅛ tsp asafoetida powder

⅛ tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp finely chopped ginger

1 medium tomato, chopped into small pieces

½ – 1 tsp fine rock salt

a small handful coriander leaves

juice from half a lemon

preparation :

In a heavy saucepan, wash dal several times until water runs clear – then drain.

Pour the 3 cups water into a saucepan and bring to boil on a medium-high heat, then reduce heat to maintain a rapid simmer. (Do not cover the pot, this allows certain impurities or energetic imbalances to be eliminated.)  You may need to skim off any foam which accumulates at the top at the beginning of boiling.  Simmer until dāl is soft, creamy and broken down – approximately 30 minutes.  You may need to add a little water if the dal becomes too dry.  I like to have the consistency quite thick when serving with chapatis and more liquid when serving with rice.

While waiting for the dal to soften, prepare the voggarane.  In a small pan over medium heat, add the ghee, once hot add mustard seeds; as the seeds start to splutter and pop (make sure the mustard seeds have popped well), add the cumin seed, curry leaves, fry for a few seconds, then add asafoetida and turmeric powder, swishing the pan around allowing spices to fry evenly.  To the voggarane add the chopped tomatoes and ginger, cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, fry until the tomato starts to break up.

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Stir this into the dal, add salt, lemon juice and garnish with fresh coriander.  Serve with fresh chapati, a cabbage or okra palya.

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a traditional Ayurvedic herbal drink – Kashaya

3rd December 2016

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Kashaya is a deeply nourishing and soothing drink that brings calmness to the mind and supports the general health and balance of the system. Kashaya is appropriate for all constitutions and in all seasons.  It is recommended to consume at the end of a meal and to have once – twice a day.  Kashaya balances Vata, Pitta and Kapha, helps maintain the digestive fire and reduces heat in the body.

There are many variations of Kashaya – Below are two very simple and easy to prepare recipes for everyday use. They require only two of the main spices – cumin and coriander.  The first is a Kashaya powder which involves lightly roasting and grinding the seeds and the second, a simple infusion using the whole seeds.

Considering your constitution, it is good to keep in mind that jaggery is more heating for the body than brown sugar.

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coriander seed:

Coriander is one of the best herbs for supporting healthy digestion.  Bitter, pungent and sweet in taste.  It evokes the digestive fire while simultaneously cooling and soothing. It tonifies, increases absorption, improves digestive enzymes, reduces nausea and blood pressure.  Coriander seed removes excess heat in the body, making it useful in cooling Pitta-related imbalances associated with menopause.  It also supports proper function of the kidneys and healthy urination. The seeds combine well with Cumin to make an excellent digestive tea.

cumin seed:

Cumin is one of the best herbs for supporting healthy digestion.  Bitter, Pungent and Astringent.  It is carminative, aromatic, and on the whole, cool in action.   A common household spice, its Sanskrit name literally means ‘promoting digestion’.  In addition to providing flavour to food, cumin evokes the digestive fire, promotes healthy absorption and eliminates natural toxins.  It is useful to the eyes, beneficial to the heart and strengthens the uterus.  It enhances immunity and invokes good sleep.

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Coriander-Cumin Kashaya Powder

This recipe was shared by our teacher, Ganapati Aarya, as part of the Sadvidya Yoga Programme.  It came about as an aid to reduce Pitta disturbances in the body and to assist with interrupted sleep due to menopause.  It is deeply nourishing and satisfying drink to have after a meal and satisfies that sweet craving, as well as benefiting from its wonderful medicinal qualities.  The key to opening up the real flavour is making sure that you get the kashaya to a rollicking boil just before straining – the heat changes everything.

Makes approximately 18 – 20 cups Kashaya

ingredients for kashaya powder :

⅓ cup/35g whole cumin seed

½ cup/35g whole coriander seed

preparation :

On a medium flame, heat a skillet until it is hot to touch. Dry-roast the cumin seeds until their colour deepens and a noticeable smell appears – approximately 1 minute. Seeds may start popping by that point.  Be careful not to burn the spices as they can ruin the taste of the kashaya.  Set aside to cool.  Place the coriander seeds into the skillet and repeat the process – the coriander seeds will take 1½  minutes to roast.

In a powerful blender/coffee grinder, grind the toasted cumin seeds to a fine powder. Pour into a bowl and set aside.  Repeat with the toasted coriander seeds – these may take slightly longer to grind.  Pour into the bowl with the ground cumin and combine well.  Store in an airtight container.  

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To preserve the medicinal qualities of the spices, it is recommended to make fresh every 10 – 14 days.

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to prepare the kashaya :

¾ cup water

1 heaped tsp Kashaya Powder

1 heaped tsp brown sugar/jaggery

1 – 2 tsp/5 – 10mL milk (less milk is easier for the digestion, especially in the evening)

preparation:

In a small pan, pour in ¾ cup water and bring to boiling point.  Add the Kashaya powder and sugar.  Allow to simmer for a few minutes.  Turn off the heat, add the milk, stir and pour into a cup (no need to strain as drinking the layer of powder which collects at the bottom is beneficial for the medicinal properties). Set aside to cool until moderately warm.  Enjoy.

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Whole Coriander-Cumin Seed Kashaya

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1 serving

Don´t throw away those leftover seeds after straining, place them in a pot outside your kitchen or in the garden – in no time you will have fresh greens to harvest for your cooking.

ingredients :

½ tsp whole coriander seeds

½ tsp whole cumin seeds

1 cup water

1 tsp brown sugar/jaggery

1 tsp/5mL milk (optional)

preparation :

In a small pan, pour in 1 cup of water and bring to boiling point.  Add the whole coriander and cumin seeds and sugar.  Allow to simmer for a few minutes.  Turn off the heat, add the milk (if using), and strain the Kashaya.  Set aside to cool until moderately warm.

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