Aytana’s winter warming dal

14th December 2014


When we hold workshops, we host up to 12 people staying in our home and up to 16 – 20 for dinner, I draw up a timetable/roster and everyone signs up for their turn at cooking, cleaning, lighting the oil burner, refreshing flowers and the general cleanliness of the yoga room over the course of the 10-day seminar. This way all the cooking and stress is evenly distributed, and I also get to enjoy the workshop – but the best part is that I get to be inspired by other amazing cooks and enjoy their creations.


“What we have learnt is a seed, it will grow to open a new world.”

Aytana’s Winter warming dal

This was a recipe which Aytana made one night – simple, smooth, creamy, quick and delicious. The key here is the blending/whisking of the dal at the end to create the soothing creaminess and the stewing of the tomatoes at the beginning. It is easy to digest and the light consistency makes it appealing in all seasons.  Depending on the season, I usually serve it with an okra or cabbage palya, a big bowl of steamed green beans and kale, and brown rice. Or in Summer accompanied by a crunchy salad.

Serves 4


1 cup yellow moong dal, split

4 cups water

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 Tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped

for the voggarane

2 tsp ghee/oil

½ tsp black mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

6 – 7 curry leaves

tsp finely chopped fresh chilli or 1 tsp of rasam powder

tsp asafoetida powder

1 cup ripe tomatoes, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 tsp rock salt

½ cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped 


1.  Rinse the dal until the water runs clear, drain and add the ginger, turmeric, and 3 cups water, bring to boil, then reduce the heat – simmer for 30 – 40 minutes or until the dal is soft and has broken down.

prepare the voggarane

2.  While the dal is cooking, in a small saucepan over medium heat, add ghee and mustard seeds; when the seeds start to splutter and pop (make sure the mustard seeds have popped well), add the cumin seeds and fry until they brown.

3.  Add asafoetida powder, curry leaves, chilli and fry for 20 seconds.

4.  Stir in the tomatoes and carrots, cover and allow the tomatoes to stew for 20 minutes, then add the cooked dal – simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5.  Remove from heat and add salt, then beat with a wire whisk or using a hand blender, blend until smooth and creamy.

6.  Add coriander and stir to combine.  Garnish each portion with a twist of lemon and drizzling of ghee.


Goodness shared from Stacey

vegetable barley ginger soup with lemon thyme

7th December 2014


A soup to warm your hands and to strengthen your courage…

We can do anything if we sit with intention, just holding it in our thoughts, our hearts and lifting it up with LOVE, LIGHT, JOY, PEACE and COURAGE.

There are no limits to what we can do…..try it!


vegetable barley ginger soup with lemon thyme

Serves 4 – 6

Inspired by Noa.

If I am out of home-made vegetable stock, I add the rind end of a wedge of parmesan – it adds a savoury, salty flavour to the soup.  This recipe also called for 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced – I tend not to eat mushrooms, so I left them out. But if you like the deep earthy flavour of mushrooms, add them to the soup with the vegetables.


2 Tbsp olive oil

2 stalks/150g celery

3 Tbsp/30g fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 stick of kombu

1 fresh bay leaf

1 medium/300g sweet potato or pumpkin

2 medium/170g carrots

a large wedge cabbage (200g)

⅓ cup/70g whole barley

10 cups/2½ L vegetable stock or water

1 bunch/15g lemon thyme

1 bunch/30g each fresh parsley and dill

Extra parsley, dill and chard/kale

2 tsp rock salt

¼ tsp freshly ground pepper


1.  Finely chop the celery, wash and peel the remaining vegetables, then cut into generous chunks so that they do not break up in the cooking.

2.  In a heavy-based saucepan, heat the olive oil, then add the celery, ginger, turmeric, kombu and bay leaf – saute until all are coated.

3.  Add the remaining vegetables, barley and pour in the water so that the vegetables are covered.

4.  Tie up tightly the lemon thyme, parsley and dill and place on top, bring to the boil and turn down the heat  – simmer covered for 1 hour.

5.  Remove the bunch of lemon thyme, parsley and dill and discard.

6.  Add the salt and freshly ground pepper, roughly chop a handful of fresh parsley, dill and chard/kale and stir this into the soup.

7.  Using a potato masher, press down a few times to break up the vegetables – allow to sit for 5 minutes before tasting – adding extra seasoning where needed.

Serve with a drizzling of olive oil and extra cracked pepper.

Goodness shared from Stacey

sunshine in a glass

15th February 2014


When you need to brighten things up even if the weather isn’t.

Beautiful, bright, yellow, warm.

Freshly picked, freshly squeezed orange juice.

fresh orange juice

Just in one glass of orange juice, there is about 125 mg of vitamin C.

They also contain a high potassium content and a high calcium content.  Oranges are a good source of folate, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids, vitamin B1, potassium, copper and pantothenic acid).

Out of all the citrus fruits, oranges contain the most vitamin A (as beta-carotene), which helps against infections by supporting the immune system and preventing recurrent ear infections.

Oranges are full of soluble fibre which is helpful in lowering cholesterol.  They also contain a flavonoid called hesperidin, which has strong anti-inflammatory properties.



helpful sources –

Goodness shared from Stacey

yellow dal tovve

17th November 2013


I wake early and after my practice and morning duties, I take my morning tea up to my room, open the doors wide and sit enjoying all the different bird calls that welcome in the morning. Usually, it is still dark and I am blessed to witness that mysterious time when the incredibly generous light coaxes itself into a new day… I am always surrounded by colour and song.  It is actually my favourite moment of the day.

This morning, raindrops tinkled, leaving everything so clean and vibrant.  It was magical.  This is how it looked.



soothing yellow dal tovve

Moong dal is one of my favourite dal as it is so soft, soothing and is known for its very easy digestion.  It is a green round mung bean which is skinned and split.  In India, this particular dish is usually made with ash gourd, which is categorised as a very sattvic vegetable.  As ash gourd is very difficult to come by here, I have replaced it with zucchini.  

You could use red lentils, but it doesn’t quite have the same soft, soothing, pure quality found in the moong dal.  


1 cup split moong dal (green gram)

6 cups water

1 zucchini, peeled and chopped into small pieces

1 carrot, peeled and chopped roughly

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 large tomato, finely chopped

first voggarane

2 tsp ghee

1 small green chilli

¼ cup dried shredded coconut

second voggarane

1 Tbsp ghee

1 tsp cumin seeds

¼ tsp asafoetida powder

8 curry leaves


juice of half a lemon

¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped

1 tsp heaped fine rock salt


1.  In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, wash the moong dal until the water runs clear, add 6 cups water and bring to boil, lower the heat to maintain a rapid simmer – simmer for 10 minutes, then add the zucchini and carrot, turmeric powder and ghee – simmer until the dal softens and breaks downs, about 30 minutes. 

2. Add the tomato to the dal – simmer for 5 minutes.

prepare first voggarane 

3.  Heat the ghee in a small pan, add the chilli – allow to sizzle, then turn off the flame, remove the chilli and set aside the ghee.

4.  In a high-speed blender, add the coconut, chilli and enough water to make a smooth liquid – blend for a few seconds, then add to the pot, using a little extra water to swish the blender clean.

prepare second voggarane

5.  Using the small pan with the previous ghee, reheat and add the cumin seeds, asafoetida powder and curry leaves – allow to sizzle for a few seconds, then turn off the heat. 

6.  Add the spices to the dal, salt to taste, add freshly squeezed lemon and the coriander leaves – allow to sit for the flavours to open up.

Serve with steamed broccoli and whole barley. Perfect food for these cooler Autumn evenings.


Goodness shared by Stacey


28th December 2009


I always turn to this healing Ayurvedic dish when I need a simple cleanse.  I prepare kichadi with a variation on the vegetables for a few days – to one week – alongside plenty of water, fresh fruits, steamed vegetables and cumin & coriander kashaya.  It always feels cleansing and nourishing.

There are endless variations to this dish, all dependent on the herbs, spices and vegetables used. Whenever my tummy is feeling sensitive, kichadi is always a medicine to my body and has the same soothing quality and nostalgia as a bowl of warm porridge.  All healing begins with the digestive tract.  Kichadi is good for all body types and depending on your constitution a few adjustments to the recipe can help balance out your constitution.

If you tend to have a pitta imbalance(fire & earth), moderate use of heating spices like pepper, ginger, mustard seeds and chilli.  Imbalances are usually seen in skin rashes, burning sensations, ulcerations, fever, rapid changing in moods and anger.  Kapha imbalance,(earth & water) avoid extra ghee or oil and yoghurt which can make a slow digestion and excess mucus. Imbalances are likely to be seen as colds, congestion, depression, excess weight and headaches. Vata (wind and space) imbalance, avoid eating too many cold raw foods and increase the heating spices. Imbalances may be seen in aching joints, dry skin and hair, nerve disturbances, constipation and mental confusion. A skilled Ayurveda physician can access your pulse and give you the right information about your constitution.

Just a quick note on asafoetida. It has a very strong smell due to their sulphur compounds. Asafoetida is available in solid wax-like pieces or in powder form.  Used sparingly, it gives a flavour similar to garlic and shallots in vegetables, stews and sauces.  The smell quickly disappears with cooking. It is a frequent ingredient in Indian dishes, especially as a replacement for garlic and onion which is not used by yoga practitioners in their cooking.  I am not sure if you have noticed, but all my recipes use no onion or garlic. Garlic and onion are avoided because they can agitate or excite the body and stimulate the nervous system, making it difficult for meditation. 

Another practical use is as a natural pesticide to ward off unwanted animals in the garden.  Mix 2 tablespoons of powdered asafoetida with 1½ litres of water, shake hard, then apply around plants.


 healing kichadi

For a lighter spring/summer kichadi, see recipe here or here. One of my favourites is this barley kichadi.


½ cup whole moong dal (mung beans)

½ cup brown basmati  rice

4 cups/1 litres water

3 cardamom pods

1 cup broccoli\cabbage, finely chopped

1 tsp rock salt 

1 tsp jaggery/brown sugar

¼ cup dried shredded coconut

1 heaped tsp finely chopped ginger


1 Tbsp  ghee

½ tsp black mustard seeds

1 heaped tsp cumin seeds

1 medium red chilli

10 fresh curry leaves

⅛ tsp asafoetida powder (hingu)

⅛ heaped tsp turmeric powder

juice of half a lemon or more to taste

¼ cup coriander, chopped

1 cup roughly chopped kale

extra ghee for serving


1.  In a heavy saucepan, rinse the rice and dal until the water runs clear, drain, then pour in the 1-litre water, add the cardamom pods and bring to boil, then lower the heat to maintain a rapid simmer – simmer for 15 minutes uncovered, then add the cabbage.

2.   Simmer until dal and rice has broken down and softened – approximately 30 – 40 minutes. You may have to add water as needed. While waiting for the dal and rice to cook, chop the chilli into three pieces and tear the curry leaves in half (this way everyone is guaranteed to consume a curry leaf and benefit from their medicinal properties) and measure the spices for the voggarane.

3.  Add salt, jaggery, dried coconut and chopped ginger – simmer for 1-2 minutes more, then turn off the heat, cover and set aside.

prepare the voggarane

4.  In a small pan over medium heat, add the ghee and mustard seeds; when the seeds start to splutter and pop, turn down the heat and add cumin seeds and chopped chilli – fry until sizzling and fragrant. 

5.  Add the curry leaves, asafoetida and turmeric powder – fry for 30 seconds, swishing the pan around to allow for the spices to fry evenly.

6.  Pour the voggarane into the cooked dal and rice and stir in the lemon juice.

7.  With your hands, break up the fresh coriander, roughly chopped kale and stir into the kichadi.  Check for seasoning, adding more salt or lemon if needed.

At serving time, garnish with fresh coriander and drizzle with ghee.  Top with a dollop of spicy yoghurt and avocado mixture or plain yoghurt and pickle.


Goodness shared from Stacey

spicy pumpkin lentil soup

14th June 2009

A cold snap has just hit in the last few days, not only climatically but also throughout my body.  A pot of Spicy Pumpkin Lentil soup was required.  Packed with spices to warm the soul and body. Pumpkin, carrots, fennel and tomatoes added for substance and a quick puree for a thicker, smooth result. I personally like the smooth, blended soups. Pure goodness in a bowl.  It was enough to clear the head, if only for a short while.


spicy pumpkin lentil soup

I like to use the brightest coloured pumpkin I can find as it gives better flavour and colour. I used Jap, but any other brightly coloured varieties will do. The fennel was an add-in as I recently picked the bulb from my garden to roast and had half of it left, so completely optional.  The rasam powder can be purchased from Indian speciality stores. I use an MTR brand, about A$2.50 for 200g packet.  It is a Southern Indian spice mix – a discovery from my sister who purchases it fresh from Mysore in India and uses it in her Dahls. The best pan for toasting the spices also comes from India, once again, courtesy of my sister. It is 15cm in diameter and has a rounded base, though not sure what it is called. Perfect size and also great for nuts.  Oh, and don’t be put off by the number of ingredients.


 1kg diced pumpkin

2 diced carrots

2 -3 diced tomatoes

½ fennel bulb, diced (optional)

1 cup rinsed red lentils

4 cups vegetable stock

1 tsp turmeric

6 curry leaves

2 tsp. ghee or olive oil

1 tsp black mustard seeds

2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger

1 whole cardamom pod

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp rasam powder

1 tsp tamarind paste

1 Tbsp raw sugar


1.  Add the first 8 ingredients into large heavy- based pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are soft.

2.  Meanwhile, in a small pan, heat ghee/olive oil over med-high heat. Add mustard seeds and wait till pop and turn grey.  Stir occasionally. Turn off heat, add ginger and remainder of spices and stir through. Let sit for about a minute or two.

3.  Add spice mixture to pot with tamarind paste and sugar. Turn heat off and rest until ready to serve.  Remove curry leaves and cardamom pod and puree if desired.

4.  Salt to taste and serve with a dollop of yoghurt/labne.

Goodness shared from Donna

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