Easy and Light
Sohirag lists some basic foods that are good for you according to Ayurveda
These healthy foods are easy to make. Try including them in your diet…
Why it’s good For You: Ghee is a revered cooking medium in Ayurveda. The ancient texts call it a rasayana’, which means a healing food that balances body and mind, thus promoting longevity. Modern research has established that ghee is an antioxidant and contains beta-carotene. Being free of milk solids, ghee does not spoil easily. Further, you can use it frugally in your cooking and yet get rich a aroma and flavour.
How to Make It: Place 500 g butter in a saucepan and slowly melt over medium heat. When the butter comes to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer the butter uncovered and undisturbed for 45 to 60 minutes. As the temperature reaches the boiling point of water, the butter’s water content vaporises, the butter foams and makes tiny, sharp crackling noises. The milk solids in the butter slowly settle down to the bottom, leaving a pale golden liquid on top, which you can sieve into a clean glass jar. This is ghee.
Why it’s good For You: Fruit is comparable to gold in Ayurveda. It increases ‘ojas’ that spark of vitality’, which is generated by a well oiled body-mind machinery. Fruit desserts are light and help in digestion. Since Ayurveda recommends eating fruit on its own, it is best to have this dessert 30 minutes after your meal.
How to Make It: Add a stick of cinnamon, half a tsp grated lemon and one tbsp grated orange rind, to a cup of orange juice. Bring this to a boil and then cook for five minutes. Strain out the seeds. Add to the decoction, 500 g each of whole apricots (or fresh peach slices) and pitted cherries (fresh or frozen, but not canned). To this, add two oranges (peeled and sliced) and 1/3 cup slivered almonds. Bring to a boil. Simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool till slightly warm. Add 1/4 cup honey and serve.
Why it’s good For You: Basmati rice is considered by Ayurveda to be a highly beneficial grain that balances all three ‘doshas’. However, eating Basmati rice daily can be heavy on your system. So do make rice an important part of your diet, but try eating it not more than four times a week. Rice is believed to promote mucus production, so if your ‘Kapha dosha’ is dominant, lightly roast the rice before adding water for cooking to make it lighter.
How to Cook It: Mix together one cup rice and 2 cups water and place on medium heat. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer. Allow to cook undisturbed for 15 to 20 minutes, and then press a grain or two between your fingers to test if the rice is done. Well-done rice should not be sticky or hard. The grains should be separate and fluffy.
A common mistake is to add cold water to rice that is already cooking. This destroys the ‘agni’ of the rice and interferes with digestion. If you are adding salt, do it after the rice is fully cooked.
Yellow Lentil Soup
Why it’s good For You: Because Ayurveda recommends a vegetarian way of life, beans and lentils constitute an important source of nutrition for their ability to provide protein, complex carbohydrates, fibre and vitamins. As versatile as they are tasty, members of the legume family lend themselves for use in salads, appetisers, soups, main dishes, sides and even desserts. They combine deliciously with grains, vegetables, herbs and spices too.Split moong dal is considered to be excellent for all three ‘doshas’. Easier to digest than most other lentils, yellow moong daal can be eaten every day. When cooked, moong dal takes on the consistency of a thickish soup.
How to Make It: Cook a cup of moong dal with half a tsp turmeric powder, a pinch of ground coriander and cumin, and a pinch of crushed ginger. You should have approximately 2 ½ cups of cooked dal when done. Steam a bunch of fresh spinach for two to three minutes, blend with dal, just enough to distribute the spinach evenly into the dal without turning it into liquid. Sprinkle with fresh lemon juice and a pinch of black salt. Serve with rice or chapatti.
Why it’s good For You: Cooked apples, eaten first thing in the morning, help to create ‘ojas’, or inner glow. Ojas contributes to enhanced vitality, strength, immunity, and overall wellbeing. Sweet juicy fruits are excellent cleansers as they help to eliminate impurities from the body. According to Ayurveda, it is best to eat fruits first thing in the morning, 30 minutes before other breakfast items such as hot cereal.
How to Make It: Peel and chop an apple into small pieces place the pieces in a small pot and add some water. Add a tablespoon of raisins and a clove and keep over a low heat. Bring to a boil and then allow to cook for about 20 minutes or until the fruit is of a tender consistency. Eat warm.