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Janani gets ready to enjoy kitcheri with burdock and squash.

This week some of the first year Gurukula students are doing their gradual reintroduction of food after their home panchakarma assignment. We created this recipe to support them--and they pronounced the recipe delicious!

Burdock root is important as both a food and herb. It has the bitter and astringent tastes recommended for the spring season, but it also has some sweetness because of its content of probiotic inulin. It is a good blood purifier and liver tonic and is also used in our pharmacy because of its anticancer and lymph cleansing actions. To learn more about burdock from an Ayurvedic perspective, visit this excellent site.

Kitcheri with burdock and squash

Serves 4 as a one-pot dish or 6-8 with sabji

Ingredients

1 cup split yellow mung dal (available from Indian and Asian markets)

1 cup basmati rice

1 burdock root, chopped

1 lb winter squash, cubed

1 tbsp ghee

1 inch piece of fresh ginger

1 tsp turmeric or 2" fresh turmeric

1 tsp each of powdered fennel, cumin and coriander

6 cups water

1-2 tsp garam masala

Wash mung dal and rice thoroughly. Heat the ghee or oil, add the spices and cook for a minute, taking care not to burn the spices.

Add rice, dal, vegetables and water, then bring to boil. Turn down to simmer for 45 minutes or until mung dal is very soft in pot on stove.

After cooking, add salt to taste. If you live at altitude, cook the mung beans for 45 minutes while soaking the rice, then add the rice and cook for 45 minutes more; or make the kitcheri in a pressure cooker.

For an extra touch of deliciousness, serve with Ginger, Turmeric, Cumin Flavoured Ghee.

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Green pea and asparagus soup, beet maror, karpas and of course, Hafez!

This year, instead of making Vegan Matzoh Ball Soup for the Passover Seder, I decided to make Green Pea and Asparagus soup instead. This green, springtime soup is a bit of an Alandi Passover tradition--but it would be great for Easter or any springtime gathering. It's an amazingly delicious soup that takes little time to make and yet leaves your guests delighted.

I adapted this recipe from one of my favourite cookbooks, Mediterranean Vegetarian Cooking by Colin Spencer.

Green Pea and Asparagus Soup

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1 bunch asparagus

1 lb. organic frozen peas, defrosted

2 Tbsp. olive oil

8 cups vegetable broth

Salt and black pepper to taste

2 tbsp parsley, chopped

Break off the tough white part of the asparagus stalks and save for future vegetable broth. Cut off the asparagus tips and reserve. Chop the green, tender asparagus stalks in 2" pieces.

Heat olive oil in pan and cook the asparagus and green peas for a few minutes. Add the vegetable broth and simmer for 15 minutes.

Blend in a blender or with an immersion blender. Reheat.

Stir fry the asparagus tips in olive oil for a few minutes and add to the soup. Add the salt, pepper and parsley and cook a few more minutes to combine the flavours.

Enjoy!

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Alandi Ashram Seder table with seder plate by Dale Rose and our home-made haggadot we wrote.

Black-eye Pea Bhaji

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This nourishing soup can be served alongside a rice dish such as yellow rice, or eaten accompanied by a flatbread like chepati or puri. Black-eye peas are good for nursing mothers and provide a great source of protein and fibre.

Black-eye Pea Bhaji

Serves 4-6

I cup black-eye peas, soaked overnight

4 cups water (approx.)

1 large clove garlic, chopped

1 small handful cilantro, chopped

1.5" piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

2 heaping Tbsp. shredded coconut/coconut flakes

½ cup water for blending

2 Tbsp. sunflower oil

1 tsp. black mustard seeds

1 tsp. cumin seeds

1 pinch hing

5 curry leaves

¼ tsp. ajwan

¼ tsp turmeric

1 tsp. garam masala

¼ tsp. salt

Drain black-eye peas. Pressure cook in approximately 4 cups water until soft, about an hour.

Put garlic, cilantro, ginger, coconut and ½ cup water in blender and blend until liquefied. Set aside.

In saucepan, heat oil, add mustard seeds, cumin, hing, curry leaves. When seeds pop, stir in blended coconut mixture. Add ajwan, turmeric, masala and salt. Cook for 1 minute to lightly brown.

Pour in the black-eye peas and their cooking water and mix well.

Rinse out the blender with clean water to add the extra to the soup.

Bring to a boil, if it's more liquid than you want, simmer uncovered to reduce, if it's too thick you can thin it.

Adapted from Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing by Usha And Vasant Lad

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Sweet and comforting parsnip is a great winter vegetable and a good source of fibre, antoxidants, vitamin C and folic acid--essential for women's reproductive health. In this delicious recipe it is paired with aparagus for a healthy sabji that soothes vata and pitta and supports reproductive heath.

Asparagus and Parsnip Sabji

Serves 4

Ingredients:

I bunch asparagus cut into 1" pieces

1 lb. parsnips cut into ½ " cubes

1Tbsp ghee

½ cup water

½ tsp. fenugreek seeds

¼ tsp. black/brown mustard seeds
1/8 tsp. gluten free hing

½ tsp. turmeric

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. ground cumin

¼ tsp. fresh ground black pepper

1 Tbsp ground coriander

Method

Warm half the ghee in a large skillet, add fenugreek and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds pop, stir in the hing, turmeric and chopped parsnips. Mix well, add water, cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the salt, cumin, black pepper and coriander and simmer together for 5-10 minutes or until parsnips are fork tender (longer time if recipe is increased). Meanwhile, heat the rest of the ghee in a separate pan and sauté the asparagus until flavourful (5-10 minutes). Mix the sautéed asparagus in with the parsnips and serve. Pair with Cleansing Kitcheri or Tridoshic Kitcheri for a simple, wholesome meal.

Adapted from The Ayurvedic Cookbook by Amadea Morningstar

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To accompany our blog on fenugreek seed home remedies, here's a recipe for fenugreek greens with carrots. This is a great winter sabji, especially good for nursing mothers or people wanting to prevent age-related eye diseases. The sweetness of the carrots balances the bitterness of fenugreek greens for a delicious taste.

You can tailor the spiciness to your needs, using mild red chili power for a mild dish or cayenne for one with a kick. Fenugreek greens are available from Indian grocery stores; if fresh is not available, you can use frozen, as we did!

This is a dry sabji, so use as little water as possible to sauté. Just add a tablespoon or so of water as needed to prevent sticking.

Serve with cleansing kitcheri for a super-healthy meal.

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Carrot and Fenugreek Sabji

Ingredients:

2 lb. carrots
1 bunch methi /fenugreek leaves
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 pinch hing
2 tsp. coriander powder
½ tsp. mild red chili powder or cayenne pepper
½ tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. amchur or lemon juice
1 Tbsp. ghee
Salt to taste

Method:

Wash and chop carrots. Wash the fenugreek greens. Separate the leaves from the stems. Finely chop the leaves, save the stems for vegetable broth.

On medium high heat add 1 tablespoon ghee in a wok, add cumin seeds and asafetida and fry them for 2 to 3 minutes or until cumin seeds become dark brown.

Add coriander powder, red chili and turmeric powder, mix well and fry
for few seconds.

Now add the carrots, fenugreek greens and salt and stir well. Cover and cook on medium heat, for about 20-25 minutes, adding a tablespoon or so of water if needed to prevent sticking. Stir from time to time.

Once the carrots are tender and any extra water has evaporated, add the amchur or lemon juice and mix well. Serve hot.

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Source: Adapted from http://www.northindiancooking.com/gajar-methi-ki-sabzi-carrots-with-fenugreek-leaves.html A great blog on North Indian Cuisine.

Squash yam sabji

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Try something different this holiday season! Here is a a delicious dish for holiday dinners and special occasions. Squash Yam sabji is full of beta carotene to help fight off winter colds and flus. And many of the warming spices in this recipe, like cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and mace also help with winter sniffles, as well as conveying a taste we associate with the holidays.

Good for vata and pitta, kapha can have occasionally with extra Jalapeño.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1 jewel yam

1 garnet yam

11/2lb of pumpkin, Hubbard, butternut or banana squash, peeled and cut into 11/2"pieces. (Not spaghetti squash). If you combine different varieties it's even better!

1 bunch chard, washed and chopped

1 can coconut milk

2 Tbsp coconut powder, roasted

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp turmeric

1 cinnamon stick

5 green cardamom pods

8 cloves

1 pinch nutmeg

1 pinch mace

1 pinch hing

1-2 Jalopeno peppers, chopped and seeded

1" piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

3 Tbsp ghee or sunflower oil

1 tsp salt

1 bunch cilantro, washed and chopped

Boil the yams until just fork tender. Reserve the water yams were boiled in. Meanwhile, stir-fry the squash or pumpkin in 2 Tbsp of the ghee or oil until just tender. For a low fat alternative, you can steam the squash until fork tender. However, the stir-fried pieces are less likely to fall apart in the final dish and are tastier. Cube the cooked yams and combine the yams, squash, chard, coconut powder and coconut milk in a heavy-bottomed pan. Use some or all of the water from boiling the yams to provide enough liquid for the mixture to be saucey but not soupy. Let this mixture simmer together for 10 minutes. In the meantime, heat the rest of the ghee or oil and add the whole spices and the jaggery. Cook until the seeds brown: then add the ginger and jalapeños. Continue cooking until the ginger just begins to brown, then add the powdered spices and immediately turn off the flame. Add the cooked spices and the cilantro and salt to the vegetables and simmer together for a few more minutes. It is important to see that you don't overcook the dish until the vegetables fall apart. The beauty of this recipe lies in savouring the different tastes of the vegetables in the coconut sauce.

Serve with kitcheri and apple chutney. Try almond pudding for dessert.

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Turnip Latkes

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Turnip latkes are a delcious low-carb alternative to the usual potato latkes, full of phytonutrients. The combination of turnup, carrot and parsley makes these latkes quite colourful. Flax seed meal is a great egg replacer but be sure to use the golden meal to preserve the pretty colour of the latkes.
This made smallish batch of latkes, so increase for a family or a party!


Ingredients
3 cups grated turnip (this was about 2 large turnips)
1 cup grated carrot
1 small bunch flatleaf parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp golden flax seed meal mixed in water (or 2 eggs, if you eat eggs)
2 Tbsp tapioca flour (if you need very low carb use almond or coconut flour)
1 tsp ground cumin
2 pinches nutmeg
Salt to taste
Olive oil for frying

Method
Grate the veggies and chop the cilantro an hour ahead of time.Combine them and salt to taste. After an hour, squeeze out the water from the veggies one handful at a time (this was great hand therapy!). Place the veggies in a dry bowl and mix in the other ingredients. Now shape them nicely into patties and place on some kitchen paper .I made little balls in my hand and then pressed them into firm patties. heat the olive oil in a cast iron frying pan or wok (I used my Indian tawa). Test the oil temperature with a little of the remnants of the veggies. If the shredded veggies sizzle when dropped in, the oil is hot enough to fry the latkes. Fry each latke gently until golden brown on each side (about 5 minutes). Remove with a slotted spatula and drain on paper towel.
Latkes are traditionally served with applesauce and sour cream (or vegan sour cream ). We aren't big fans of applesauce so we had ours with apple chutney and some yoghurt seasoned with dill. It was a delicious combination!





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There's nothing like a nice warm casserole on a cold day. And when snow and ice prevented us travelling on Thanksgiving Day, I was left to my own devices to create a meal from what we had on hand. That included four small eggplants from our garden (two purple and two white, to be precise), and six San Mazarno tomatoes we harvested at Munson Family Farms, a few miles away. We had shallots from Munson's as well. Of course, this dish is supremely vata soothing and ideal for a chilly day in fall. It could also be quite pitta provoking; but the chickpeas, lime peel and turmeric do help to modify the dish. As a pitta, I found it acceptable on a vata day in context of a menu of pitta soothing dishes, as noted below.

This dish is typically served over plain rice; we made ours a little drier and served it on the side with Persian Rice with Chard and Persian Winter Squash Soup. And the dish usually includes meat in the sauce, but our veggie version was delicious!

The original recipe says to peel the eggplants; we didn't peel ours as a lot of the blood sugar balancing phytonutrients are in the peel Another option is to stripe them with a peeler, leaving stripes of peel on while removing some.

Source: Based on http://shelbyvillemultimedia.org/2011/09/khoresht-e-bademjan-persian-eggplant-stew/

Vegetarian Khoresht-E Bademjan

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium-sized or four small eggplants, sliced
  • 1 shallot, peeled and sliced
  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 6 large plum tomatoes
  • Peel of half a lime, cut into small strips.
  • A few squeezes of the limejuice
  • ½ can of garbanzo beans, coarsely mashed.
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 cloves of garlic- chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Serves 3 people

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Cover a baking sheet with foil. Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with olive oil and place them on sheet. Cook for 20-30 minutes.
  2. In a medium-size saucepan sauté shallot and garlic in the olive oil until golden brown.
  3. Add ½ cup of water, the tomatoes, lime peel, mashed garbanzos, salt, pepper, and turmeric to saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the tomatoes are soft and you have a nice saucy texture.
  4. Place eggplants in a deep baking dish, top with tomato sauce. Cover and cook for 45 minutes in preheated oven.

Persian Rice with Chard

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Thanksgiving was a snowy and icy day. Remembering how we were stuck on a bus for four hours last Christmas Day, we decided to cancel going to visit Sadananda's sister for a family gathering, much as we were looking forward to it. As a result, I had to improvise a Thanksgiving meal for two--using what we happened to have. We had a basket of chard we harvested before the freeze, leading me to make this delicious recipe--vegatarian and gluten free. Serve with Persian Winter Squash Soup. Ideally, serve tourshi along with Persian food.

For a low carb version, simply use mashed cauliflower insread of rice. And you can easily make it vegan by omitting the feta cheese.

Persian Rice with Chard Dish

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 Serrano pepper, de-seeded and chopped finely
  • 4 Tbsp. dried cranberries or raisins
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons toasted pistachio kernels
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • ½ cup mint leaves or dill, washed and chopped
  • 4 oz. feta cheese, cubed

In Iran dried barberries would be used instead of cranberries.

Instructions

  1. Soak the saffron in a couple of tablespoons boiling water
  2. Wash the rice and cook in 2 cups water, adding the saffron and saffron water as well.
  3. Wash and slice the chard.
  4. Toast the pistachio kernels and chop them.
  5. Pour the olive oil into a large skillet and put it over medium heat. Crush the garlic straight into the skillet. Add Serrano pepper, cumin and raisins or berries and sauté for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Don't let the garlic and berries scorch - lower the heat if necessary.
  6. Add the chard into the skillet and continue to cook for 2 - 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the pistachios, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and toss. Remove from the heat.
  7. Add the rice into the skillet and toss.
  8. Now gently stir in the feta cheese and sprinkle dill and/or mint on top.

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Here is a vegetarian or vegan, gluten free, Ayurvedic Thanksgiving menu. You could create a vegetarian Thanksgiving or use these recipes to add variety to the traditional turkey dinner.

Menu:

  • Kasha with sweet potato
  • Kale with pecans
  • Moroccan roast potato with tahini sauce
  • Pumpkin Halvah
  • Cranberry chutney

Kasha with Sweet Potato

Serves 4-6

Modified from this recipe


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Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups buckwheat groats
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 lbs orange-fleshed sweet potatoes aka 'yams'
  • 2 tablespoon ghee
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth
  • ½ cup gluten free tamari
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dry ginger powder
  • 2 Tbsp sliced almonds
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Kasha: Thoroughly rinse the groats and discard water. In a medium saucepan, bring required water to a boil. Add rinsed groats. Cover. Reduce heat to low and cook groats for 20 minutes until the water is absorbed and the groats are fluffy.

  • Sweet-Potato Puree: Prick sweet potatoes with a fork and bake in oven at 400 degrees for 50 minutes to an hour. Remove and discard skins. In a large mixing bowl, mash sweet potatoes. Add vegetable broth, dry ginger powder and half the ghee. Add a little salt but not too much, as the garlic sauce is quite salty already. Add pepper to taste.

  • Garlic Sauce: In a small bowl, blend tamari with olive oil and garlic. Combine the three parts of the recipe: spoon kasha into a serving dish; drizzle with garlic sauce. Top with sweet potato mixture.

  • Garnish: Fry the almonds in ghee until golden. Distribute the almonds over the top and pour on the hot ghee. Serve hot.

Kale with Pecans

from http://www.muthfamilyfarm.com
Serves 3 as a side dish

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  • 1 bunch kale or swiss chard (if using kale, remove center stems), cut into bite-size strips
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt to taste
  • One lemon, cut into wedges

Lightly toast the nuts in a pan on the stovetop, stirring with tongs. After 2-3 minutes, add olive oil to the pan and allow it to heat up. Add chopped greens to pan, and sprinkle with salt. Cover. Cook greens until tender, stirring occasionally. Add 1-2 Tbsp. of water if needed. Use tongs to clear a space in center of the pan and add minced garlic in a single layer. Cook garlic about 30 seconds, then mix it up with the kale & nuts. Salt to taste. Serve with lemon wedges so guests can add lemon as desired.

Moroccan Roast potatoes with tahini sauce

Serves 6-8 as a side dish

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Ingredients

  • 2 lb red potatoes, unpeeled, washed
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 pinches allspice
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbs sesame seeds, toasted
  • 3/4 cup small mint leaves

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a large roasting pan. Cut the potatoes in half lengthways and arrange in the pan.
  2. Drizzle the oil over the potatoes then sprinkle the spices over them. Turn to coat the potatoes. Roast, turning occasionally, for 45-50 minutes or until golden and tender.
  3. Remove from oven. Place the potatoes on a serving platter, Sprinkle with sesame seeds and mint.

Moroccan Tahini Sauce

Juice of 1 lemon

4 T yoghurt

2 T tahini

Water enough to get desired consistency

Salt to taste

Blend ingredients, serve with the potatoes.

Pumpkin Halvah

Serves 6

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Ingredients

2lb. pumpkin

2 tbsp slivered almonds

12 pistachio

2 tbs. unsweetened coconut flakes

3-4 tbs. ghee or coconut oil

1/2 cup coconut milk

½ cup muscovado or turbinado sugar (unrefined cane sugar)

1 tsp. cardamom powder

¼ cup raisins

Instructions

Place pumpkin on a chopping board and cut into slices.Remove seeds and fibre and discard. Peel the thick skin off, removing all of the hard and thick skin.

Cut flesh into small, 2 cm. cubes.

Heat ghee or oil in a heavy based pan. Add pumpkin and stir fry for a minute.

Add the coconut milk and simmer until flesh is soft. 10-15 minutes.

Fry the coconut in a clean pan, on low heat, until there is a nice aroma of coconut.

Returning to cooked, soft pumpkin, turn the heat off. Mash it well, using a potato masher or back of a spoon.

Add sugar and cardamom seeds to the pumpkin mash and stir fry on medium heat until liquid dries up, ghee or oil separates and pumpkin looks shiny and has a mashed potato consistency.

Add most of the almonds, saving a little for garnish, all the coconut and raisins.

Transfer to serving dish and decorate with almond.

Serve hot.

Cranberry apple Chutney


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Ingredients
2 punnets organic cranberries ( 4 cups)
4 cups chopped apples
1 orange
1/4 tsp raisins
2 tbsp chopped pecans
2" piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped finely
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
2 sticks cinnamon
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp ghee or sunflower oil
6 cloves, ground
1 star anise, ground (optional but good)
2 pinches mace
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
Water as needed

Recipe
Put washed cranberries and washed chopped apples in heavy bottomed pan. Grate 1tsp of the orange peel and add. Now squeeze the orange and add the juice. Bring to boil and simmer, stirring frequently to prevent sticking and adding water as needed. Once it is simmering, add sugar and raisins.
In a small frying pan, melt the ghee, add cumin seeds and chilies and fry until they darken a shade. Now add chopped ginger and cinnamon and fry until the ginger is browned.

Add the fried spices to the chutney, then the spice powders (clove, star anise, mace, cardamom.)

When the chutney is almost cooked, add the chopped nuts.

Enjoy your healthy and delicious meal!

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