Cleansing Kitchery

26 02 2012

Happy Sunday once again. It’s a snowy one here but a good day for CBC podcasts and to cook up a pot of Kitchery. I am honestly surprised I hadn’t shared this recipe with you before. For the yogis out there, they’d know it, especially if you’ve been to practice in India. Kitchery is a very basic meal of ghee, mung beans, brown rice and herbs. It is a staple for doing panchakarma which is an ayurvedic whole body cleanse. And when I say whole body, I mean from the nasal passages to bowel to skin. It is quite intense and meant to balance. During the cleanse (about a week or so) you eat nourishing and very easily digested foods, namely kitchery. I’ve talked about a mono-diet on this blog before and it’s my experience that it is a good way to stick to healthful living. Cooking a one pot soup or quinoa salad and eating it every day for lunch or dinner ensures you are eating well and it is just so convenient when you are busy, which most of us are. Last week was an insanely busy week of work with ordered in lunches and dinner events which didn’t end on the weekend with two more dinner outings. Fun but I am finished with eating out for a bit ;). A pot of kitchery will do the trick this week to balance body and mind.

I like to add the vegetables to the kitchery instead of steaming them on the side, which is quite normal. One pot stop. You can add whatever vegetables you like, I grabbed what was at the market yesterday. I add asafoetida to this recipe and to some Indian dishes when cooking without onions and garlic. If you read this blog often you’ll know that onions and garlic are not usually considered a calming (sattvic food), so when cleansing, we eliminate them. Asafoetida is a herb used in India and some Middle Eastern countries and known to support digestion. It stinks so bad though, I keep mine double zip-locked! You only need the smallest of a pinch to get the flavour and benefit. If you don’t have it, no worries, but look for it in your Indian grocery.

  • 1/2 cup Mung Beans, soaked for awhile or up to over night
  • 1 tbsp Ghee (I use my favourite coconut oil-ghee blend)
  • 1/2 cup Brown Basmati or Jasmine Rice, rinsed
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Coriander Seeds
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 2 Cardamom Pods
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 inch grated Ginger
  • 6 cups of filtered Water
  • 1 cube low sodium Veggie Stock
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt (or to taste)
  • Pinch Asafoetida
  • 2 cups chopped Carrots
  • 2 cups chopped Parsnips
  • 1/2 head Cauliflower, cut to small florets
  • 1 bunch Dinosaur Kale, de-stemmed and chopped

Heat the ghee in a soup pot, add the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds, the cardamom and ginger. Stir until they become aromatic, a couple of minutes. Add the mung beans, rice, water, salt, veggie stock, turmeric and asafoetida. Bring to a boil, then let simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes. Add the veggies, except for the kale, cook stirring now and then, for 30 minutes. The rice and mung beans should be softening by now and water absorbing. Add the kale, cook covered until the rest of the water is absorbed and kale cooked, about 15 minutes. You may need to add a bit more water, just keep an eye on it.

Wishing you a healthful week,

Eat well, Be well,

Nat

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Recipe Share: Veg Lentil Soup

24 10 2011

I love how this soup has friends, family and community farmers all in one pot – metaphorically speaking. Our friend Dan gave us a big ‘ole container of green lentils grown on his wife’s family’s farm in Saskatchewan. I have been looking forward to making a pot of lentil soup for some time. My dear friend Kelly shared this recipe with me. It is a family favourite. Her and I were out for a leisurely tea remembering her sister and my good friend Jodie who passed away a year ago. Among many things, we shared nourishing soup recipes and ate a cookie in her honour, Jod loved cookies. As well, our family suffered the loss of my cousin in recent weeks, he was known to be the cook in the kitchen himself (runs in the family eh) – so it seemed fitting to put a pot of soup on the stove this weekend in remembrance.

This couldn’t be a simpler recipe, and as Kelly says, she rarely follows the recipe, so I did the same. Here is the recipe and my additions below.

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped (I omitted this)
  • 1 tsp Curry Powder
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin (fresh ground is best)
  • 1/2 cup diced Carrot
  • 1/2 cup diced Celery
  • 1 cup diced Potato
  • 1 cup dry Green Lentils
  • 4 cups or so of stock (use chicken or veggie, I used Veggie cubes)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Hot Sauce

I more than doubled the recipe and also added;

  • Diced Parsnips
  • Zucchini (which I added with the stock)
  • Chopped Parsley (I always have some frozen in the freezer for soup)
  • 1 tsp hot Chilli Powder

Saute the veggies first, until they start to sweat. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to boil and simmer on a low boil until lentils are soft. Add the lemon and hot sauce, serve.

Oh yeah, hello fall.

Eat well, Be well,

Nat





Sayulita Life Part III

20 03 2010

Home from Mexico and drying up like a prune. The wedding was amazing (happy couple Bryce and Tara) and the town of Sayulita the perfect Mexican get away. Small surfer village, no big resorts, nothing over three stories tall, families and surfers vacationing together and locals living and loving the surf along with sun seekers. The food was incredible. Yoga in the morning sun. Fruit salads daily, fish tacos, veggie burritos for lunch and out to one of the many quaint and very good restaurants each night. Day of expense, the boys headed out for some ocean fishing and the girls headed to the Four Seasons in Punta Mita for a lunch by the pool (which we later learned moved a village to build, grrr). Love to hear your comments about Sayulita if you’ve been.

The tequila research was easy. After the wedding at Villa Amor, a quaint character complex on the beach, the wedding party walked down the cobbled streets to the main plaza (the intersection of the four roads in Sayulita) and stopped at Sayulita Fish Taco for a shot of Tequila. Here the owner gave us the Tequila 101. There are three forms of the agave elixir; Blanco (silver, unaged tequila), Reposado (golden, lightly aged tequila) and Anejo (darker, longer aged tequila). The difference between the tequila can be told mostly in the blanco varieties. When they are aged, they are aged in wood barrels and casks which masks the original flavour of the agave and the region it comes from. There are thousands of Tequila varieties and at any time SFT has 350+ on hand. You can try a flight of Tequila like you do with wine, which Tony and I went back to do. They served sliced orange sprinkled with cinnamon to cleanse the palate. Like wine, this is a really good way to taste the difference between tequilas. There is a technique to tasting tequila. Take a sip, inhale through your nose, swallow and exhale through your mouth (for the yogis, doesn’t that make for a fun pranayama, kidding). We learned that tequila has a low sugar content and after doing some research the carbohydrate content of tequila is unique to each brand, some brands have sugar added to them during processing. El Jimador is very low in sugars while Jose Cuervo is higher. If you are keen, look here.

I happen to like tequila*, so learning more about it was interesting. The lime or fresa (strawberry) margaritas were a daily additive. To the chagrin of my travelling companions I created a way to drink tequila with no added sugar. In my self proclaimed genius I poured a shot of Reposado El Jimador over ice in a tumbler, squeezed two small ‘limons’ over it and added soda water. Voila a refreshing drink we named the Agave Azul (after the name of the residence we were living in). I asked about this at dinner one night to learn it is called a Charro Blancho or ‘white cowboy’. Really? That’s not sexy and we stuck to our naming convention. At the Four Seasons they introduced us to a version called the Poloma made with grapefruit soda (aka Squirt, again not sexy). It was good too.

We enjoyed guacamole every day, there is nothing like fresh avocados in Mexico. We bought Queso Fresco (fresh cheese) and made bean and cheese quesadillas with fresh maize tortillas. There is a wonderful bakery we tried late in our trip which was too bad but probably a good thing. I love grocery shopping in other places and I bought cumin, cinnamon, vanilla beans, whole nutmeg and turmeric to bring home.

I learned to make guacamole in Mexico many years ago, here is the recipe to enjoy for yourself.

2 Ripe Avocados

1 Tomato, diced

2-3 Tbsp of Red Onion, diced (this is optional, I usually leave it out)

2-3 Tbsp chopped Cilantro

1 tsp Ground Cumin

2-3 Tbsp Queso Fresco (or 1-2 Tbsp plain yogurt, again optional)

1-2 Tbsp of fresh Lime Juice

Pinch of Salt

I learned to half the avocado, remove the pit. Scoop the flesh out and mush with a spoon (this was really important for some reason). Mix in the rest of the ingredients, enjoy.

*Tequila is obviously not a health food (although I tried to figure out how it could be, I am sure there is an ancient wisdom in it somewhere). I am not dogmatic about not drinking, over doing it isn’t healthy. Just drink responsibly and enjoy the flavours of other cultures.

Eat well and be well, Nat





Just Eat It: One Pot Moroccan Goodness

10 03 2010

This month’s recipe for the Shala’s ‘Just Eat It’ column is a real simple, hearty and healthful Moroccan stew. Winter is coming to an end, give the winter veggies one last hurrah before the change in seasons – the veggies here are definitely negotiable and I love that this recipe can change with the seasons. The sweetness of the dried fruit and the warming of the coconut milk and curry make for a comfort food in our home.

Both cumin and turmeric are considered medicinal herbs. Cumin has long been used all over the world as a digestive aid and is a source of iron. Turmeric a popular ingredient in salves and an aid to injuries throughout Asia. It is an antioxidant, antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Curry powder is mix of spices and can include these spices but can also includes coriander, fenugreek, ginger, cardamom and mustard seeds to name a few. Curry powders are prominent across Asia, are full of goodness so choose your favourite to use in this recipe.

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Red Onion (small onion or skip if you are anti-onion), chopped up

2 large Carrots chopped up

2 cups Vegetable Stock (homemade is best or use a low sodium, organic veggie cube in 2 cups warm water)

1 400 ml can Coconut Milk

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Cayenne

1-2 Tbsp Curry Powder (depending on how strong your curry powder is and what you like)

4 Tbsp ground Cumin

1/2 tsp Turmeric

Veggies to pick from, add at least 4-5 items, cut them into chunks, skin and all: 2 Potatoes, 1 Sweet Potato, 1 Yam, 1 Eggplant, 2 Green Pepper, 2 Red Peppers, 1 Zucchini, 1 cup Cauliflower, 1 Rutabaga, 1 Turnip – sky’s the limit!

1 400 ml can Chick Peas (or 2 cups cooked from dried)

1/4 cup raisins or chopped unsulphured dried apricots

1/8 cup dried grated Coconut (unsweetened)

Sea Salt to taste

– Add the onion and carrots to a large pot with 1/2 cup of stock and olive oil. Cook over medium heat until onion softens

– Add the spices, stirring for a minute, add the coconut milk

– Add the veggies that take a bit longer to cook like potatoes, sweet potatoes or yams and the rest of the stock, cover and cook for 5 minutes

– Add the rest of the veggies, chickpeas, raisins/apricots and coconut, cover and cook until veggies are soft but not over cooked, about 15-20 minutes. Flavour with sea salt

Serve over quinoa, brown basmati rice or on it’s own. Garnish with a few sprinkles of coconut and eat it!

Eat well, Nat