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Suvir,

I would love to learn more about ayurveda.Is it a ingredient?or a technique?

I thought it hade something to do with health?

TIA

Turnip Greens are Better than Nothing. Ask the people who have tried both.

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Ayurvedic medicine is a profession practiced in India. First mentioned in the Rig Veda over 5000 years ago. Charaka Samhita was the first complete Ayurvedic text written by Charaka around 700 BC in The Punjab. It contains detailed study of general medicine and the use of foods, spices and herbs for healing. Its concepts are the foundation of what became the Greek humoral system (pertaining to one of the four fluids of the body; blood, choler, phlegm and black bile), and later the current biomedical system. This was one of the reasons that made India desirable to be conquered by Alexander. Ayurvedic physicians, called vaidyas, are trained at government schools and are granted degrees upon completion of approved curricula.

In Hindu mythology food is brahman, the divine reality. Eating is the uniting factor across all lives. Our bodies come from food and live of food. Many diseases are related to diet. Thus, in ancient India, Ayurved was practiced. The same great seers of India that developed Yoga developed the science of Ayurved. Ayurved is called the science of life in India. A system of diet, exercise and healing that is at once scientific and spiritual at its core. Ayurveda sees diet and medicine as a complementary set. To be healthy one needs to find the perfect balance between diet, exercise (yoga) and mental health.

In Indian home cooking, food is supposed to have healing properties that are defined by the dynamics of taste, also called Rasa. Rasa is the primary product of all food. It is the juice flowing freely through our bodies. Rasa is to Ayurveda what blood is to western medicine. Contamination of Rasa leads to a malfunction in the body. Thus there are different ways of preparing food. Care is taken to alter those properties of food that can have side effects. Certain spices are added to food to make up for properties of an ingredient that would otherwise not be healthy for the body. Cooking is an art form -- whereby spices and herbs are used not only to make food tasty but also therapeutic.

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Ayurvedic Timeline

The city-states of the Indus Valley flourished for more than a thousand years, between 2600 BC and 1500 BC.

Vedas were transmitted orally through songs and verses. As they were transmitted verbally for centuries before they were ever written down, their dates of origin can only be estimated.

Rig Veda (describes in 128 hymns, 67 herbs and medical practices). It is supposed to be 4, 500 years old. It is said to be the oldest known song in the world.

Atharva Veda (Describes the roots of Ayurveda)

Charaka Samhita (Written by Charaka around 700 BC in Punjab) - First Ayurvedic text. It contains an extensive overview of the practice of general medicine and the use of foods and herbs for healing.

Susruta Samhita (600 BC) - Susruta lived around modern day Benares. This text focuses on the surgical procedures common to Ayurvedic Medicine of that period.

The Ashokan Empire was the zenith of Ayurveda. The Ashokan Empire was one of the greatest ancient empires of the world. Ashoka lived in India several centuries before Christ. At the peak of his rule, he renounced violence for the practice of Buddhism. He then undertook the task of spreading the teachings of Buddha. As the religion and the way of living spread to different countries in the region, Ayurveda also got revitalized. One can see Ayurvedic influences in Tibetan Buddhist and Chinese medicine. One finds that Buddhism also influenced Japanese and Indonesian holistic medicines.

Astanga Samgraha and Astanga Hridaya - In the early centuries after the birth of Christ, the third great work on Ayurveda was written by Vagbhata Senior and Junior. These two volumes reviewed the writings of the Charaka and Susruta Samhita.

Islamic Invasions - Beginning from 1100 and 1200 AD... Forcibly replaced Ayurveda with the Islamic Unani medicine tradition.

British Rule - 1833 the British closed all Ayurvedic schools. Remarkable the Ayurveda has even survived after all these challenges.

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Thank you very much Suvir.

So in essence, it's a pratice of body,mind and soul working in tandom for inner health,and the acute understanding of our bodies make up and how to elevate one's health.

Turnip Greens are Better than Nothing. Ask the people who have tried both.

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Below is an excerpt ( I have taken the last few paragraphs and posted them, please follow the link to read the entire article) from an article in Poz magazine on Ayurveda and how it is being used in India and now overseas in the treatment of patients living with HIV and AIDS.

Medicine Masala

Though India's 4 million HIVers face everything from vicious discrimination to sky-high prices for retrovirals, some native ancient healing traditions may offer new solutions -- for their epidemic and ours.

By Sameera Khan

".....................Ayurveda describes three universal energies that regulate all natural processes on both the macro- and microcosmic levels. That is, the same energies that control galaxies and star systems are operating on the human body. These forces, which govern all of our life processes, are known as the three doshas, or simply the tridosha.

The three are vata (wind), which controls movement and the nervous system; pitta (sun), which is hot and rules the digestive processes and metabolism; and kapha (moon), which has a cooling effect and governs the body's organs, as well as cell growth and tissue development.

When in balance, the doshas are life-supporting, but when out of whack, they are the agents of disease, including AIDS. Ayurveda focuses on maintaining a balance of these life energies, rather than treating individual symptoms.

Thus, to diagnose an imbalance, the ayurvedic vaid (doctor) not only responds to the physical complaint but also examines a patient's history and daily habits, paying special attention to diet, the tongue, breathing, sleeping patterns and emotional and mental states.

Typically, vaids treat ailments with herbal remedies -- made using indigenous plants, according to traditional formulas -- or mineral-based remedies, along with various forms of yogic cleansing, fasting and special diets. Vaids also advise patients on exercise, patterns of breathing, relaxation and meditation, and recommend practical interventions such as massage and enemas.

Most vaids consider allopathic medicine to be the standard remedy for some AIDS-related infections, such as tuberculosis. Others, such as diarrhea, vaids treat using ayurveda: First, a vaid would diagnose whether the diarrhea is of vata, pitta or kapha origin. Then he or she would prescribe a group of medicines to restore balance in the body. If the diarrhea were of vata origin, for example, that remedy would consist of powdered bel (Aegle marmelos) and a decoction (concentrate) of nut grass (Cyprus rotundus)."

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Facinating article,

Thanks for the link.

Much has to do with one's spirituality it seems as well.

Everything has to do with spirituality in India. It is not always about religion, but deeply about spirituality. India prides itself in a spirituality that is both the joy of its existence and also its bane. Joy, for no other land can speak of such great diversity and yet so much peace and joy. Misery, for yes, even as there is such harmony between so many diverse people, there is great poverty and hunger and strife. But even the poorest and most miserable smile like nothing is wrong. Their spirituality keeps them happy even in sorrow and grief.

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The masters of Ayurved placed great importance on diet. Diet is considered the key to success in ayurvedic and yogic living. The ancient Indians believed that the human body and the universe it lives in was composed of Prana - the primordial energy that manifests itself as earth, water, fire, air and ether. These constitute the most important five elements. An imbalance in these elements can manifest itself as an illness. These elements are kept in harmony by a body that consumes a healtful diet through breath, food, water, sunshine, yoga (excercise) and sleep. Grains, fruits, vegetables, seeds, stalks, lentils, beans, roots, herbs and spcies are vital carriers of the primal energy, Prana. The power of this energy can manifest in a healthul manner only when these organic items are used in proper combinations and taking into account the unique properties of each of these individual ingredients. When ayurveda is applied with proper care, it can lead one to a whole new self. A state where one is healthy and also in joy with mind, body and spirit. Eating then becomes not just a mere ritual but a joy.

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Most Disease is traceable ultimately to incorrect diet. The ultimate cure may not rest alone on drugs, surgery and meals eaten in reputed restaurants, but in going back to our most basic ritual, the ritual of cooking for ourselves and those we love. Food alone cannot heal and cure a disease, but few ailments can be overcome without the appropriate diet. In a healthy diet lies the foundation to a happy and healthful life.

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Indian cooking is based upon the principles of Ayurveda. An ancient scinece, it is sanskrit for the knowledge of life and healthful living. Indian cooking uses many scores of organic ingredients. From spices to seeds, pulses, grains, vegetables, roots and natural sugars. Artificial sugars and stimulants have not found a home in the Indian pantry. The Indian home kitchen is able to provide the many minerals and vitamins that are needed by the body in an organic manner. Indians believe that the more a person is removed from the food they eat, the less healthful it will be for that person.

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In Indian home cooking food is supposed to have healing properties that are defined by the dynamics of taste also called Rasa. Rasa, is the first product of all food. It is the juice the flows freely through our bodies. Rasa is to Ayurveda what blood is to western medicine. Any contamination in this Rasa can lead to a malfunction in the body. Thus there are different ways of preparing food. Care is taken to alter those properties of food that can have side effects. Certain spices are added to food to make up for properties of an ingredient that would otherwise not be healthy for the body. Cooking is an art form whereby spices and herbs are used not only to make food tasty but also therapeutic.

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Ayurvedic food encourages the consumption of primarily sattvic food. Sattvic food is defined as food that is vegetarian, organically grown, fresh and cooked in the appropriate manner for the combination of ingredients and correctly spiced and not overly oily. Sattvic diet is generally the best diet for all body types. Ayurveda has explained the properties of different meats and fish, but it, also talks about them not being healthful. Thus one sees in India a vast majority of the population eating a mostly vegetarian diet.

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Indian cooking is very rich and tasty even as it remains primarily vegetarian. Unlike vegetarian cooking in the west that has been primarily using vegetables and herbs raw, in Indian cooking one finds many different ways of using vegetables. Many who have only eaten vegetables raw and with creamy and uninspired dips, are afraid of vegetarian cooking. They find a vegetarian diet limited and tasteless. Such foods are very light and are not really nutritious in the long term. One would need to comsume a very large amount to fill ones appetite. Raw vegetables have merit in helping with detoxification and also in providing the body with the many nutrients needed by it. However, in Indian cooking one finds many ways whereby spices and herbs are combined with vegetables to present a very rich food experience that does not make one miss eating meat. Indian cooking is also an easy way of preparing meals that are as nourishing and satisfying as most non-vegetarian meals and yet they maintain the soulful and healthful aspect of the ayurvedic principles.

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  • 1 year later...

Suvir's highlighted a lot of interesting old threads which I've been going through (the fact that I've a deadline probably explains why I'm so happy to spend my time doing this!).

I feel embarassed at the way I keep posting old articles of mine, but the Ayurveda thread reminded me of a couple of articles I'd investigated and written on the subject recently.

Its an interesting subject and possible quite healthy. My only problem is - sorry Suvir - when people start going on about Ancient Indian Traditions of Spirituality and how ayurveda fits in, I always get a strong craving for steak tartare. Irredeemably tamasic I guess.

Anyway, the places I describe below are very well worth eating in if you come to Bombay. Pinakin's Cafe Sattva in particular is really beautiful,

Vikram

Ayurvedic Food

Vikram Doctor

Ayurvedic food comes with a definite image attached. You’re thinking vegetarian obviously, but also ultra bland and low on spicing. Nor is it going to be the tasty stuff that everyone likes, like onions and potatoes and besan, but tedious tasteless things, pumpkin, bottle-gourd, snake gourd and their bulbous brethren, along with sundry greens of mouth-puckering bitterness and a slimy consistency when cooked. You’re thinking the essence of everything you hated to eat as kid, but were forced to by your grandmother because it was ‘good for you’.

And you couldn’t be more wrong. That sort of food does exist unfortunately and is sometimes even passed off under a vaguely ayurvedic label. But its a mistake to assume that that’s what ayurvedic food means. In fact, its probably incorrect to say that there’s any specific ayurvedic type of food. Rather, ayurveda is a way to eat under which all kinds of food can come. Its even possible to imagine meats and spicy food coming into an ayurvedic diet - if that’s what suits you.

The key phrase is ‘suits you’ since that is one of the essential principles in ayurveda. The two basic principles of ayurvedic eating could be: (1) eat according to what suits your body and (2) eat in balance. Before you start imagining though that chocolate covered doughnuts suit your body very well, keep in mind that ayurveda means something quite specific here. Ayurveda works on the ancient notion of the five basic elements that make up the world (earth, air, fire, water and ether) which combine in different proportions to form three basic doshas, body states or ‘humours’: vata, pitta and kapha. These dictate the sort of person we are, and hence the sort of food we should eat.

A vata dosha, for example, is considered to be made up of air and ether, and hence a personality dominated by wind, which makes for dynamism, but also for instability. A kapha dosha is made of earth and water, which makes for a strong and stable personality, but in excess it could be avaricious and greedy. A pitta dosha is made up of fire and means an intelligent, energetic personality, but one also prone to rage and violence in excess. An ayurvedic diet would hence start not with the food, but with you - determining what dosha you are. “An ayurvedic vaid start diagnosing you even before you open your mouth,” says Pinakin Patel, whose Cafe Sattva, reviewed here last week, attempts to serve ayurvedic food. “He starts his diagnosis based on the way you look, the curves of your body, and then your pulse.” What sort of person you are, how you feel, the food you eat, all comes afterwards.

Its not enough though to find out what dosha you are. You also need to determine how balanced your dosha is, and then how to bring it into balance or to ensure it stays that way. So its not enough to know which foods suit your dosha, but you also need to know which food raise or lower it, in order to be able to control it. So a weak pitta temperament , for example, can be strengthened by foods that are sour or salty or pungent, like chillies or curd, but an excess of it can be reduced by sweet foods, like sugarcane juice. A vata temperament however is weakened by strong and pungent foods, while grains, fruits, milk and even meat broth can strengthen it.

The principle is balance, and food emerges as the key means of achieving it. What becomes evident once one starts looking at ayurveda is how completely wrong that idea of it being something medicinal to be taken to set you right. The idea of a quick fix from swallowing something is typically allopathic: ayurveda takes time and food can be more important over time that any medicine (or more precisely, there’s no difference between food and medicine). As K.T.Achaya puts it in his Historical Dictionary of Indian Food in the entry on ayurveda: “Anna, diet, is the main agency by which this (good health), the two others being the use of medicinal herbs and drugs, aushada, and various exercises, vihara.”

Unfortunately for those seeking to follow an ayurvedic system of eating, as one gets deeper into the subject its all too easy get confused. As with many traditional Indian systems, there’s a multiplicity of concepts that must be taken into account, each of which can interact with each other in a dizzying variety of permutations and combinations (no wonder we’re good at maths). For example, every type of food is thought to have its own characteristic, not all of which are immediately evident. Fresh milk, for example, might seem sweet and cooling, yet because it emerges hot from the cow’s udder it is also be considered a substance that is naturally cooked, not raw.

Further complications come in through concepts like rasa, the basic tastes, of which there are considered to be six, virya, the potency of the food and vipaka, the aftertaste, which can be distinct from the rasa. And finally just to complete the complexity, there’s the concept of the three gunas or inherent personality types: sattvik, or serene and refined, like Vishnu; rajasic, energetic and dynamic like Brahma; and tamasic, wild, rough and even violent, like Shiva. These concepts, which are arguably better known than the doshas, are again what are supposed to dictate what you eat. The stereotype of ayurvedic food as bland and vegetarian is essentially referring to sattvik food, but there’s no reason why you can’t eat tamasic food if that’s what suits you.

One could conclude from this that running an ayurvedic restaurant is next to impossible: how can you serve a standardised menu when everyone is supposed to have a customised diet? And why do most such restaurants only serve sattvik type food? For the second question, I think there’s a practical explanation. Tamasic and even rajasic food are not exactly in short supply: pretty much anything in standard restaurants falls under these categories. Genuine sattvik food is only found in restaurants like these new ayurvedic ones, or in ashram canteens, or the few Brahmin restaurants or ones that specialise in food for fasts like Phansikars in Mumbai (Dadar and Girgaum).

As to the first question, Patel admits the contradiction. All he’s trying to do at Cafe Sattva, he says, is provide an experience of a balanced ayurvedic meal which might stimulate people’s interest to find out more. In that in the end is perhaps the idea to take from ayurvedic eating. Forget the complications and combinations of trying to match your food to your dosha or guna. Just make sure its balanced and with nothing, neither specific ingredients or quantities, in excess, and you’ll be fine.

Ayushakti

Vikram Doctor

Malad is not the most prepossessing of Mumbai’s suburbs. Its a solidly middle-class area, with crowded roads and little of note, except maybe the old East Indian village of Orlem on its fringes. From a culinary point of view, what’s on offer in Malad seems to be summed up just outside Malad station.

Exit on the west-hand side and you’re confronted with a huge sign for M.M.Mithai, a well-known local purveyor of mainly north Indian snacks, although this sign is advertising that ultimate Mumbai mouthful, the vada-pau. M.M.Mithai’s version of this potato-bonda in a bun is delicious, giving just the right, spicy, deep fried carbohydrate kick, but fairly deadly from a calorie point of view. Especially if you were to follow it up with MM’s other specialties like soggy mal-puas dripping grease and syrup, or tall glasses of extra-creamy frothy lassi. If M.M.Mithai is anything to go by, health is not exactly a top Malad priority.

Which makes it all the more amazing to find the Ayushakti centre, tucked besides the railtracks a short auto ride from Malad station (ask for Milap cinema and then check the small lanes leading off the main road opposite). In these unlikely surroundings you’ll find a complete ayurvedic health centre. The Ayushakti centre has been set up by Dr.Pankaj Naram, a noted ayurvedic doctor from Mumbai, with a big practice in Germany and the USA. The centre serves as a focus point for his activities in India, where people both from India and abroad who want specialised, in depth ayurvedic treatment can come. Its a well designed building, nondescript from outside, but inside its open and lots of traditional Indian materials like polished wood frames, laterite floors and red tiles have been used to give is a pleasant atmosphere. Its a self-contained building, from a big meeting hall in the basement, a cafe and dispensary on the ground floor, consultation and treatment rooms on the floors above and at the top, rooms for the patients to stay in over the course of their treatment and even a small rooftop garden.

The cafe was originally intended for these patients, since following a proper diet was essential for the success of their treatment. But the centre then decided to open it to the public which posed a problem for its newly arrived chef, Suman Majumdar, a food industry veteran who had worked with the ITC Welcomgroup, the Marine Plaza hotel and the Mars group of restaurants in Mumbai before arriving at the centre. “When I came here I was given a list of vegetables that could be used for the patients who were all following a strict sattvik diet - vegetables like a lot of gourds, pumpkin, parvar, tindoori and so on,” he says. “But when we decided to go commercial we realised we couldn’t just give these. We needed to serve food of more general appeal to get the commercial customers.” But, of course, still with an ayurvedic focus.

Majumdar’s solution was to go easy on the strict concepts of what constitutes ayurvedic food (see box), but to stick to its spirit. “Ayurvedic food is all about being balanced and easily digestible,” he says. “So we moved away from the strict sattvik menu - though that’s available for the patients and if people want it - and added some rajasic elements to make it more commercially acceptable.” The principle he says is to make sure that whatever’s added is balanced or counteracted by something else. “For example, cauliflower is seen as gassy, but if you boil water with ajwain and tamarind and salt, and then blanch the cauliflower in it, that takes care of the gassiness. You can then even shallow fry it with a little onion and ginger,” he explains. “Or paneer is usually seen as very heavy and hard to digest. But we cook it lightly with basil, mint and black pepper and that makes it easy to digest.”

A lot of experimentation has gone into the dishes at the Ayushakti Cafe. Majumdar is particularly proud of his attempts to create healthy versions of Mumbai’s street food. Its similar stuff to what you’ll get at M.M.Mithai, but a million times healthier. His ragda-pattice, for example, a streetside staple of chole with a vegetable cutlet (pattice), is made using mung dhal and vatana (dried peas) rather than channa dhal. “We mix the mung with hing and mustard to reduce gaseousness, and we stuff the pattice with ginger. Its one of our most popular dishes.” With dosas, the problem was that they are made with a fermented rice and urad dhall batter, but ayurveda is against the consumption of fermented products. Majumdar has invented a substitute from a made on the spot batter of rice and urad dhall flour, besan and some fenugreek. Its not an exact substitute for a dosa, but very tasty and satisfying.

Perhaps his biggest challenge was pau bhaji, the city’s favourite, calorie-bomb concoction of tomatoes and other vegetables, griddle cooked to a mush and eaten with toasted buns. Not only was the lavish use of butter bad, but ayurveda frowns on the essential ingredient, tomatoes, for being too acidic. Nonetheless, Majumdar decided to go ahead with tomatoes, but after removing the seeds, which are the most acid part and the hard to digest skins: “Then I made a pulp from them and balanced that with an equal quantity of pumpkin pulp, and cooked them using our freshly ground masalas.”

Ayushakti’s food is certainly healthier than standard fare. But it may still pose a problem for standard ideas of health. Most people these days derive their ideas of nutrition from the West, where healthy eating tends to mean low calorie. The problem here is that ayurvedic food is balanced, but not necessarily low calorie,. This is particularly due to its love of cow’s ghee, which Ayurveda - but emphatically not Western nutrition - imputes with many healthy characteristics. Majumdar says he steers a compromise here. “We do use ghee, but not always, because I find its taste is so strong it can become too dominant. So we also use rice bran oil, which is light and healthy. We make sure this oil is completely chemical free, not refined using sulphur, and we make sure we only use oil that is less than six months old.” 

Majumdar’s innovations have been good for the cafe. Apart from the patients who eat there as part of their treatment, its often filled with people from the neighbourhood. Its a sight worth seeing for those who think of ayurveda as an elitist activity: the centre doesn’t get a trendy crowd since its hardly known in the city, and is anyway set far away from any fashionable area. These are just ordinary people who might normally go to the M.M.Mithai’s of the world, but when given the option are only too happy to opt for good, light and healthy food, eaten in pleasant surroundings. Its a lesson one hopes that other food entrepreneurs might learn from.

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Suvir,

All I can say is that i am a firm beliver in the Ayurvedic philosophy of nouridhing the soul. Even doing the most contemporary of what I label as Indian food I follow the principles of ayureveda passed on to me by my dear and now passed away grandfather. All I can say that it works, how else can one put up a 28 course meal and keep it light. After all Chappan Bhog is not exactly Nouveau. Dont you think they knew something that we dont. Actually I would love if someone starts a well researched thread on Chappan Bhog. Your Thoughts..............

"Burgundy makes you think of silly things, Bordeaux

makes you talk about them, and Champagne makes you do them." Brillat-Savarin

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Suvir's highlighted a lot of interesting old threads which I've been going through (the fact that I've a deadline probably explains why I'm so happy to spend my time doing this!).

I feel embarassed at the way I keep posting old articles of mine, but the Ayurveda thread reminded me of a couple of articles I'd investigated and written on the subject recently.

Its an interesting subject and possible quite healthy. My only problem is - sorry Suvir - when people start going on about Ancient Indian Traditions of Spirituality and how ayurveda fits in, I always get a strong craving for steak tartare. Irredeemably tamasic I guess.

Anyway, the places I describe below are very well worth eating in if you come to Bombay. Pinakin's Cafe Sattva in particular is really beautiful,

Vikram

Vikram, it does not even take the gospel of Ayurveda, the fundamentalism that is deeply gripping Hinduism and the Indian spirituality, or the fanaticism of the religions I am faced with most daily in my life in NYC....

I can be convinced within seconds of seeing a good steak or a plate with foie gras, to eat them. :shock::rolleyes::raz::smile:

I am no expert on Ayurveda... I grew up knowing about it... I have students, fellow teachers and writers that study it... but myself, I have no die hard views on the subject.

I shall now read your articles. It is a luxury I have become to enjoy. I am sure the dailies/weekly's/or journals you write for may not have web archives, so you can lavish us with these... lucky for us. Thanks for your always so generous posts and wonderful insight. It has been a boon to have discovered you through eGullet.

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Suvir,

All I can say is that i am a firm beliver in the Ayurvedic philosophy of nouridhing the soul. Even doing the most contemporary of what I label as Indian food I follow the principles of ayureveda passed on to me  by my dear and now passed away grandfather. All I can say that it works, how else can one put up a  28 course meal and keep it light. After all Chappan Bhog is not exactly Nouveau. Dont you think they knew something that we dont. Actually I would love if someone starts a well researched thread on Chappan Bhog. Your Thoughts..............

Mel, you seem far deeply rooted in Ayurveda than I. Maybe you ought to share the knowledge your grandfather shared with you and what you have learned through experience.

I grew up with grandparents who were spiritual without being religious. So if you can understand what I mean by that, you will quickly realize that they knew and celebrated each and every religious function or holiday with great respect for old tradition.... in our home, many a religious day was celebrated like it would have been in very old times... it shocked all our relatives that my mother would do gobar kaa lep (a woman educated at the best of schools and colleges in India and UK, giving the marble floor of the house a layer of fresh cow dung) :shock: before that surface was made ready for rituals necessary for the Dussehra pooja. We did the pooja with all the ceremony that came with it.... we were dressed up for it.. all the implements that were essential to each of our trades, were worshipped and then the worshipping of all kitchen utensils, then the signing of the book (our family tree chart that came with pages and pages of signatures from all that had ever attended the family Dussehra pooja over a loooooong period) and finally a prayer and then my paternal grandmothers (dadi) lecture about religion being merely a vehicle to connect us to our past and in no way being something any of us kids of hers ought to be fanatic about. She would smile and then kiss us and say go play... enough of this culture drama.... remember it for when I die, I want you all to give your own kids and theirs a re-enactment of what I do for you... this is only a way of sharing our social traditions.... and there is nothing more to them. This would happen through each and every festival and each time, great pomp and effort would go in celebrating them... but only as a tradition that was social and not one to hold onto as anything greater than a journey into our past.

So, the Suvir who lives and breathes today, minus two grandmas (both passed away this year) and one grandfather, hardly feels the need to believe firmly in any of those traditions that they shared with us. They did so only to keep us informed, but also encouraged us to move on and learn new things... just as you said about growing and using new tools in regards to fusion. And I have done just that.... I remember all the traditions... more so than many of my peers, and many far older and wiser than I.... and yet, I also hold these traditions in not any greater respect than I do other elements of other cultures ancient traditions.

I find myself following and believing in the irreverent wisdom of those like Vikram, for they are people I admire. Those that can study traditions, cultures, cuisines, nations, languages, lands and peoples and yet find no need to be fundamental and patriotic about any.

My parents, die-hard liberals like their own parents, are now filling the void left by the grandmas and in that same spirit. But only as they say, to keep tradition alive... but none of the fanaticism that quickly gets associated with traditions if we do not make a clear line separating them.

I cook as I please... I take from tradition all I need to... I hardly think about a dish being Ayurvedic or not.. and sometimes through my subconscious mind, I may create dishes that would gel into an Ayurvedic system, but that is never how I come to cooking them.

I respect those that make effort and time to cook in the tradition of that system. I would love to study with them, learn from them, document their work, but I see myself in no big rush to become one of them.

Thus, I have few if any thoughts about this that are intelligent. I would depend on those like you that have practiced it... or have studied it... share with us... I am listening... :smile:

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      > 1 inch cinnamon stick
      > Vinegar 
      First you will need to marinate about 250 grams of prawns in some turmeric powder and salt. After 15 minutes deep fry them in oil till them become golden n crisp. Set them aside and add tsp vinegar to them and let it sit for 1 hour. Now, make a paste of all the ingredients mentioned under the balchao paste and make sure not to add any water. In the same pan used for fryin the prawns, add in some chopped garlic and ginger. Lightly fry them and immediately add one whole chopped onion. Next, add the balchao paste amd let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in the prawns and cook until the gravy thickens. Finally add 1 tsp sugar and salt according to your taste. Allow it to cool. This can be stored in a glass jar. Let this mature for 1-3 weeks before its use. Make sure never to use water at any stage. This can be enjoyed with a simple lentil curry and rice.
    • By Deeps
      This is one of my daughter favorite dishes, being mild and less spicy she loves this rice dish.  Its super easy to make and goes well with most Indian curries.
      Do try this out and I am sure you will be happy with the results.
       

       
      Prep Time : 5 mins
      Cook Time: 5 mins
      Serves: 2
       
      Ingredients:
      1 cup rice(basmati), cooked
      1/2 cup coconut, shredded or grated
      1 green chili, slit
      1 dried red chili
      1 1/2 tablespoon oil/ghee(clarified butter)
      1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
      1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
      1/2 tablespoon chana dal(split chickpeas)
      1/2 tablespoon urad dal(split black gram)
      1 teaspoon ginger, finely chopped
      A pinch of hing (asafoetida)
      Few curry leaves
      Salt to taste
       
      Directions
      1) Heat oil/ghee(clarified butter) in a pan in medium flame. I used coconut oil here because it tastes best for this dish.
      2) Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chana dal(split chickpeas), urad dal(split black gram), green chili, dried red chili, ginger and curry leaves. Fry this for 30 seconds in medium flame. The trick is to ensure that these are fried but not burned.
      3) Add a pinch of hing(asafoetida) and mix well.
      4) Now add the cooked rice and coconut. Stir well for about 15 to 20 seconds and switch off the flame.
      5) Finally add salt into this and mix well. You could add peanuts or cashew nuts if you prefer. Goes well with most curries.
    • By loki
      Sour Tomatillo Achar

      Made this one up from a recipe for lemons. It really works for tomatilloes. A unique spice mix, and really sour for a 'different' type of pickle, or achar. It is based on a Marwari recipe - from the arid north-western part of India. Tomatilloes are not used in India (or at least not much) but are quite productive plants in my garden while lemons or other sour fruits are not possible to grow here. No vinegar or lemon juice is used, because tomatilloes are very acidic and don't need any extra.

      Ingredients
      3 lbs tomatilloes husks removed and quartered
      1/4 cup salt
      1 Tbs black mustard seeds
      2 star anise buds
      10 dried chilies (I used very hot yellow peppers)
      1 tsp fenugreek seeds
      2 inch ginger (ground to a paste)
      2 TBL dark brown sugar
      1/2 cup sugar

      1. In a large bowl, put the tomatilloes and sprinkle salt over them. Cover it and leave for a day, mixing occasionally.

      2. Next day drain the tomatilloes.

      3. Dry roast the star anise (put in first as these take longer, the black mustard, and the chilie pods (add last and barely brown in places). Cool.

      4. Grind the roasted spices with the fenugreek and put aside.

      5. Add tomatilloes, ginger, sugars, and everything else to a large pan and heat to boiling.

      6. Cook till fully hot and boiling.

      7. Fill half-pint jars and seal.
    • By loki
      Sweet Eggplant Pickle

      This is an Indian pickle, some would call a chutney, that I made up from several sources and my own tastes. It is based it on my favorite sweet brinjal (eggplant here in the US) pickle available commercially. It has onion and garlic, which are often omitted in some recipes due to dietary restrictions of some religious orders. It also has dates which I added on my own based on another pickle I love. I also used olive oil as mustard oil is not available and I like it's taste in these pickles. Use other oils if you like. This has more spices than the commercial type - and I think it's superior. I avoided black mustard seed, fenugreek, and cumin because almost all other pickles use these and they start to taste the same. One recipe from Andhra Pradesh used neither and I followed it a little. It's wonderful with all sorts of Indian foods - and also used for many other dishes, especially appetizers.
      SPICE MIX (Masala)
      4 Tbs coriander seeds
      3 hot chilies (I used a very hot Habanero type, so use more if you use others)
      18 cardamom pods
      2 inches cinnamon
      24 cloves
      1 1/2 Tbs peppercorns
      MAIN INGREDIENTS
      1 cups olive oil
      4 inches fresh ginger, minced fine, about 1/2 cup
      6 cloves garlic, minced
      1 large onion finely chopped
      3 lb eggplant, diced, 1/4 inch cubes
      1/2 lb chopped dates
      1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
      2 cups rice vinegar (4.3 percent acidity or more)
      2 cups brown sugar
      2 Tbs salt
      2 tsp citric acid
      Spice Mix (Masala)

      1. Dry roast half the coriander seeds in a pan till they begin to brown slightly and become fragrant - do not burn. Cool.

      2. Put roasted and raw coriander seeds and all the other spices in a spice mill and grind till quite fine, or use a mortar and pestle. Put aside.

      Main Pickle

      1. Heat half the oil and fry ginger till slightly browned, slowly.

      2. Add garlic, onion, and half the salt and fry slowly till these begin to brown a bit too.

      3. Add eggplant, turmeric, and spice mix (Masala) and combine well. Fry for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

      4. Add rest of ingredients, including rest of the salt and olive oil and heat slowly to a boil.

      5. Boil for about 5 minutes. Add a little water if too thick - it should be nearly covered with liquid, but not quite - it will thin upon cooking so wait to add the water till heated through.

      6. Bottle in sterilized jars and seal according to your local pickling instructions. This recipe will be sufficiently acidic.
    • By rxrfrx
      South Indian Style Broccoli
      Serves 2 as Main Dish.
      Broccoli isn't a traditional Indian vegetable, but I designed this recipe to use up leftover boiled broccoli in the style of cauliflower.

      3 c broccoli, cut up and cooked
      3 T oil
      2 T cumin seeds
      2 tsp tumeric
      2 tsp corriander powder
      2 green chilis, sliced thinly
      1/2 c chopped cilantro
      salt, to taste

      Fry the spices in the oil until they smoke a little. Add the broccoli and chilis and fry for a couple minutes to get the flavors mixed. Add salt to taste and stir in the cilantro before serving with chapati.
      Bonus recipe: just before adding the cilantro, crack 2-4 eggs into the pan and stir them around.
      Keywords: Main Dish, Side, Easy, Vegan, Vegetables, Indian
      ( RG2107 )
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