Ayurveda was traditionally part of our daily life. In fact, it is so well integrated, that we follow it almost unconsciously. If we stop to reflect on the customs, recipes and food habits that are passed down traditionally through family lore, we find that most of them are based on the principles of Ayurveda. We eat certain types of food in certain seasons, have homemade recipes for when we are unwell and almost instinctively follow certain rules in our practice of wellness.

Ayurveda functions as a holistic and comprehensive system, focusing on the inter-connectedness of nutrition to the environment, biological cycles, physiology and mental states.

The Ayurvedic approach to nutrition does not look at carbohydrate, protein, fat and salt consumed but emphasizes that the amount of food and the type of food one eats is related to the type of constitution we have. Therefore, understanding the process of digestion is just as important as identifying what we eat. In Charaka’s physiology of digestion, food is broken down and transformed into its nutritional elements by the digestive fires or agni. The working of these digestive fires is dependent on the condition of the doshas. Agni is also responsible for neutralizing toxins, bacteria and viruses that could potentially disrupt the body’s immune system.

When the three doshas are imbalanced, agni fails to function properly and as a result, food is not digested properly. Undigested food creates toxins and metabolic waste, called aama in Ayurveda. Balance, therefore, is key to maintaining health. In Ayurveda, the healing processes are understood in terms of the elimination of toxins and wastes in order to restore and reestablish constitutional balance. An Ayurvedic diet should not be understood as preventive medicine but rather an educational methodology that helps people to be informed and empowered about their constitution, their nutrition and their health.

Ayurveda is among the earliest medical systems to point towards the relationship between poor nutrition and ill health. This ancient system has an approach to health that is individualized; diet too is individualized according to each person’s constitution type. It is therefore important to understand the type of constitution one has so that diet can be designed to suit the specific type of constitution.

Ayurvedic cooking, therefore, requires great awareness and participation from the user. The emphasis on diet and on the idea that nutrition when suited to the body type can heal the body and enable one to live a healthy life without medicines is the reason why Ayurveda is literally, the science of longevity.

An Ayurvedic Kitchen:

An Ayurvedic kitchen gives as much importance to the space in which food is cooked as to the food itself. The process of cooking in an Ayurvedic kitchen involves an awareness of the kind of vegetables you choose, where they have grown and how you prepare them.

To begin with, one must stock the kitchen with the right utensils. The utensils should be natural as far as possible; therefore, the Ayurvedic kitchen would advise the use of utensils made of wood, stainless steel, ceramic or cast iron. Cast iron or copper pots that were prevalent in the past were valued because they released iron during cooking and thus enriched the food. Material such as aluminum and plastic or even the non-stick pans could release toxins into the food.

While stocking up for an Ayurvedic kitchen, one must definitely have two or three medium-sized pots in stainless steel, a cast iron frying pan, a stainless steel soup pot, a deep pan for frying, a small pot, a pressure cooker, a griddle, two or three mixing bowls and metal or wooden spoons.

One of the benefits of an Ayurvedic kitchen is that most of the ingredients are dry, easy to store and do require too much storage space. It is important, however, to store all ingredients in a cool, dry place.

A fundamental rule in Ayurvedic cooking is ensuring that the vegetables to be cooked are fresh. Fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs contain more nutrients and fewer toxins. Organic vegetables and fruits available in the market are free from chemical residues. But non-organic vegetables and fruits must be washed thoroughly to cleanse them of residual pesticides and other chemicals. It is also important to choose vegetables and fruits that are in season, as Ayurveda believes that everything has a time and a purpose.

We encourage you to grow your own herbs in your kitchen garden. Growing your own herbs and vegetables would enable you to take charge of what you eat and in that way show respect for your body and the environment.

Determine your body-type

To determine your body type, you must take the self-evaluation questionnaire. By answering a few simple questions about yourself, you will come to understand which body type you are – Vata, Pitta or Kapha.

Once you have established your dosha type, you can find the diet that will best suit you and cook accordingly. This will help correct any imbalance, eating and digestive disorders and other problems.

Category & Tip

Before each recipe, the category information is given as a recommendation for whether this recipe is particularly suitable as a snack, for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Recipes also fall under the following categories:

  • Ayurvedic Snacks
    • Avalavade
    • Bottle gourd Idli
    • Broken wheat Upma
    • Black and green gram Idli
    • Ragi Dosa
    • VellaAdai
  • Ayurvedic Soups
    • Banana stem Soup
    • Carrot Soup
    • Ginger Garlic Soup
    • Horse gram Soup
    • Moong dal Soup
    • Oats Soup
    • Pumpkin Soup
    • Tomato and Fennel Soup
  • Ayurvedic Staples
    • Flattened Rice Pulav with seasonings (Poha)
    • Green gram Paratha
    • Millet Roti
    • Onion Paratha
    • Pongal or Kichari
    • Rice flour Roti
    • Soybean Chapati
    • Turmeric Lemon Rice with Walnuts
  • Ayurvedic Curries & Salads
    • Ash gourd Koottu
    • Beetroot Palya
    • Bitter gourd Theeyal
    • Chow-chow Palya (Curry)
    • Cucumber Lettuce Salad
    • Greens (Keerai) Sambar
    • Kokum Dal
    • Mixed greens Dal
    • Moringa (Drumstick) leaves Curry
    • Okra Gojju
    • Rajma – Red Kidney Beans Stew
    • Spinach & Pumpkin Curry
  • Ayurvedic Desserts
    • Greens gram Payasam
    • Tender Coconut Payasam
    • Mango Payasam
  • Ayurvedic Drinks
    • Ginger Juice or Tea
    • Tulsi Mint Herbal Drink
    • Tila Kshiram

At the bottom of each recipe pages, you will find an interesting tip, note or and fact about the recipes, ingredients, diet and cooking.  The recipes are aimed at encouraging you to adopt a healthy lifestyle through Ayurveda. We hope to inspire you to embrace Ayurvedic cooking after understanding the various effects it will have on your body.

Ingredients:

Most of the ingredients should be available at your regular grocery store. Some of the vegetables, spices or herbs might be available at your local Indian or Chinese Store. We recommend that you choose organic ingredients, herbs, fruits or vegetables as much as possible.