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Inspired living

3 delicious Ayurveda-inspired recipes to try this week


Lee’s Broccoli Bhajis

Credit: Lee Holmes

Last year I spent time in Kerala, India, where I studied Ayurvedic practices and philosophy and did a hands-on Ayurvedic cooking and nutrition course, which was absolutely wonderful and very eye-opening. Ayurveda is an ancient healing system, originating in India, that takes
a holistic approach to feeling well and living in harmony with yourself and your surroundings.

Holistically speaking, Ayurveda is a union of the mind, body, senses and soul. Through nutrition, yoga and meditation, it focuses on treating the individual as a whole rather than just a specific issue or disease, so that you can achieve balance and good health — not only in your physical body but also in your mind and spirit.

Ayurvedic practice has three main objectives: to prevent disease, to encourage wellbeing and to promote longevity. These objectives are reached by applying four healing modalities to your life: eating nourishing food, engaging in cleansing and detoxification processes to purify the body, administering warm oil massages to eliminate energetic blockages in the body and practising yoga poses and meditation to create physical and emotional transformations.

One of the big attractions of Ayurveda is that recipes involve simple ingredients that are grown and picked in tune with the seasons.

By considering all the elements that make up your life, Ayurveda uncovers the root cause of illness to bring your body back into balance, and helps you understand yourself more fully. Through listening to your body and becoming aware of how to prevent disease and repair it, you can become your own best teacher and the architect of your future wellness.

When it comes to eating and cooking, one of the big attractions of Ayurveda is that recipes involve simple ingredients that are grown and picked in tune with the seasons, which makes them full
of flavour and undeniably satisfying. Ayurveda emphasises freshly prepared, Earth-based foods, and meals are based on the six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent.

Food is central to Ayurvedic medicine; its nutritional wisdom quite literally rests on the tip of your tongue. Your taste buds not only identify and discriminate between the flavour hits you encounter when you eat, they also unlock the nutritive value of foods and kickstart the entire digestive process.

One of the principles of Ayurveda is that any substance with which your body comes into contact will either aggravate or pacify your dosha. Doshas are energies that circulate around your body and govern physiological activity; they also determine your individual temperament and specific physical characteristics.

There are three doshas — vata, pitta and kapha — and they’re made up of the five elements that constitute our natures: air, water, fire, earth and ether. When doshas are out of whack, they can cause physical and mental disorders, so finding your dominant dosha and keeping it in balance is the key to maintaining your overall health. An Ayurvedic approach to eating includes choosing foods with qualities that are the opposite of your doshic imbalance in order to create harmony and health.

Following are three Ayurvedic autumnal recipes from my latest book Eat Right for Your Shape, in which I talk about how to discover your principal dosha and what to eat to bring your body back into balance.

Broccoli Bhajis

Perfect for Pitta dosha
Serves 4

Lee’s Broccoli Bhajis

Ingredients

Method

  • 300g besan (chickpea) flour
  • 2 tbsp brown rice flour
  • Pinch bicarb soda (baking soda)
  • Himalayan salt, to taste
  • 500mL filtered water
  • Extra-virgin coconut oil, for shallow-frying
  • 120g broccoli florets
  1. Sift the flours, bicarb soda and salt into a medium bowl. Gradually add the water, stirring well to avoid lumps. The mixture should have a smooth, paste-like consistency.
  2. Heat some coconut oil (about 4cm deep) in
a medium, heavy-based saucepan over medium–high heat. Once the oil is hot (a small broccoli floret should sizzle and float), working in batches, dip the broccoli florets in the batter to coat well. Drop into the pan and cook until crisp on all sides. Lay on paper towel to drain off any excess oil while you cook the next batch.
  3. Serve warm with chia jam and carrot and beetroot raita (you’ll find the recipes in my book, Eat Right for Your Shape).

Fragrant Fish Stew

Good for kapha dosha
Serves 4

Lee’s Fragrant Fish Stew

Ingredients

Method

  • 750g white fish fillets, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Celtic sea salt, to taste
  • Zest & juice 1 lime
  • 50g ghee
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 green chillies, seeded & finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2.5cm piece ginger, peeled & finely grated
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp asafoetida
  • 250mL rice milk
  • 250mL fish or chicken stock
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to serve
  • Cooked brown rice, to serve
  1. Place the fish in a bowl and sprinkle over the turmeric, cumin and a little salt. Add the lime zest and pour over the lime juice. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Heat the ghee in a large frying pan over medium heat, then add the onion and cook for 3–4 mins or until translucent. Add the chilli, garlic and ginger, and cook for 2 mins. Stir through the cardamom, curry leaves and asafoetida, then add the milk and stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low–medium and simmer, covered, for 10 mins. Reduce the heat to low, add the drained fish fillets and cook gently for 5 mins or until just cooked.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and serve on brown rice.

Chocolate Fudge

Good for vata dosha
Makes 15 pieces

Lee’s Chocolate Fudge

Ingredients

Method

  • 270g almond butter
  • 80mL extra-virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 30g cacao powder
  • 90g rice-malt syrup
  • ½ tsp Celtic sea salt
  • 1 tsp alcohol-free vanilla extract
  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Process the nut butter and coconut oil in a food processor until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth and creamy.
  2. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin to 3cm thick and smooth the top with the back of a spoon or a spatula.
  3. Freeze for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving. If stored for longer in the freezer, you may need to transfer to the fridge to soften a little.



 

Lee Holmes

Lee Holmes is a nutritionist, yoga and meditation teacher, wholefoods chef, Lifestyle Food Channel’s Healthy Eating Expert, blogger and author of the best-selling books Supercharged Food: Eat Your Way to Health, Supercharged Food: Eat Yourself Beautiful, Eat Clean, Green and Vegetarian, Heal your Gut, Eat Right for Your Shape and Supercharged Food for Kids.

Lee’s food philosophy is all about S.O.L.E. food: sustainable, organic, local and ethical. Her main goal is to alter the perception that cooking fresh, wholesome, nutrient-rich meals is difficult, complicated and time-consuming. From posting recipes, her passion to share her autoimmune disease story and help others has snowballed and the blog has recently taken home the overall prize at the Bupa Health Influencer Awards as well as the best blog in the Healthy Eating category. She also runs a four-week online Heal Your Gut program.