Everyday Ayurveda: Spring Tasting Guide

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everyday ayurveda spring tasting guide

recipes by

Kate O'Donnell

photography by

Cara Brostrom

about us Kate O’Donnell Nine extended trips to India and 14 years studying the wisdom traditions of the sub-continent support Kate’s understanding of Ayurveda. Her personal healing with a doctor in Mysore, India led to a love for the ancient healing system and inspired her to pursue studies at the Kripalu School of Ayurveda. Kate is a Certified Ayurvedic Consultant and Yoga Specialist, offering private consultations, Ayurvedic yoga, and seasonal cleansing programs. Her Ayurvedic lifestyle intensives, food, and yoga workshops in the Boston area aim to help others come closer to their true nature. Illuminating self-knowledge through Ayurveda, yoga, and community keeps Kate inspired. www.ayurvedaboston.com

Cara Brostrom is a photographer, an ashtangi, and an Ayurveda-inspired foodie. She loves creating photographs which educate and inspire all paths of health and wellness. She also enjoys finding new and creative ways of cooking with Ayurvedic principles, and credits these seasonal tools with improved health and creativity. She photographs yoga and many other subjects throughout New England and beyond. www.carabrostrom.com


© 2013 by Kate O’Donnell all rights reserved

book design by




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how to use this guide You will notice this is a “guide,� not a cookbook, and I encourage you to journey forth into Ayurvedic cookery as an avid explorer. Be a mad scientist in the kitchen! My intent is to inspire you be intuitive, self-motivated, and organized, so you can prepare your own healing food every day, all year long. These recipes offer a spring tasting preview of the full Everyday Ayurveda Guidebook coming later this year, which will include simple meal themes that change with the seasons. Ayurvedic cooking is a concept: seasonal whole foods, warm sit-down meals, quickly prepared, and generously spiced to stoke digestive fire.


breakfast: cream

of grain cereal

lunch: south

indian sambar

dinner: queen


seasoning: spring

spring shopping list

green soup

refresh-a-rama spice mix

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cream of grain cereal Remember Cream of Wheat? Well, wheat is not the number one choice this time of year, but how about cream of anything else? Just take your cooked grain of choice (a great use for last night’s extra), warm it up, and blend with milk to make cream cereal. For a complete cream, soak raisins overnight and put in the blender too. Hand blenders are great here, but if you don’t have one, just don’t cream it. But changing the texture makes what may otherwise remind you of lunch, seem like the best breakfast ever. 1 cup cooked grain (spring grain choices:

Put the grain in the saucepan with the water or milk.

millet, buckwheat, quinoa, barley,

Warm on low-medium and hand-blend as you go. I


like to half-blend so there’s still some grains to look at

½ cup “milk” or water (spring milk choices:

and chew on.

rice, almond, hemp, sunflower) Mix-ins for spring: grated apple, raisins,

Add your spring mix-ins and spices of choice to the

fruit-sweetened dried cranberries,

pot, keeping heat low and stirring so it doesn’t stick.

toasted pumpkin seed, sunflower

If you are toasting seeds, add raw seeds to a pan over

seed (1-2 tbsp each or whatever, how

medium heat and stir at the same time.

hungry are you?) Spices for spring: cinnamon, ginger powder, nutmeg, cayenne (any combination)

The cereal will be warm and the seeds will be toasted at the same time. Pour into a bowl, add a splash of milk if you like and sprinkle the seeds directly on top. Sizzle.

Some grains are going to soak up more than others, so you can use as much liquid as needed to get the consistency you want. Only cook it as much as it takes to get warm, as overcooking will kill the texture and make it gummy. If you mess it up, you’ll know why and better luck next time. That’s how I figured it out. 4

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south indian sambar A staple all over the South of India, Sambar is a tomato/dahl/tamarind soup served with rice in its various forms, and enjoyed at all three meals. This is a great spring recipe due to its hot, light, pungent, and sour qualities. You can always reduce the sambar powder to make it milder, and reduce tomato to make it less sour. 5 cups water

Combine water, mung beans and turmeric powder in

½ cup split yellow mung beans,

a large saucepan and bring to a boil. The mung beans

will take 30 minutes to cook, so time your veg accord-

rinsed twice

2 small tomatoes

ingly. I generally get the beans going and then start

1 cup carrot, potato, green beans,

chopping veggies and gathering spices. By the time

daikon radish, any or all, chopped

you get them all chopped, it may be time to add them,


about 15 minutes into it. If you soaked your beans a few

1 chopped onion, optional

hours first, it takes only 20 minutes to cook.

¼ cup fresh grated coconut, or dried coconut soaked in water 2-3 tbsp coconut oil

Now that’s going, heat the oil on low-med. If you want to use onion, you must cook that in here 5 minutes first. Add mustard seed, this will splutter quickly and its good


to cover it for one minute and then…add curry leaf, stir,

2 pinches hing/asafoetida

then hing. When you can smell it, turn off the heat. Stir

curry leaf, 2 sprigs if you find it

the coconut into the hot mixture and let it sit for 1-2

1 tsp turmeric

minutes while you go wash something.

1 tsp mustard seed 1-2 tsp sambar powder

Add the spiced oil to the pot. Add sambar powder. Cook all together 5 minutes. Add more water if its getting thicker than soupy. You may garnish with fresh cilantro if you like, and serve poured over basmati rice.

I have veered from tradition a bit here by using store-bought sambar powder in order to keep it very simple for you and using ingredients you can find easily. Look for the sambar powder as well as the mung beans at an Indian grocery store. Fresh coconut works best and is sometimes found in the freezer section, but dried will work here as well. e v e r y d ay ay u r v e d a



queen green soup Steaming, or parboiling your veggies for 5-10 minutes will introduce the lightening qualities of warmth, making this green soup easier to digest. Another plus, this has a finer texture than a raw soup, but is not as creamy as a slow-cooked variety. Try this method when you don’t have time to slow cook.

2-3 leaves of kale or chard

Bring 1 cup of the water or broth to a boil; add tur-

a big handful of baby spinach

meric. Coursely chop the veggies and throw them in,

2 celery stalks

spinach last. Boil this for 5-10 minutes. Remove from

a big handful of green beans with


the points lopped off

1 handful parsley, with stems

Add the greens mixture to the blender with the ginger.

Add the other cup of liquid, which should keep it from

chopped off

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled

being too hot. Begin blending on low, leaving an air

1 tsp turmeric

vent at the top to allow steam to escape as you blend.

2 cups water (use the water you

Lay a towel over the cover if you think it may be hot

enough to make a mess. Better yet, use a hand blender

steamed in) or veggie broth

1 tsp ghee to garnish

and puree right in the pot. I enjoy this soup with rice cakes and miso, leftover grains from lunch floating in there, or sprouted grain toast with ghee. Serves 2.

Now here’s the thing. If you don’t have all of those veggies, use whatever you’ve got. With a little experimenting, you will find what tastes good to you. For example, I have found that omitting the parsley makes this soup less enjoyable for me, but I love the green beans and they make everything okay. Hungry? Add a scant handful of sunflower seeds that have been soaked for an hour or two into the blender. 8

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refresh a rama This wonderful drink cuts springtime mucous and gets you pumped up without caffeine. It’s best first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach. Wait at least 30 minutes before eating. If you find this drink too acidic, use lime instead of lemon, and omit the cayenne.

1 cup grapefruit or orange juice 1/2 - 1 inch piece of ginger root, peeled

Run half the juice and ginger in the blender until blended well.

1/4 - 1/2 of a lemon, juiced (or lime) 1 tsp raw honey dash of cayenne, for the adventurous

While blender is running, add the honey from the top, then the rest of the juice, lemon, and cayenne if using. Whip it for a minute in there, then drink slowly.

Tip: Try using one peeled orange or grapefruit instead of the juice. Even better!

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spring spice mix A must for cool mornings. This one works great anywhere you want a sweet taste and creates a warming digestive aid. Hot cereal, tea, warm milk, etc. It also contains the main ingredients used in India’s very special Masala Chai. Use generously.

2 Tbsp ground cinnamon

I usually grind my own spices, but these don’t grind

2 Tbsp ground ginger

up easy, so I buy them powdered, at a natural foods

1 Tbsp ground cardamom

store that has bulk spices. These will be fresher and

2 pinches black pepper

you should make a new batch monthly. Mix them in a bowl with a spoon so mixture is uniform. Funnel into a glass shakey jar (99 cents at Bed Bath and Beyond) by folding a postcard or envelope in half the long way and pouring the spice mix down the chute into the jar’s mouth. Make a cute label and tape onto your jar. Keep near the stove for some spring seasoning!


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spring shopping list Use these seasonal principles of Ayurveda to guide your food shopping this spring.

Favor foods that are:

Light like sprouts, broths, berries and leafy greens

Dry like barley, rye, and beans

Warm like steamed vegetables (instead of raw), spices, and soups

Favor tastes that are:

Bitter like dandelion greens, brussels sprouts, brocolli

Astringent like cranberry, pomegranate, dark raisins, spinach

Pungent like mustard greens, turnips, dash of pepper, fresh ginger

Minimize foods that are:

heavy, sweet, and oily; tastes that are sweet, sour, and salty.

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Ayurveda is not merely a system of medicine, it is a way of life.