Autumn Harvest – Indian Slow Cooking
Autumn has arrived! The leaves have dried out after the intense summer heat, and we get a few weeks to enjoy that gorgeous Fall foliage, before they drop to the ground. The days get noticeably shorter. The air feels drier, crisper, windier and cooler. Just as we experience these changes in Nature, we too find our bodies shifting with the seasons.
Autumn is Vata season. Just as we observe the animals and plants preparing themselves for the cold months ahead, we too must use this time of year to build nourishment at a deep level, in order to sustain us through the winter. It’s the time of year where we slow down activity, and are naturally drawn inward, to home and hearth.
One of the great joys of Fall, is the beautiful and bountiful harvest. Almost every culture celebrates this time of year, thanking Mother Nature for her endless supply of food and grain. We all have favorite autumnal memories of picking apples, baking pies, mashing sweet potatoes, carving pumpkins, melting butter on corn bread, and of course the culmination of the whole season…feasting on Thanksgiving dinner.
Autumn is the ideal time for those cozy, comfort foods. Ayurveda encourages us to find balance in the Vata season with warm, moist, well-cooked meals. Soups and stews are perfect because they are easy to digest, and pacify all of the light, dry qualities of Vata.
A yoga teacher and friend, Maura, who loves to cook Ayurvedic foods, introduced me to a wonderful new book that was the inspiration for this article. It’s called The Indian Slow Cooker, by Anupy Singla. I was so happy to find this book, because it is filled with delicious Indian recipes that are nourishing to the body, and so satisfying to the senses. The best part is that all the recipes are for the “crock pot”, or slow-cooker, so busy working moms like me, or very busy people like yourselves, can prepare healthy meals, without spending a lot of time in the kitchen.
The author, Mrs. Singla, discusses in detail the many different kinds of Dahls (lentils or pulses) that are cooked slowly like a soup. Dahls are so nutritious because they are full of protein, (especially important for vegetarians). She also gives an explanation and picture of all the different Indian spices we use not only to flavor the food, but used medicinally as digestive herbs.
In today’s world, it is a real treat for most of us to have a home cooked, tasty, warm dinner, at the end of a hectic day. Just simply slow-cook chopped seasonal root vegetables, lentil dahls, broth/water, ghee, and spices. When you are ready to eat, garnish with fresh greens and enjoy with rice or roti (Indian flat bread). Happy Harvest Cooking!
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Authentic Ayurveda of Sedona (928) 284-1114 www.Ayurveda-Sedona.com