Ayurvedic soup for the Indian soul: 4 recipes that boost gut health and immunity
Forget wine and cheese pairing; it’s time for badam ka halwa and bharwa karela
Indians have religiously sworn by the trio of Pudin Hara, Hajmola (the yellow bottle only) and the disgusting magic potion Dabur Chyawanprash. Whether we liked it or secretly spat it out, these holistic potions with origins in Ayurveda have been curing our bloating and boosting our immunity for generations .
Moms and nutritionists seem to be on the same page as far as Ayurvedic diets go: consume food that is fresh, organic and seasonal. Palak in winter, oranges in summer and sprinkle turmeric all year round in your food and on your face in equal measure.
It wasn’t long into my conversation with Ayurvedic expert Dr Ipsita Chatterjee that the age-old food bomb about healthy eating dropped. “Say hello to all karela in all forms — it’s cool, refreshing and non-spicy,” she says. Neem emerged as the second favourite.
Just when I was about to bid farewell to tasty food, she calmed me down. “You must also incorporate warm, moist and unctuous food with sweet, sour and salty tastes. Include lots of warm desserts like chocolate croissants, badam ka halwa and warm gulab jamuns,” says Chatterjee. That’s it. That was the one line she needed to convert me into an Ayurvedic fanatic.
Ayurvedic recipes for bone and gut health:
Chatterjee curated four need-of-the-hour recipes for us, each conquering our national weaknesses: gut health, bone health, joint pains and changing seasons.
Winter recipe: “Galangal keeps coughs and colds at bay, and also takes care of all forms of rheumatic and arthritic joint pains. Note: You can also add seasonal veggies like peas and cauliflower into the soup.”
Ayurvedic Lentil Soup with Blue Ginger (Galangal), Nigella Seeds and Lemon Butter Sauce
1 cup green moong dal
1 cup pink lentils
4 cups of water
¼ tsp lakadong turmeric
50 gm chopped onion
50 gm blue ginger
50 gm garlic
2 chopped green chillis
1 tsp ghee or olive oil or butter
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp Nigella seeds (kalonji)
1 tsp cloves
Himalayan pink salt and white pepper to taste
Put moong dal, pink lentils, turmeric, chopped onion, blue ginger and garlic in a pressure cooker. Cook until you get a thick consistency. In a different vessel, add warm ghee or olive oil, and let the kalonji seeds splutter in the oil. Temper the soup with this. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with coriander leaves and pre-made lemon butter sauce.
For gut health:
“It’s my personal favourite as it satiates my sweet cravings, but at the same time takes care of deficiencies that impact gut health. This one has been specially recommended in Ayurvedic texts for any kind of colic pain and acidity. It also improves gut motility. This candy can be stored for 15-20 days in winters, and seven days in summers with refrigeration.”
Sweet Coconut Candy with Ginger and Cobra Saffron
500 gm coconut pulp grated
Coconut water to be kept separately
250 gm ghee
250 gm crushed jaggery
100 gm dried ginger powder
3 ltr milk (If you are allergic to dairy, use soy milk)
5 gm (In powder form) vanshlochan, Indian long pepper, black pepper, nagarmotha, green cardamom, dalchini, tejpatra, nagkesar, coriander, cumin
Pour ghee into a vessel, add the grated coconut pulp and fry till golden brown. Add milk and coconut water along with dried ginger powder and crushed jaggery. Let it simmer until it becomes syrupy, and ready to set like a barfi. After the water and milk are completely dried, add the powders and mix well. You can then pound it into a fine powder or set it like a barfi on cooling down.
Dosage- 1 barfi twice a day with water. Your gut health issues will never ever pop up.
For bone health:
Bone Shorba with Ginger, Jaggery and Betel Leaf
500 ml bone broth (created by boiling mutton with bone pieces till you get a thick broth)
1/2kg minced red meat (preferably mutton minced and pounded in a mortar and pestle after adding 2 tsp turmeric and ginger paste, rice powder, 2-3 cloves, 1 tsp black pepper and amla powder and 2 tsp crushed jaggery)
2-3 betel leaf paste
1 tsp Ashwagandha
1 tsp Shallaki powder
Add the broth and the boiled minced meat paste together. Cook till it becomes a thick broth. Add 2-3 betel leaf paste and stir well. Also, add 1 tsp Ashwagandha powder and 1 tsp Shallaki powder.
Vegetarians can use kala chana broth and kala chana paste instead of meat.
Warm Sweet Potato, Blue Cheese and Quinoa Salad with Black Sesame and Garlic
3 sweet potatoes
30 ml Olive oil
50 gm chopped avocado
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp Fenugreek seeds
2-3 garlic cloves (chopped)
2 tsp black sesame seeds
100 gm pumpkin cubes (boiled)
200 gm quinoa (boiled)
40 gm blue cheese
Amla powder, rock salt and black pepper to taste.
Bake the sweet potatoes in an oven with a drizzle of olive oil. In a bowl, add boiled quinoa, the baked sweet potato and blue cheese. Mix well. Add chopped avocado and boiled pumpkin cubes to make it more wholesome.
For the dressing:
Cook 2-3 chopped garlic cloves in a 1 tsp of sesame oil along with 1 tsp of fenugreek seeds. After the seeds splutter, add to the salad. Also, add 2 tsp toasted black sesame seeds, 2-3 pinches of Amla powder, rock salt and black pepper to taste. Mix well and serve warm.