Like an individual wave rising from the ocean, it is not separate from the ocean. Just so, anything truly organic is ancient and anything ancient is organic.
My first review will be on Ancient Organics brand ghee.
They are fully worthy of the high honor.
Ghee is an essential to Ayurvedic cooking. It is a rasayana (medium), it is a food, it is a nectar. Well, just read the article linked to above.
I met the guy who makes this ghee at last year’s Ayurvedic Conference. I was impressed by his clarity, calmness, and glow even in the midst of the rajasicvendor spaces.
He explained to me that the ghee is made under the full moon when its powers peak. Mantras are said.
I waited until a friend ordered some. I might have been put off by the price: 32.50 for 32 ounces, plus substantial shipping and handling. (They now offer smaller jars.)
I had some and I was convinced.
If you use ghee, this is real ghee, the right way.
The taste is smooth, cooler and denser but less oily than other commercial ghees. The color is richer, perhaps from the higher chlorophyll diet of these cows. They use Stauss fermented butter for extra Agni. (There is lots of information on how they do everything on the company’s website.)
It’s not just marketing pap. I was a tad bit cynical at first, but the free sampling won me over in an honest way.
My friend uses it on everything now and I’m convinced, it is THE ghee to use, for cooking and for medicines.
I may review other ghees, but the reviews will all be in the negative. This is the first commercial ghee that feels like its life force is intact.
An interesting trivia is that Ancient Organics ghee was determined by Gourmet magazine to be the best “butter” in America. That used to be on the Ancient Organics website but now is not. I don’t blame them for removing it.
Anyway, I wish them well in their height of gheedom.
Ayurvedic Healing Cuisine by Harish Johari is my favorite go-to book for Ayurvedically innovative recipes that reach to the heart of old India.
It has a decent introduction to Ayurveda for those just starting out, yet can also finally answer those more esoteric questions of how to for example, properly use cumin seeds or bitter gourd.
It is a complete recipe book too in the sense that everything from chutneys to chai is covered.
My favorite recipe is Chickpea Soup with (Fresh) Garam Masala, on page 113. It’s like poha, simple, but delightful (like all his recipes actually) and a wow-er. All his recipes are so delicate and strong and sensitive. (Gosh, sounds like a good man — sorry, couldn’t resist.)
I do not doubt that if one ate from the recipes in the book for 3 weeks (perhaps with an Ayurvedic consultant to point out appropriate recipes) and did yoga with breathing, healing would be obtained.
The late wonderful Harish Johari was a Vedic man, writing books on Tantra, Cooking, Ayurveda and more. They all are exceptional: beautiful, simple, and powerful; a tasty sampling of the perfect life.
Pleased with myself and my poha, I told my guests yesterday, “Thank you for coming. Without eaters there would be no food.” (It would just be stuff on a plate, otherwise.)
My friend piped back, “Without food there would be no eaters.”
Ah, the elegant dance of life.
Talk about Pitta reducing! (The sweet and rose tastes and the prabhav of lime all reduce pitta.)
Perfect for summer.
1 quart filtered water
2-3 freshly squeezed limes
1 cup rose water (can be found in Indian stores)
Agave to taste
This was courtesy of our friends at Peaceful Meadow Retreat.
There are many good recipes for kitcheri, an important food for Ayurvedic cleansing and maintenance.
My guests and I however seem to like best when the dal (beans) are separated out from the rice and vegetables. I guess I appreciate the leela of divided colors and textures.
Here’s my recipe for dal soup, a protein centerpiece of the triumvirate.
1/2 cup of unsoaked split mung beans
3 cups of filtered water
Put in pot. Stir to reduce sticking. Allow to boil. Reduce heat and simmer (at boil point) for 30 minutes.
1/4-1/2 teaspoon of salt (I like black salt the best for this.)
1-2 teaspoons turmeric
Bring to a boil again. Allow to simmer for another half hour, after which the beans are soft enough to be edible.
Add the following, stirring after each:
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
a sprinkle of chili powder
a sprinkle of cinnamon
a sprinkle of asafoetida
Let simmer for 15 minutes.
Serve hot with rice and vegetables on the side.
Cooking is the first line of Ayurveda.
Many of us know that the smallest thing ingested can cause pain or incredible delight.
The Indian cook, and every Indian grandmother, knows about the 6 tastes and the 3 doshas of Ayurveda.
These principal themes of Ayurveda are essential to yummy food, good health, and happiness.
What amazes me too about cooking is that you help someone create their experiences, whether mystical, emotional, or physical. For example, good food has sattva quality, helping people make sattvic decisions and have sattvic experiences.
Cooking then is a way to create the universe. I think it is very exciting stuff.
I hope here to present recipes, reviews of cooking materials and books, and the connections a good cook makes.
Yum (the heart seed syllable) to food!
A good pot is a beautiful thing. It is sturdy, reliable, trustworthy, able to withstand abuse and yet supports the creation of amazing things other than itself.
It is the symbol for Aquarius ruled by a lord Shani, Saturn, who represents responsibility, duty, hard work, and perseverence.
What cook doesn’t know the rewarding gleam of a pan after the cleansing ritual of washing dishes?
The pot can be used again and again, selflessly giving of itself once more to the betterment of the whole, just like a Kumbha, Aquarius. And we are all an Aquarius somewhere in our lives.
I am especially fond of Korean old style handmade pots that were hand thrown with a small intentional flaw. They indeed recall the forms of ourselves, never perfect, but perfectly so.