From the Jacket
Through centuries, great masters of science and philosophy have interpreted and defined life in myriad ways. According to Ayurveda, ayu or life is an orchestra of body, senses, mind and soul. For sweet music to flow, the body and the senses have to be nurtured in a way that they take care of the mind and soul. Balance, moderation and compatibility are the grand conductors of this heavenly orchestra that steer life away from sickness and suffering, thus leading to a well-lived life of happiness and contentment, or sukham ayu.
You are what you eat, claims the popular adage. Add to this the knowledge that what you need to eat is not elaborate menus with unavailable and exotic ingredients, but simple home cooked food using regional and seasonal available that suit your constitution. This is the quintessence of an Ayurvedic diet in a nutshell.
This collection of recipes consists of daily, simple, vegetarian dishes that all Indian homes are familiar with. A closer look will reveal the fine thread of Ayurvedic insights binding them together, for what makes food healthy and 'Ayurvedic' is proper combinations, compatibility and methods of cooking. These recipes have been included with a clear focus on freshly cooked food, on the correct use of spices to enhance taste and good health, on the right combinations that make them tridoshik, or 'agreeable to all doshas'.
Slight variations and unobtrusive additions and deletions to daily home cooking, along with Ayurvedic insights, make these recipes worth trying.
About the Book
It has been our sincere endeavour to bring to you the great tenets of Ayurveda in simple, easy language and in a rhythm that we thought practical. As you turn these pages, you will find chapters that deal with different aspects of Ayurveda preceding each section of recipes. Thus, the first chapter "Who am I?" deals with the foremost dictum of Ayurveda, which places all of life within three categories of doshas or bodily humours - vata, pitta, kapha. This chapter is followed by a section on sweet dishes. The next chapter is "Self and the Elements" which deals with the connection between the five great elements and human existence, followed by a section on Soopa or soups. In this manner, sections of simple recipes are interwoven with compact pages of Ayurvedic teachings.
More than anything else, this book aims to bring joy into cooking at home. It is, in a way, a culinary Journey interspersed with ayurvedic insights, a peek into an ayurvedic system, each chapter leading you back home - with a basic home-style recipe. Although most of the recipes are for daily cooking, the home-style recipes are the first step into bringing Ayurveda and healthy, flavoursome cooking into your home.
The recipe sections feature a selection of tridoshik preparations, which means that they can be eaten by persons of all constitutions (unless under supervised medical or diet treatment). However, any type of food is always more conducive to some and less to others, thus the popular proverb - one man's food is another man's poison. It is always interesting to know which foods one can eat regularly and which one should leave aside for occasional indulgences. So when you select a menu from this book for your family, all you have to do is identify who can eat more or less of each dish, based on the main ingredients.
This is not as daunting as it may seem. When we sent a manuscript of these recipes to a friend to tryout, she found that cooking and eating turned into a more conscious activity with the kids cheekily telling their kapha dad to go slow on the kheer, and the elder sister bossing over the younger one saying, "This salad is more for you than me!" What was really heart warming was when our friend said, "It somehow bound us all together and made eating time more fun!"
We hope that along with the tingling of your taste buds, this book kindles your curiosity to know more about
this great science of life.
About the Author
Jigyasa is a Kathak dancer and choreographer. She teaches at Devaniya, the school of kathak dance started by her in Chennai. She is married to v.v. Giri and they have two children, Avani and Arnav.
Pratibha holds a Doctorate in Philosophy of Language from the University of Madras. She resides in Chennai with her husband Mahendar Chordia and they have a daughter, Manasvi.
Jigyasa and Pratibha are also the authors and publishers of "Cooking at Home with Pedatha" which won the Gourmand award for "Best Vegetarian Book in the World 2006". This is their second cookbook together.
The Ayurvedic approach to health is a participatory process, wherein the patient takes an active part in his own healing. He does this by conforming to a particular way of life according to his body constitution and other factors, the accent being on prevention rather than cure.
Although a doctor of modern medicine by qualification, I turned to Ayurveda in the year 1998 to heal my very own self of ailments caused by a way of life, quite unbalanced. My life was transformed within a short span of Ayurvedic treatment under the care of Dr. Nair. I became a new man radiating health and energy!
After my transformational experience, I converted my weekend farmhouse to a health retreat, now known as KARE. I was fortunate to find Mrs. Jaswandi Choudhary, who was trained in the Ayurvedic aspect of diet and nutrition at Pune University. With the guidance of our Ayurvedic doctors, chiefly Dr. Roli Rangappa, my aunt - Mrs. Usha Bail, my wife - Ragini, and indispensable feedback from our guests, we arrived at recipes and meal plans of simple, healthy and tasty food. It has been a long standing dream of mine to see these recipes featured in a cookbook that would help spread the message of Ayurveda.
As luck would have it, I met Jigyasa and Pratibha in Mumbai at Mr. Parigi's residence after the release of their book "Cooking At Home with Pedatha". I was very impressed with their book, and thus on an impulse, invited them to KARE in the hope of tempting them to bring out an Ayurvedic cookbook. That was an impulse I have never regretted.
ligyasa and Pratibha have not only restructured the recipes from the KARE kitchen in a way that make them user friendly for daily home cooking, but have also added some along the way that we at KARE will be very happy to use. I thank them for their enthusiasm and commitment over the last two years, and for bringing my dream alive in the form of this wonderful book.
We are now in our tenth year at KARE and every year I am more and more grateful to the Almighty to have shown me this path of Holistic Healing. At KARE, nature plays a great role in the healing process along with traditional Ayurvedic therapies from Kerala, Iyengar medical yoga and Ayurvedic vegetarian cuisine according to individual body constitution.
I take this opportunity to invite the readers to visit KARE and experience first hand the magical healing therapies in the lap of Mother Nature, while enjoying sumptuous vegetarian Ayurvedic food.
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