Cooling ayurvedic foods for hot summer days
Ayurvedic eating is loved by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Jasmine Hemsley, and is part of the relatively recent cultural realisation here in the West that what we put in our bodies and where we get our energy from can have a pretty significant impact on how we feel and the way we go about our daily lives. It’s very possible to feel ‘out of sync’ solely based on what we eat.
These leading ladies acknowledge that ayurvedic eating has been around for many moons and belongs to a culture that is not our own. However, the basics of ayurvedic eating have now become quite accessible. In a nutshell, it’s mindful eating and can help promote the consumption of things that are good for us, appropriate to the season we find ourselves in and have the right bearing on our metabolism or constitution.
We’ve taken some of the top ayurvedic foods for the summer months and made them into easy, satisfying recipes (that just so happen to taste like holidays) to enjoy at home. These foods and indeed our recipes can form the basis of a very healthy, holistic and life-giving eating regime.
The foods we’ve listed below (including most of the spices and oils) can be adapted into different recipes depending on our mood and what our body needs to balance the five elements that we and the world around us are made of: ether, air, fire, water, and earth, and the corresponding three doshas. These are vata (movement), pitta (metabolism) and kapha (structure).
For more information on doshas, the Ayurvedic Institute provides excellent resources which explain doshas and how they work in practice. For now, grab some kitchen gear and join us for some fresh and cooling ayurvedic munch.
The ‘freshest of the fresh’ salad
Ingredients: a quarter of a watermelon (cubed), half a cucumber (cubed or balled with the skin removed), two, small ready-to-eat beetroots (cubed), a handful of mint (chopped), a pack of feta, one tablespoon of sesame oil, one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, a squeeze of lime juice and a pinch of both salt and pepper to taste.
Method: throw the watermelon, cucumber and beetroots into a big bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the mint, sesame oil, soy sauce, lime juice and salt and pepper and then add to the bowl of fruit and veggies and give it a good stir. Top with feta and a few springs of mint, and enjoy (this goes very well with a crisp white wine but it’s not the most ayurvedic serving suggestion).
Chickpea and sweet potato oat-fried patties
Ingredients: tin of chickpeas (cooked and mashed), sweet potato (cooked and mashed), three large eggs, 150g of cornflour, 75g of plain flour, one teaspoon of paprika, one teaspoon of cumin, one teaspoon of turmeric, one tablespoon of coriander seeds, 100g of oats (ideally pinhead), a teaspoon of both salt and pepper to taste, plus one tablespoon of ghee.
Method: mix the cooked and mashed chickpeas together with two of the eggs. Once combined, add the rest of the dry ingredients except the oats and plain flour, and mix again. Beat the remaining egg in a separate bowl. Using the hands, form patties with the mixture and dip into the beaten egg and then coat with the oats. Leave in the fridge for 30 mins and then fry in the ghee until the oats are golden and crispy. Make sure to pat off the excessive oil with some kitchen paper.
Turkey rice salad
Ingredients: one thinly sliced fresh fennel, 200g of shredded turkey or chicken breast, 200g of basmati rice (cooked and cooled), six chopped radishes, six chopped asparagus spears (cooked and cooled), four chopped red peppers (these do not have to be cooked but it’s nice to char the outside using the stove if possible), a pinch of both salt and pepper, one tablespoon of olive oil, and a sprinkle of paprika.
Method: simple as can be - mix everything together in a big bowl and serve family style.
Summer zinger ice lollies
Ingredients: two grapefruits, two tablespoons of granulated sugar, half a cantaloupe melon, five basil leaves, and a tablespoon of agave syrup, along with enough ice lolly moulds to make 12 lollies.
Method: grate the zest from both grapefruits into a bowl and then use a hand blender to blend the inside of the grapefruit and the zest. Add the granulated sugar and mix until dissolved, and then pour into the lolly moulds. Do the same with the melon, the basil and the syrup and pour into the rest of the moulds. If there is mixture remaining, pour into ice cube trays to blend with coconut water for a smoothie when temperatures really start to climb.