Ayurvedic Recipes from Eat-Taste-Heal

Satisfy your mind, your spirit—and your taste buds!—with these superb recipes.

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Satisfy your mind, your spirit—and your taste buds!—with these superb recipes.​

According to Ayurvedic wisdom, eating is an act that directly connects one to nature and restores balance. In this light, food is sacred and nourishes not only the body, but also the mind and spirit. To help you get a taste of Ayurveda, Thomas Yarema, MD, Daniel Rhoda, and chef Johnny Branniganth have shared these four Ayurvedically inspired recipes from their book Eat-Taste-Heal.

For more on the Ayurvedic approach to cooking, including how you can feel better and manage your weight by enjoying the six tastes of Aryuveda (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent), read The Satisfaction Diet.

Braised Bok Choy, Fennel, and Tofu with Lemon and Coriander

Serves 2    Gluten-Free

Fennel seeds, fresh ginger, and ground coriander give crisp, juicy bok choy leaves a delightful flavor. As an alternative to the tofu, try using seitan, a protein-rich food made from wheat gluten and often used as a substitute for chicken in vegetarian cooking.

2 tsp. organic plain yogurt

1/3 cup raw organic sugar

2 tsp. ghee, or organic olive oil

2 tsp. grated fresh ginger

1 tsp. ground fennel seeds

1 tsp. ground coriander

1/2 tsp. ground turmeric

1 fennel bulb, cut into small chunks

1 cup tofu cubes (about ½-inch in size)

¼ cup vegetable stock (optional)

1 Tbs. lemon juice

1 head bok choy, or 1 bunch curly or flat-leaf kale, or 6 cups chopped collard greens

1. Stir together yogurt, 2 tsp. water, and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.

2. Melt ghee in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add ginger, and sauté 2 to 3 minutes. Add fennel seeds, coriander, and turmeric, and sauté 1 to 2 minutes more. Add chopped fennel, and sauté 2 to 3 minutes more.

3. Add tofu, ¼ cup water, stock, if using, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover pan, and cook 10 to 12 minutes. Add bok choy, and continue cooking and stirring until fennel and bok choy are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.

4. Stir in reserved yogurt mixture. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until sauce is heated through, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt, if desired, and serve immediately.

Courtesy of Eat-Taste-Heal, Five Elements Press, 2006, p. 194.

Biriyani with Mint Coconut Sauce

Serves 4   


Biriyani is a traditional Indian rice pilaf elaborated with other ingredients, such as nuts and dried fruit. Most are accompanied by a curry, dhal, or the yogurt dish known as raita to moisten the rice. Here, a minty coconut sauce is served alongside.

1/3 cup split mung beans

1 ½ cups basmati rice, rinsed well with filtered water

2 tsp. tumeric

1 Tbs. ghee, or organic olive oil

2 Tbs. finely shredded carrot

2 Tbs. roasted pistachio nuts, shelled and coarsely chopped

2 Tbs. curry powder

5 cardamom pods

6 whole cloves

2 Tbs. seedless raisins, chopped

1 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest

1 tsp. lemon juice (optional)

¼ cup vegetable stock Mint Coconut Sauce (see next recipe)

1. Soak mung beans in 1 cup cold, filtered water for 2 hours; drain.

2. Put rice, mung beans, and 3 cups water in large saucepan. Add turmeric, and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer 45 minutes.

3. About 10 minutes before rice and mung beans are done simmering, heat ghee in sauté pan over medium heat. Add carrot, and sauté 2 minutes. Add pistachios, and sauté 2 minutes more. Stir in curry powder, cardamom pods, cloves, raisins, lemon zest, lemon juice, if desired, and stock.

4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes.

5. Stir carrot mixture into rice mixture when rice is done. Simmer until rice is tender and moist but no excess liquid remains, 5 to 10 minutes more.

6. Season biriyani to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with Mint Coconut Sauce.

Courtesy of Eat-Taste-Heal, Five Elements Press, 2006, p. 204.

Mint Coconut Sauce

Makes 2 cups       


Rich-tasting and aromatic, this sauce makes a delicious addition to rice dishes.

2 Tbs. ghee, or organic olive oil

1 Tbs. chickpea flour

2 Tbs. mild curry powder

1 ½ cups organic coconut milk, preferably fresh

3 Tbs. organic plain yogurt

10 to 20 fresh mint leaves, torn into small pieces

1. Heat ghee in small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add chickpea flour and stir with a wire whisk to form a paste. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the curry powder, and stir for 2 minutes more.

2. Whisk continuously, and slowly pour in coconut milk. Continue whisking until mixture thickens to creamy consistency. Remove pan from heat.

3. Whisk in yogurt and mint leaves. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Courtesy of Eat-Taste-Heal, Five Elements Press, 2006, p. 203.

Poached Pears with Sweet Orange and Date Glaze

Serves 6   

Vegan, Gluten-Free

At once elegant and simple, this dessert makes a beautiful finale to any meal. Choose pears that have fairly firm flesh suitable for cooking, such as Anjou, Bartlett, Bosc, or Winter Nellis.

6 ripe, but firm pears

4 dates, preferably Medjool, pitted and finely chopped

Juice of 1 orange

2 tsp. maple syrup

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. grated fresh ginger

½ tsp. grated orange zest

2 Tbs. finely shredded unsweetened coconut

1. Peel pears with a vegetable peeler or small knife, leaving whole and with stems intact. Cut a thin slice off the base of each pear so that it can stand upright. Place pears upright in saucepan just large enough to hold them side-by-side. Add 1 inch of water to pan.

2. Place pan over medium heat, and bring water to a simmer. Add dates, orange juice, maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, and orange zest. Reduce heat, and simmer gently, uncovered, until pears are tender enough to be pierced easily with tip of sharp knife, about 12 minutes.

3. Carefully remove pears from pan with slotted spoon, placing them upright on large flat serving dish or individual serving plates.

4. Continue simmering liquid in pan over low heat, stirring continuously, until it thickens enough to coat back of spoon. Spoon glaze over pears, garnish with coconut, and serve. Courtesy of Eat-Taste-Heal, Five Elements Press, 2006, p. 213.

Grated Daikon Salad

Serves 4   


To add a little color to your table, try this lively salad.

5 cups torn beet greens

1 cup peeled, shredded daikon

1 cup endive leaves

½ cup shredded beet

½ cup toasted shelled pumpkin seeds

1/3 cup sunflower sprouts

2 tsp. lime juice or lemon juice

2 tsp. dried basil 1 tsp. honey

1 tsp. dried thyme

8 red radishes, sliced

Freshly ground black pepper

Put all ingredients in large bowl. Toss well.

Courtesy of Eat-Taste-Heal, Five Elements Press, 2006, p. 214.