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SAMBHAR - The Spicy Soup
This delicious soup is good on moist, rainy days – the kind we’ve been having in the northeast this month! Ingredients are available in both Indian grocery stores and many well-stocked health food stores.
Ingredients:
½ cup Toor Dal 2 Tbsp. Ghee (clarified butter)
½ cup Mung Dal ½ tsp. Mustard Seeds
¾ cup Carrot, peel & cube ¾ cup Onion, finely chopped
½ cup Red Pumpkin, peel & cube 2-3 Tbsp. Sambhar Masala
3 cups Water to cook the dal add salt to your taste ¼ tsp. Turmeric
2 ½ Tbsp. Jaggery – Raw Sugar 5 to 6 Curry Leaves
½ tsp. Kokum Extract ¼ tsp. Chili Powder*
3 cups Water to make soup  

NOTE: Sambhar is quite spicy, so you may want to use less of the suggested amount of chili powder or leave it out completely — to your taste.

Directions:
  1. Combine the Toor and Mung dal and rinse them in water until the water stays clear — and then drain the entire mixture.
  2. Next you can wash and peel carrots and pumpkin. Cut both into half inch square pieces.
  3. Put dal and 3 cups water in a covered dish or inside the pressure cooker. If you don’t use the pressure cooker, cook the dal and vegetables separately. The dal will take more time — so allow for that.
  4. Add the vegetables, but not more water!
  5. Cook dal and vegetables until tender, roughly 20 minutes.
  6. Cut the onion very well into chopped pieces.
  7. In a large saucepan, heat the ghee. Add mustard seed and asafoetida.
  8. When mustard seeds pop, add your onion and cook until they turn clear.
  9. Add sambhar masala, turmeric, curry leaves, chili powder (if you want it HOT!), and cooked vegetable and dal. Mix well.
  10. Add 3 cups water, and season with salt, raw sugar and kokum extract.
  11. Allow the soup mixture to boil as the entire ingredients blend for about 5 more minutes.

Sambhar is served in India either on its own as a soup or with idlis, rice or dosas as a dipping sauce. Delicious!

GREEN MUNG BEAN SOUP
Preparation time: About 45 minutes start to finish, plus soaking
Ingredients:
1 cup whole green mung beans – soaked overnight ½ tsp. ground coriander
4 cups water 1½ tsp. chopped ginger root
1 tbs. sunflower oil ½ tsp. fresh garlic – chopped
½ tsp. mustard seeds 1 tsp. salt
1 pinch. asafoetida (called hing in Asian stores) 1 bay leaf
1 tsp. raw sugar cane or jaggery (available in Indian grocery stores) ½ tsp. turmeric
1 pinch garam masala powder (see recipe below for this spice mixture) ½ tsp. ground cumin

NOTE: Sambhar is quite spicy, so you may want to use less of the suggested amount of chili powder or leave it out completely — to your taste.

Directions:
  1. Soak the mung beans overnight in water.
  2. Drain and wash the beans two times with fresh water.
  3. Cook beans in a pressure cooker with 3 cups water until tender. It takes around 25 minutes, according to your pressure cooker. If you do not own a pressure cooker, bring the beans to a boil, and then simmer for 60-90 minutes, until the beans have been broken.
  4. Heat the oil in large deep saucepan and add mustard seeds. When mustard seeds pop, add asafoetida, bay leaf and stir.
  5. Add the spice mixture to the cooked beans
  6. Add 1 cup water, bring to a boil and add all remaining spices. Simmer for a few minutes more.
Benefits of Mung Bean Soup
Mung bean is used in Ayurveda to balance all three doshas and eliminate toxins. Spices are used medicinally to create a delicious and nourishing soup. When eaten daily over a period of time, it will have a powerful detoxifying effect that is quite remarkable.
GARAM MASALA
Garam masala can be purchased in Asian stores and some supermarkets such as Whole Foods.
To make your own garam masala: roast 1 tablespoon each of cardamom, cloves, cinnamon bark and black pepper. Grind to a powder and store in an airtight container.
KICHADI - Ayurveda's Classic Balancing Food
This delicious dish of rice cooked with dal, ghee and spices is one of the primary staples in the Ayurvedic diet. No matter what your body type, kichadi is suitable for you! It is not aggravating to vata, pitta or kapha and has the unique property of allowing the body to rest and recuperate during illness or intensive therapy.
During the 5-8 week detoxification and rejuvenation therapy of panchakarma, kitchadi is one of the primary foods served because it supports the cleansing process. It is also beneficial to eat kichadi throughout the year and as often as you like because it also provides a complete protein.
You can enjoy kichadi with vegetables or on its own. Serve it knowing you are giving something completely nourishing to your body, mind and soul. Its consistency may be like a soup or more like a typical rice dish.
Ingredients:
1 cup basmati rice Pinch asafetida powder (hing)*
1 cup split mung beans* (yellow dal) ½ tsp. cumin powder (jeera)
1 tbsp. clarified butter (ghee) ½ tsp turmeric powder (halde)*
½ tsp. black mustard seeds (optional) 1 tsp. salt

NOTE: Serve with grated coconut, fresh lime, chopped cilantro

Directions:
  1. Soak the dal for 1 to several hours before cooking
  2. Rinse the rice and dal separately.
  3. Before rinsing the dal, remove any debris or stones, and rinse at least three times in cold water, until the water runs clear.
  4. Transfer the dal and rice to a soup pot. Add 6 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow rice and dal to simmer while you prepare the spices.
  5. In a separate sauce pan, heat ghee on medium heat.
  6. Add mustard seeds, cover and wait until they pop. When they finish popping, add cumin, turmeric and asafetida powders.
  7. Pour ghee and the spices directly into the rice and dal mixture.
  8. Simmer for about 35 minutes, adding more water during the cooking time if you prefer a more soupy consistency as your final product.
  9. After the dal and rice are completely cooked, add salt and stir.
  10. Serve with grated unsweetened coconut, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.
Tips
  • Turmeric will stain yellow!
  • Asafetida has a strong smell that disappears as it cooks, so don’t be alarmed! It is used when cooking beans to remove the gas.
  • Unlike most legumes, split mung beans can be cooked without soaking; however, if you have time, they are still easier to digest if you can soak them one to several hours before cooking,
  • Avoid adding salt when cooking beans as it makes them tough. If you use salt, add it before serving.
YELLOW DAL & PUMPKIN SOUP ~ Food for a Balanced Mind
This is a simple soup that will help keep your mind very tranquil and happy!
Ingredients:
cup yellow mung dal 3 cups vegetable broth or 1 teaspoon instant vegetable broth powder mixed with 3 cups water
2 tablespoons chopped mint 1 ½ cup pumpkin, butternut or acorn squash (peeled & cut)
Salt to taste 1 tablespoon ghee or safflower oil

NOTE: Serve with grated coconut, fresh lime, chopped cilantro

Directions:
  1. Cook mung dal and pumpkin in a thick bottomed vessel along with vegetable stock.
  2. In a small pan, heat ghee or safflower oil. Add chopped mint and slowly add to the cooked dal mixture.
  3. Make a purée of the whole cooked mixture and adjust the thickness with water or vegetable stock until you have a thick creamy soup.
  4. Garnish with chopped mint leaves
VATA PACIFYING DIET
Enjoy these foods that pacify or reduce the vata dosha:
  1. Sweet fruits such as bananas(only in summer), coconuts, figs, grapes, melon (in summer), papaya and dates.
  2. Dried dates and raisins should be soaked in water for several hours, or eat them with a little bit of ghee.
  3. Cooked vegetables, including beets, carrots, french green beans, onion (not raw)
  4. Sweet potatoes, all kinds of squashes and pumpkins such as ridge gourd, bottle gourd, snake gourd, and red and white pumpkin
  5. Cooked rice, especially basmati and brown rice, and cooked oats
  6. Cooked whole mung beans, split mung dal, masoor dal and red lentils
  7. All nuts, and especially nut butters, in moderation for nourishment.
  8. Jaggery (natural, unrefined sugar available at Indian grocery stores), molasses, honey, palm sugar, unrefined sugar such as Sucanat,
  9. Ghee, olive oil, sesame oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil. We recommend consumption of oils in moderate quantities.
  10. If you eat animal products, eggs, seafood and dark meat poultry pacify vata

NOTE: Eat more soupy foods and cooked vegetables rather than raw. Cooked veggies are definitely your friend. All your food should contain a moderate amount of oil or ghee. Remember: Plain boiled or steamed vegetables and grains without oil cause excess vata. Avoid chilled water, cold drinks, cold milk, curd and ice cream, which increase vata. Excessive fasting also increases vata.