Anyone who has stepped out of a blissful savasana will be able to attest to the wondrous benefits of yoga...
And while yoga is undoubtedly good for our bodies, so too is its sister philosophy, Ayurveda. Tried and tested over thousands of years, the ancient Indian food-as-medicine practice promised a restored, balanced system. Who can say no to that? In the brand new book, The Yogic Kitchen, Ayurvedic health coach, cook and yoga teacher Jody Vassallo offers a quiet argument for the Ayurvedic approach, accompanied by 100 recipes that – quite frankly – would convert even the greatest non-believer.
Focused on how you can support your body and soul with the right food medicine, The Yogic Kitchen translates Jody’s passion for good food and good health (as well as stylish living), into recipes that do all the work for you.
Having worked with the likes of Jamie Oliver, Bill Granger and Donna Hay, we’d say she’s well versed to provide some delicious meals. So when they’re beneficial for our health too? Well, we can look no further.
Here, Jody has shared three recipes from The Yogic Kitchen, which will send your mouth watering and your body singing. Trust us – we’ve tried.
100 g fine rice vermicelli
2 carrots, finely shredded
2 Lebanese cucumbers, finely shredded
1 cup (160 g) bean sprouts
1 cup (20 g) coriander sprigs
2 tablespoons fried shallots
2 lemongrass stems, pale part only, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped coriander root
2 tablespoons coconut water
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon coconut sugar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin coconut oil, melted
2 chicken breast fillets, sliced
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
To make the lemongrass chicken, pound the lemongrass and coriander root to a paste using a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a shallow dish, add the coconut water, fish sauce, sugar and oil and mix well. Add the chicken and turn to coat in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight or as long as time permits.
Whisk the dressing ingredients with 1/3 cup of water in a jug. Add the cucumber and carrot and allow to pickle while you cook the chicken.
Return the chicken to room temperature 30 minutes before cooking. Drain the chicken and pat dry with paper towel.
Heat a barbecue grill to medium–hot. Chargrill the chicken for 10 minutes, until tender and cooked through. (Alternatively, cook under a grill or in a chargrill pan.)
Meanwhile, pour boiling water over the vermicelli and allow to stand for 10 minutes, until soft. Drain well.
Pile the vermicelli onto a platter, top with the chicken, carrot, cucumber, sprouts, coriander and fried shallots. Drizzle the dressing over the top and serve.
Rajasthani Mixed Lentil Dhal
There are a few things that make a good dhal for me, and I think the most important is texture. I’m not a fan of watery dhals, I much prefer them rich and creamy – and this one truly is that. The secret is in cooking the dhal, you can’t rush it. If you do, you are likely to find yourself with a pan with a nicely charred base; believe me, I’ve needed a lot of elbow grease to clean some of my rushed ventures. This one takes about 11/2 hours if you cook it the old-fashioned way on the stove; if you prefer, you could use a pressure cooker or a slow cooker.
1 cup (250 g) urad dhal
1 cup (220 g) split mung dhal
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon tamarind puree
2 tablespoons organic sesame oil
2 dried bay leaves
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 cup (125 g) Greek-style yoghurt
1 lemon, halved
Place the urad and mung dhal in a bowl, cover with water and set aside to soak overnight. Rinse and drain well.
Transfer the dhal to a large saucepan, add 2 litres of water and cook over medium heat for 11/2 hours, checking and stirring several times to see if you need to add more water. The dhal is ready when the mixture is thick and slightly creamy. You may need to increase the heat towards the end if you find there is too much liquid.
Add the chilli powder, turmeric and tamarind to the pan and mix to combine.
Heat the oil in a small saucepan, add the cloves and bay leaves and cook over medium heat for 1 minute, add the remaining spices and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Add to the cooked lentil mixture and stir through.
Divide the dhal between serving bowls, top with the yoghurt, finish with a good squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of coriander and mint leaves.
Vegan Choc Peanut Butter Cake
Yes it’s good. Really, really good.
1 cup (100 g) almond meal
1 cup (100 g) desiccated coconut
1/2 cup (125 g) coconut sugar
1/2 cup (85 g) cacao powder
3 tablespoons buckwheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 teaspoons peanut butter or hulled tahini
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 3 small bananas)
1 cup (250 ml) coconut water
1 ripe banana
2 tablespoons cacao
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon hulled tahini
flaked coconut, serve
maple syrup, to serve
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a heart-shaped cake tin or 22cm springform tin with baking paper.
Place the almond meal, coconut, coconut sugar, cacao, buckwheat flour, baking powder and chia seeds into a bowl and stir to combine.
Combine the peanut butter, banana and coconut water, then fold into the dry ingredients.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 40–50 minutes or until a skewer comes out mostly clean when inserted in the centre. (It will be slightly moist because of the nature of the cake.)
Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the topping, place the banana, cacao, maple syrup and tahini into a food processor and process until smooth and creamy.
Spread over the cooled cake, top with the flaked coconut and drizzle with the maple syrup.