Nourishing Ayurvedic recipes for perfect balance

Health coach, skilled cook and passionate yoga teacher Jody Vassallo shares a menu of body-loving recipes designed around India’s ancient food-as-medicine practice Ayurveda, from her cookbook, The Yogic Kitchen.

The Yogic Kitchen by Jody Vassallo

Black sesame porridge

Serves 4

 

1 cup steel cut oats (160g), soaked

overnight in cold water

2 tablespoons black tahini

pinch sea salt

1½ cups (375ml) unhomogenised

organic milk or coconut milk

2 teaspoons coconut sugar

1 teaspoon finely sliced ginger

To serve

2 tablespoons goji berries

1 teaspoon black sesame seeds

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds

1 tablespoon ghee

Method

1 Rinse and drain the oats and place in a pan with the black tahini, salt and milk and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the oats are soft.

2 Stir in the sugar and ginger to combine.

3 Serve bowls of the porridge topped with goji berries, seeds and ghee.

Bun bowls

Serves 4

100g fine rice vermicelli

2 carrots, finely shredded

2 Lebanese cucumbers, finely shredded

1 cup (160g) bean sprouts

1 cup (20g) coriander sprigs

2 tablespoons fried shallots

The Yogic Kitchen by Jody Vassallo

Lemongrass Chicken

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

Dressing

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce

2 tablespoons lime juice

Method

1 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 the chicken overnight or as long as time permits.

2 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.

3 Return the chicken to room temperature 30 minutes before cooking. Drain the chicken and pat dry with paper towel.

4 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.)

5 Meanwhile, pour boiling water over the vermicelli and allow to stand for 10 minutes, until soft. Drain well.

6 Pile the vermicelli noodles onto a platter, top with the grilled chicken, carrot, cucumber, sprouts, coriander and fried shallots. Drizzle the dressing over the top and serve.

 

The Yogic Kitchen by Jody Vassallo

Rajasthani mixed lentil dhal

Serves 4

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 1½ 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. – Jody Vassallo

1 cup (250g) urad dhal

1 cup (220g) split mung dhal

½ teaspoon chilli powder

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

1 tablespoon tamarind puree

2 tablespoons organic sesame oil

3 cloves

2 dried bay leaves

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

To serve

½ cup (125g) Greek style yoghurt

1 lemon, halved

coriander leaves

mint leaves

Method

1 Place the urad and mung dhal in a bowl, cover with water and set aside to soak overnight. Rinse and drain well.

2 Transfer the dhal to a large saucepan, add 2 litres of water and cook over medium heat for 1½ 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.

3 Add the chilli powder, turmeric and tamarind to the pan and mix to combine.

4 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.

5 Divide the dhal between serving bowls, top with the yoghurt, and finish with a good squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of coriander and mint leaves.

The Yogic Kitchen by Jody Vassallo

Tahini and rose halva cookies

Makes 12

These chewy halva-like cookies are truly the business. A taste of these will transport you to the incredible Middle East. If you know your Ayurvedic dosha, you may know that tahini is not ideal for Pittas – but halva is okay because the sweet cools the warming tahini down. Make a double batch. You’ll thank me.– Jody Vassallo

1 cup (250g) hulled tahini

1 cup (250g) coconut sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon rosewater

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line two baking trays with baking paper.

2 Place the tahini, sugar, egg and rosewater in a bowl and mix well. Keep mixing until the mixture comes away from the side of the bowl and forms a ball.

3 Shape tablespoons of the mixture into balls, flatten slightly. Place on the lined trays and bake for 10 minutes, until golden and firm.

The Yogic Kitchen by Jody Vassallo

Vegan choc peanut butter cake

Serves 8

1 cup (100g) almond meal

1 cup (100g) dessicated coconut

½ cup (125g) coconut sugar

½ cup (85g) 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 (250ml) coconut water

 

Topping

1 ripe banana

2 tablespoons cacao

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon hulled tahini

flaked coconut, serve

maple syrup, to serve

 

Method

1 Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a heart-shaped cake tin or 22cm springform tin with baking paper.

2 Place the almond meal, coconut, coconut sugar, cacao, buckwheat flour, baking powder and chia seeds into a bowl and stir to combine.

3 Combine the peanut butter, banana and coconut water, then fold into the dry ingredients.

4 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.)

5 Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

6 To make the topping, place the banana, cacao, maple syrup and tahini into a food processor and process until smooth and creamy.

7 Spread over the cooled cake, top with the flaked coconut and drizzle with the maple syrup.

The Yogic Kitchen by Jody Vassallo

This is an edited extract from The Yogic Kitchen by Jody Vassallo (Harlequin, $39.99), available now.