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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Ayurvedic Cooking - A Feast For Your Senses

Ayurvedic cooking brings together a harmonious collection of fresh, wholesome ingredients to nourish the senses. A medley of colors, tastes, textures and flavors blend together to restore balance to your body, mind, spirit and emotions.

Tempeh, Bean Sprouts & Cucumber with Mint Coconut Sauce

Three kinds of crunch!

In general, the process of frying dries food out, making it harder to digest for Vata constitution, but this sauce helps moisturize the dryness of frying while sour lime primes the digestive juices. The cooling, refreshing herbs balance the heating, heavy murkiness of oil and coconut milk. The bitterness of the herbs stimulates the liver's ability to digest oil. Fresh ginger is pungent but does not provoke Pitta. Coconut milk makes a smooth sauce that pairs nicely with crispy, crunchy tempeh.


1/4 c Yellow Onion
1/2 c Cilantro
1/4 c Water
1/2 tsp Salt (Mineral Salt)
1/2 inch Ginger (Fresh)
1/2 lime Lime
1 tbsp Mint
1/4 c Sunflower Oil
1/4 c Basil
1/2 c Cucumber
1 c Coconut Milk
1 c Tempeh
1 c Bean Sprouts

Sautee onions in 2 tbsp oil. Puree 1/4tsp salt, cilantro, ginger, coconut milk, and water in a blender. Pour over onions and bring to a boil. For maximum crispiness, saute tempeh in remaining oil immediately before serving. Then sprinkle with 1/8 tsp salt and garnish with the bean sprouts, cucumber, mint and basil. Squeeze and sprinkle with lime. Finally, pour the sauce and serve. Serves 4.

Potato Salad with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

A backyard barbeque favorite

Potatoes are cooling and astringent. Yogurt smoothes over the dryness and roughness of astringency, making the potatoes more palatable. Cilantro directly cools high pitta and inflammation. Cilantro and mint help lighten up the heaviness of potato and yogurt.


4 potato Potato
1 tsp Cumin
1/2 c Cilantro
1 c Yogurt
1 c Water
1 tsp Salt (Mineral Salt)
1/2 c Mint

Several hours before serving, boil potatoes until tender with 1/2 of the salt. Cool in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, puree remaining ingredients. Pour over potatoes just before serving. Serves 4.

Kale with Coconut & Fennel

Bitter is Better

Bitters enhance and cleanse the digestive tract by stimulating movement (peristalsis) and the release of bile from the liver and gall bladder. Bitter taste pacifies Kapha and Pitta but aggravates Vata. Kale is an excellent bitter but is hard and chewy, which usually means hard to digest. Therefore, Kale should be cooked until it is soft and more digestible. The harshness and Vata aggravating components of bitter are offset by the stimulating effects of spices and salt. The sugar, coconut flakes and oil in this recipe add a heavy quality balancing the light quality of Kale.


1 tsp Fennel Seeds
1/16 tsp Salt (Mineral Salt)
1/8 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Raw Sugar
1 tbsp Coconut Flakes
2 tsp Sunflower Oil
1 lbs Kale

Add a small amount of water to the bottom of the saucepan. Strip kale of the central vein, chop into small pieces, and add to the water. Bring to a boil, add remaining ingredients and cover. Lower heat and simmer until Kale softens and turns a dull green color. Servings: 3

Grape Juice Chai with Cardamom, Ginger, Turmeric

A sweet, refreshing tonic and cleanser

Grapes nourish the blood plasma and cool the blood's fire. Although sweet taste prevails, endowing grapes with a gentle laxative effect, they are also slightly astringent, toning the musculature of the bowels.

Turmeric invigorates and cleans the blood. The soft coolness of the grape juice balances the intensity of turmeric. Cardamom and ginger help digest food stuck in the upper digestive tract, clearing the stomach creating a feeling of lightness.


1/8 tsp Turmeric
1/4 inch Ginger (Fresh)
1/8 tsp Cardamom
1 c Organic grape juice

Slice ginger and put in blender with organic grape juice and spices for one minute. For best results brew twenty minutes at room temperature. Add 1/8tsp ashwagandha or 1/2 tsp amalaki for a more powerful tonifying and rejuvenating effect. 1 serving.

Recipes submitted by John Joseph Immel, director and founder of Joyful Belly, an Ayurvedic diet and digestion clinic in Asheville, NC. Immel is a graduate of the Ayurvedic Institute taught by Dr. Vasant Lad. Learn your constitutional dosha and find more recipes at

Raw or Cooked?

Raw food offers nutritional benefits but is more difficult to digest, causing gas and bloating. The nutritional benefits are then outweighed by the toxicity of food fermenting in the gut. Indigestible food is considered poison in Ayurveda. As Dr. Robert Svoboda says, 'Even the nectar of immortality is a poison if the body can't digest it."

The measure of good food is not just its contents, but its interaction with our body. Cooked food is easy to digest but destroys some vitamins and enzymes. Neither is superior. The real answer to the cooked or raw debate depends on the digestive strength of the individual. Pitta people have the strongest digestive strength and can tolerate more raw foods than other doshas. Taken from The Raw Versus Cooked Debate.

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