Ayurvedic eating is the ancient Eastern philosophy that’s feeding into the Western diet. Exclusively for WH, Jasmine Hemsley shares some favourite recipes from her brand new book
Jasmine Hemsley shares her favourite Ayurvedic recipes from her brand new book
Eating for your dosha. Balancing your elements. Nourishing your digestive fire. What the hell are we talking about? Ayurveda – the ancient Eastern philosophy that’s taking healthy eating by storm (or water, to use the correct element). If you still think pitta is just a type of bread, help is at hand, in the form of Jasmine Hemsley (pictured). No family name has become quite so synonymous with wellness since Jasmine and her sister Melissa published their first best-selling cookbook in 2014. (Recently overheard in the WH office: ‘I’m feeling so Hemsley today.) Now, Jasmine’s flying solo with new book East By West: Simple Ayurvedic Recipes For Ultimate Mind-body Balance. ‘I discovered Ayurveda 15 years ago on a trip to India,’ she tells WH. ‘Since then, I’ve been absorbing more and more of it. So much of the Hemsley + Hemsley philosophy – eating at certain times of the day, choosing cooked food over raw food – is rooted in Ayurveda.’ First up, the lingo. There are five elements – air, space, earth, fire and water. Those elements are split into three doshas – kapha, pitta and vata – which are like personality types, but are also ascribed to time of the day, seasons and life stages. ‘The main thing to take from the book, without knowing the doshas or anything else, is to look after your digestive fire,’ Hemsley explains. ‘This is what we in the West refer to as your metabolism. It’s a real emotional centre and it’s so important to take care of it.’ So what does eating for your digestive fire look like? For starters, it’s eating your biggest meal of the day at lunch, when your metabolism is working the hardest. This is also the time to eat animal protein or raw food, both of which are harder to digest. ‘When I first looked into Ayurveda, I thought I could never live this way,’ Hemsley adds. ‘But the beauty of it is it isn’t a diet or a strict set of rules. It’s about listening to your body and following your instincts. I like to think of it as a dance; if you’re feeling like this, you probably need a bit of that.’ Exclusively for WH, she shares five hearty Ayurvedic recipes – and not a pitta bread in sight…
Parsnips aren’t only for roasts – they make a beautiful creamy base for spices. Courgettes add a lovely crunch to their sweet heaviness.
2 tbsp flaked almonds • 1 tsp cumin seeds • 1 tsp mustard seeds • 1 large onion, finely sliced • 1 large mild green chilli, sliced • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped • 1cm fresh ginger, grated • 1 cinnamon stick • 3 mediumlarge parsnips, peeled and cut into 3cm
chunks • 1 tsp ground turmeric • ½ tsp chilli powder • 2 large tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped • 1 ½ tsp tamarind paste mixed with 1 tbsp boiling water or 1 tbsp prepared tamarind • 250ml water • 2 medium courgettes, cut into chunks • 400ml tin of full-fat coconut milk • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper • 50g chard or spinach leaves, washed • handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped (optional)
For the cauliflower ‘rice’: 2 large cauliflowers • 1 tsp ghee or coconut oil • 4 tbsp water • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat a pan and dry toast the flaked almonds until lightly browned at the edges. Set aside.
2. In a saucepan, toast the cumin and mustard seeds until fragrant.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients – except the green veg and coconut milk – and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 mins.
4. Add the courgettes and coconut milk, and season well with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring until the mixture is simmering again, for a further 15 mins, folding in the spinach or chard 5-10 mins before the end.
5. Meanwhile, remove the cauliflower leaves and the tough end of the stalk. Use a food processor or grater to grate the cauliflower into rice-sized pieces. Melt the ghee in a wide frying pan, add the cauliflower and water and mix. Cover and steam over a medium heat for 4-5 mins until tender but with a little bite. Check after 3-4 mins to make sure there’s still water in the pan to avoid it catching. Season to taste and serve.
6. Plate up the cauliflower rice and serve with a generous portion of the curry. Scatter with the toasted almonds and the fresh coriander as a garnish, if using.
Rice pudding can divide a room. However, this Ayurvedic version has ignited a new passion for the dish in everyone who’s tried it. Perfect for when it’s cold outside. INGREDIENTS 60g basmati rice • 300ml whole milk, plus extra, warmed, to serve (optional) • 100ml water • ½ tsp ghee • 1 tbsp chopped medjool
dates • 10g currants • 10g blanched almonds or cashews, chopped and
soaked for 1 hr • 5 cardamom pods
(add whole or just use the seeds)
• large pinch of ground turmeric •
2½cm fresh ginger, finely chopped
For the topping (optional): ½ tsp coconut oil • 1 tsp raw coconut slices • ½ tsp jaggery
1. Rinse the rice in a sieve, then drain and place in a saucepan.
Add all the other ingredients.
2. Bring the mixture slowly to the boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer for about 20 mins, until the rice is soft and the consistency is thick and creamy.
3. For the optional topping, add the coconut oil, coconut slices and jaggery to a small saucepan over a medium heat. Cook for
1-2 mins, stirring constantly, until lightly golden and crisp.
4. Divide the milk rice into two bowls and add the topping, if using. If you like, top with warm milk.
BTW You might find that you feel hot during and after eating this, and expel some gas in due course – these are both good signs, promise. A real back-to-basics recipe – and perfect for using up broccoli stalks. INGREDIENTS 250g broccoli (mostly stalks), chopped • 2 tbsp sliced leek • 240ml water • 8 whole cashews or 1 heaped tbsp sunflower seeds, soaked for 1 hr and drained, or 1 tbsp ghee • ½ tsp sea salt • freshly ground black pepper
To serve: extra-virgin olive
oil, for drizzling • handful of dehusked watermelon seeds
(I love the brand Mello) • handful of black sesame seeds
1. Simmer the veg in the water until tender and bright green. Blend with the soaked cashews, sunflower seeds or ghee, and season with salt and pepper.
2. Serve with plenty of extravirgin olive oil and a generous sprinkling of watermelon seeds and black sesame seeds.
This recipe is inspired by the savoury uttapams (thick mini pancakes) I discovered on my first trip to India. INGREDIENTS 80g basmati rice • 40g urad dal • pinch of fenugreek seeds • 360ml water • ¼ tsp salt • 1 tbsp maple syrup • 1 tsp vanilla extract • 1 tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra for sprinkling • 1 tsp ghee or coconut oil, plus more if necessary • 20g raisins • 18 cashews, crushed or roughly chopped
1. First, make the batter – at least 24 hours before you wish to serve. Rinse the rice and place in a bowl with the urad dal, fenugreek seeds and 180ml water. Cover and leave to soak for 5-6 hours. Drain the mixture and blend in a strong blender with 120ml water and the salt until you get a fine but grainy consistency.
2. Cover loosely, leaving a gap
(you can transfer the mixture to a bowl if you need the blender jar) and allow to ferment for a minimum of 8 hrs in a warm place such as an airing cupboard. This makes enough for 12 pancakes. Now, let’s get cooking.
3. Mix in the remaining 60ml water and the maple syrup, vanilla extract and ground cinnamon.
4. Melt the ghee in a 25cm non-stick frying pan on a medium–high heat.
5. Pour 2 tbsp of the batter into the hot pan, which should spread to a thick 9cm pancake. Working quickly, stud the pancake with 5 raisins, a few crushed cashew pieces and a tiny pinch of cinnamon. Repeat, working your way around the pan in the spaces (you should fit three in your pan).
6. Fry on a low heat until small bubbles appear on the surface, then flip over and cook on the other side until crisp and golden. Remove and repeat until all the batter is used up, adding a little more oil or ghee if needed.
This has lots of antioxidant and nutrient-rich veggies to boost brainpower, plus two potent herbs for cognition and memory if you can get your hands on them.
1 tbsp ghee • ½ tsp Shankhpushpi powder (optional) • ½ tsp Brahmi powder (optional) • ½ tsp ground turmeric • ¼ tsp asafoetida • ½cm fresh ginger, grated • 1 red chilli, finely chopped • sea salt • 200g
baby spinach • 4 vine-ripened tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped • 350g broccoli florets •
300g French beans, cut into 2½cm lengths • 115ml double cream or coconut milk • juice of ½ lemon • 50g each of skin-on almonds and walnuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped • 2 tbsp chopped coriander • cooked basmati rice, to serve
1. Gently melt the ghee in a frying pan over a low heat and stir in the Shankhpushpi and Brahmi powders, if using, with the other ground spices. Add the ginger and chilli along with a pinch of sea salt. Heat and stir for 2 mins over a medium heat.
2. Add the spinach gradually over a medium-high heat and stir until wilted. Add the tomatoes, broccoli and French beans, then place the lid on the pan and simmer for 3-4 mins until the beans and broccoli are still bright in colour but sufficiently tender.
3. Stir through the cream and heat for a couple of mins. Remove from heat. Add salt to taste if needed.
4. Transfer to a serving dish, drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with the almonds, walnuts and fresh coriander. Serve with basmati rice.
sat fat 17.5g sugar 23g serves 4 cals 443
sat fat 2.3g sugar 2.5g serves 2 cals 179
sat fat 7g sugar 16.8g serves 2 cals 316
sat fat 2g sugar 8.3g serves 3 cals 192
sat fat 14g sugar 10g serves 4 cals 639
East By West: Simple Ayurvedic Recipes For Ultimate Mind-body Balance (£25, Bluebird) is out now