Ayurvedic Grain Recipes to Balance Doshas

Ayurvedic Grain Recipes

Ayurvedic grain recipes are generally naturally sweet in taste, have neutral energy that is neither heating nor cooling, are sattvic (pure and peace-promoting), and support the balance of all three Doshas.

Considered in Ayurveda as one of the best staple foods for all climates and constitutions in their whole form, grains play a vital role in the diet. Grains are made up of large amounts of the earth element which is what helps build the physical tissues and gives bulk to the stool through their fiber.  In their whole form, they are also easy to digest.

However, when ayurvedic grain recipes are eaten in excess, they can aggravate the Doshas and the body.  This is especially true with the highly processed grains and over-emphasis of wheat-based foods in the modern diet.  Many today think of “whole grain” as a processed product made with whole wheat flour.  These recipes will help you expand your diet into the true whole forms of grains.

ayurvedic-grain-recipes
Photo by Ella Olsson from Pexels

Though grains vary in terms of the qualities of dry/moist and heavy/light which do impact the Doshas differently unless you have a serious health condition you can enjoy grains in a balanced way simply by rotating their use throughout the week.

For example, for your main meal enjoy millet on Monday, rice on Tuesday, barley on Wednesday, buckwheat and oats on Thursday, quinoa (which is really a seed but serves up like a grain) on Friday. You don’t need to be that rigid but integrating the different grains in will lessen the negative impact of having too much of any grains – especially wheat which is overused today.

List of Ayurvedic Recipes with Grains

  • Spicy Vegetables Rice
  • Citrusy Twist on Rice Side Dish
  • Rice Pudding Recipes
  • Millet as ayurvedic grain recipes
  • Quinoa Recipes
  • Curried Couscous with Cherries and Almonds
  • Quinoa and Pepper Saute
  • Wild Rice Squash Pilaf
  • Oat Waffles
  • Spiced Quinoa Breakfast
  • Cream of Millet Breakfast
  • Cilantro Quinoa Zucchini Corn Fritters
  • Chapati: Everyday Flat Bread
  • Millet Corn Cakes
  • Easy Rotating Whole Grain Pilafs
  • Barley Kitchari for Spring
  • Barley Quinoa Kitchari



Spicy Vegetable Rice

My primary goal with cooking is to enjoy high quality, healthy food with a minimal amount of effort. As such, I am always on the lookout for tasty quick dishes and this all-in-one rice extravaganza fits the bill.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 c. basmati rice
  • ½ c. zucchini, chopped
  • ½ c. green beans, chopped
  • ½ c. fresh peas
  • (carrots, potatoes, cauliflower or broccoli may be added or substituted according to one’s dosha)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped (leave out or decrease to lower Pitta)
  • 1” piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped fine
  • ¼ c fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbls. Shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • ½ c water
  • ½ c ghee
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 pinch hing (asofoetida)
  • 12 whole cloves (decrease to lower Pitta)
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 1” piece cinnamon stick, broken into small pieces
  • 2 pinches salt
  • ½ tsp cayenne or more to taste (leave out or decrease to lower Pitta)
  • 5 c water
  • Lime, coconut, and cilantro for garnish

Instructions to prepare these ayurvedic grain recipes

  1. Wash the rice twice and drain. Prepare the vegetables. Put the garlic, ginger, cilantro, coconut, and ½ c water in a blender, blend, and set aside.
  2. Heat a good-sized saucepan on medium and add the ghee, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, and hing. Cook until the seeds pop then add the rest of the spices except the salt. Mix well. Pour in the blended mixture and the salt and cook until slightly browned. Stir in the rice and vegetables and mix well to coat with spices. Pour in the water and bring to a boil for a few minutes.
  3. Cover loosely and turn down the heat to low. Cook 15-20 minutes until tender.
  4. Garnish and enjoy it.
  5. To create a complete meal, either serve with a side of chicken, fish or tasty lentil dal. Or you can cook yellow mung beans for 20 minutes then add them to the rice when you add the vegetables.

Citrusy Twist on Rice Side Dish

I try to mix and match my grains throughout the week and am always on the look-out for new, easy recipes that taste great and are nutritious. In my search last week I discovered a simple rice dish that has just 7 ingredients but a powerfully fresh taste.

Try it and let me know what you think.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbls. butter or ghee
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1 c. Jasmine rice
  • 13 oz chicken or vegetable stock
  • lemon zest from half a lemon (or more depending on your taste)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbls. chopped parsley

Instructions

  1. Cook the onion in butter for 5-10 minutes on medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent.
  2. Add the rice and continue to coat and cook on medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until slightly brown.
  3. Add the stock, zest, and salt. Bring to a boil then turn to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  4. Add fresh parsley and serve.



Expand your Grains with Two Rice Pudding Recipes

In making any kind of dietary shift, having new recipes is a critical tool. I especially look for recipes that are easy and tasty!

Today many people eat an excessive amount of wheat – and most of that is processed.  To begin adding in some new whole grain options, try these two versatile rice pudding recipes.  I have used them for breakfast, a hearty snack, and dessert.

Some of my variations include:

  • extra fruit (apples, pears, berries, dried cranberries, apricots or raisins) during cooking
  • top off with toasted nuts after cooking- pecans are my favorite
  • coconut flakes
  • additional spices like cardamom, allspice, cloves, nutmeg

Use these, like all recipes, as a guideline and go wild with your own creativity!

Sweet Almond Rice Pudding

  • 1/2 c. raw almonds (soaked 4-12 hours)
  • 3 c. water
  • 1 c. brown rice
  • 1/4 c. sucanat (evaporated cane juice)
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg or allspice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Blend soaked and drained almost with a little of the water in a blender to make almond milk.  Add the rest of the water and blend to a smooth consistency.  Combine with other ingredients in a pot, cover, and bring to a slow boil.  Reduce heat to low, simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Serve with butter or ghee and seeds or nuts.

Rice Cooker Brown Rice Pudding

  • 1 c. brown rice
  • 2 1/2 c. water
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 c. milk (cow’s, soy, rice or almond-based of preference and need)
  • 1/2 c. sucanat or other less refined sweeteners
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

The night before, put the rice and water in a crockpot on low.  Upon waking, whisk the eggs together and add to the milk.  Put the milk-egg mixture, sucanat, and spices in the crockpot with the cooked rice.  Continue to cook on low heat for another three hours.

Millet as ayurvedic grain recipes

These ayurvedic grain recipes highlight the less-commonly used grain millet.

Millet is a tiny, round grain that though usually whitish can also be gray, yellow, or red.  It is highly nutritious, containing manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium, and is also non-glutinous and relatively easy to digest.

The flavor of millet is enhanced by lightly roasting the grains in a dry pan before cooking.  Simply stir constantly for approximately three minutes or until you smell a mild, nutty aroma.  If millet is presoaked the cooking time is shortened by 5 to 10 minutes.

In Ayurveda, millet is said to have both a sweet taste and be cool which decreases Pitta and only mildly increases Kapha and Vata.  It is good food for those who are weakened and recovering from illness.

Creamy Millet Porridge with Apples

  • 1 c. millet
  • 2 1/2 c. apple juice (or half juice/half water for less sweetness)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped finely

Add all ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer on low heat for 20-25 minutes until creamy.  Serve with cinnamon and a drizzle of honey and butter or ghee.

Baked Millet with Berries

  • 1 c. millet
  • 3 c. water
  • 1 apple
  • 1 c. fresh blueberries or raspberries
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup

Boil millet, water, and chopped apple for 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed.  Spread in a baking dish and put in the berries and maple syrup.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Breakfast Millet Porridge

  • 1/2 c. millet
  • 2 1/2 c water
  • 2 Tbsp grated ginger
  • 2-3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 4 Tbsp raisins
  • 3 Tbsp chopped walnuts

Put millet, water, and ginger in a pot and bring to a boil.  Simmer 25-30 minutes and let stand uncovered off the heat for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and put it in a bowl.  Top with honey, raisins, and walnuts.


Quinoa Recipes

Quinoa is an excellent, high protein grain that has a very balanced effect upon the three doshas or life forces. these ayurvedic grain recipes are particularly good for Vata, the force made up of the elements air and ether.  Quinoa combines well with basmati rice to make a complete food and many find the combination more pleasant to the taste than quinoa alone.

Peruvian Quinoa Stew

  • 1/2 c. quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 c. vegetable stock, divided
  • 1 Tbsp ghee
  • 1 c. sliced leeks, washed
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1 zucchini, quarter slices
  • 14 oz tomatoes, canned or fresh diced preferably
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder (less to decrease pitta)
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 3/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 pinch cayenne
  • 1/3 c. chopped cilantro

Combine quinoa and 1 cup of stock in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook until moisture has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender about 10-12 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and set aside.

Heat ghee or oil in a stockpot.  Add the leeks, celery, carrots, and pepper and saute over medium heat for 4 minutes.  Add the zucchini and saute for another 3-4 minutes until all the vegetables are medium soft.  Add the tomatoes and broth (plus extra water if you would like a thinner consistency) and simmer 2 minutes then add the quinoa and spices and simmer for 5 minutes.  Serve warm topped with the chopped cilantro.

Rice Cooker Quinoa Pilaf

  • 1/3 c. white basmati rice
  • 1/3 c. quinoa
  • 1 /2 c. water
  • 1 Tbsp. dried cranberries
  • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. unsweetened dried coconut
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • pinch of black pepper

Rinse the grains and place in rice cooker pot.  Add the remaining ingredients and push start.  When finished the rice cooker will automatically switch to the warming cycle.  Enjoy this for breakfast topped with a teaspoon of ghee, or for lunch and dinner as a side dish.

Curried Couscous with Cherries and Almonds

I came across a basic recipe for a yummy couscous dish in my local newspaper a while back and finally got around to testing it out the other week. I made a couple of alterations and turned it into more of a grain salad to suit this summer season. Hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients

  • 2 c. water
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil, ideally cold-pressed
  • 1 1/2 c. whole-wheat couscous
  • 1/4 c. plain yogurt (homemade is ideal)
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 tsp. curry powder to taste
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1/3 c. chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/3 c. dried sweet cherries (ideally unsweetened)
  • 1/3 c. slivered almonds
  • Mixed salad greens.

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring water and 1 Tbsp. olive oil to a boil.
  2. When water boils, remove from heat and add the couscous.
  3. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes then put in a large bowl and fluff with a fork.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together the yogurt, remaining 1/4 c. olive oil, vinegar, curry powder, salt, and pepper.
  5. Add to couscous and stir until combined.
  6. Stir in carrot, parsley, cherries, and almonds.
  7. Cover and refrigerate until needed. Place on a bed of salad greens and serve.



Quinoa and Pepper Saute as ayurvedic grain recipes

One of my clients recently gave me this recipe. I love it for its simplicity along with the fact that it is tasty. If you have great simple recipes you’d like to share, please send them my way!

Ingredients

  • 1 c. red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 c. red onion, chopped (substitute leeks to decrease pitta)
  • 2 c. spinach (substitute kale or Swiss chard to decrease pitta)
  • 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tsp. olive oil or ghee
  • 1 c. cooked quinoa
  • 1 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
  • 2 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Saute the red bell peppers, red onion (and kale or Swiss chard if you are using) and ¼ tsp smoked paprika in olive oil or ghee until vegetables are soft – about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the spinach and saute until it wilts.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve vegetable mixture over cooked quinoa.
  4. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp grated Parmesan and parsley.

Wild Rice Squash Pilaf

Recently I tried a new recipe using a brown and wild rice blend from Lunberg organic rice and butternut squash I had sitting in my fridge.  I often look at recipes then make adjustments for my constitution or current needs as well as what I happen to have in my cupboards.  So it was with this ayurvedic grain recipes, the original of which is called “Michele’s Holiday Butternut” and comes from the Ayurvedic Cooking for Westerners cookbook.

On a side note, I list a wide variety of products on the Amazon portal as a way to share with you items that I have found useful.  If you also like them, I invite you to purchase through the portal on my website for which I receive a small amount that continues to help fund my time and energy putting things up to support you at home.

Now back to the recipe.  Two of my time-saving strategies were to cook the squash and the rice the night before while I was in the kitchen cooking dinner.  I prefer food to be cooked fresh but sometimes that isn’t possible so as long as I’m cooking and eating in about twelve hours I use time-saving strategies.  I then assembled everything the next morning, which is my preferred time to cook.

Ingredients and directions:

  • 1/2 c. brown rice and wild rice mixture
  • 1 1/2 c. water

Put the rice and water in either a saucepan or rice cooker.  If in a saucepan, bring to a boil then reduce to low, cover, and cook 45 minutes.  If using a rice cooker, put ingredients in and simply hit the start button.

  • medium-large butternut squash covered with 1 c. water

Slice squash in half lengthwise, place skin side up in a 9″ x 12″ baking dish and cover with the water.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 45-60 minutes.  Keep watch as you may need to add more water and check for tenderness.  You can cook with the seeds then scoop out when done.

  • 1 Tbsp. ghee or olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. leeks
  • 2 medium carrots, grated
  • 1 c. green beans, sliced
  • 1 c. chopped kale, stem removed

Warm the ghee or oil in a skillet then add the leeks and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Then add the carrots, green beans, and kale, sauteing for another 3-5 minutes until vegetables are soft.

  • 1 Tbsp. dried dill
  • 2 tsp. Mum’s masala or another garam masala blend
  • 1/2 tsp. soma salt or sea salt
  • 3/4 c. dried cranberries
  • 1/2 c. pumpkin seeds, ideally lightly roasted beforehand

Stir in the spices below along with the cranberries, pumpkin seed, squash, and cooked rice.  Cook, covered, another 5-10 minutes to blend the flavors, adding a little water as needed to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan and drying out.

Serve and enjoy!


Oat Waffles as ayurvedic grain recipes

This is a favorite breakfast recipe that I pulled out again today.  It provides a yummy way to eat whole grains in a waffle form that is good for balancing Kapha with it’s drier nature yet still moist enough to keep Vata balanced.  And it’s yeast and dairy-free.

Pair it with ghee and/or fruit spread, top it with cooked fruit, or use good old maple syrup

Ingredients

  • 2 c. oatmeal (thick cut) or 1 c. oatmeal and 1 c. rolled barley
  • 1/4 c. oat brain
  • 2 Tbsp. ground flax seeds or sesame seeds
  • 2 1/4 c. water (more if needed for desired consistency)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. seal salt
  • 2 Tbsp. oil
  • 1/2 c. nuts

Instructions

  1. Grind the oats (and barley if using) in the blender.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and blend the batter until light and foamy.
  3. Let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to overnight.
  4. Beat vigorously before baking – and you may need to add a little more water.
  5. Cook in a preheated waffle pan.
  6. Pour a large spoonful of batter onto the greased iron and quickly spread it out almost to the edges. When the light goes over, flip over and cook another minute or so.
  7. Serve promptly with the suggestions above.

Spiced Quinoa Breakfast

Quinoa is an excellent, high protein grain that is balancing for all three doshas and is particularly good for lowering Vata. This quick-cooking cereal uses quinoa flakes which can be food at most natural food stores.

Serves 1

Melt a small amount of ghee in a pot and add a small handful of groundnuts with 1/3 – 1/2 cup of quinoa flakes.  Toast together with warming spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, or ginger), raisins, or dried fruit.  Add 1 cup liquid (water or type of milk) and bring to a boil.  Turn down to a simmer and cook 5 minutes, watching that it doesn’t get too dry.

Cream of Millet Breakfast

Millet is a sweet and cooling (energetically) grain that is generally good for all three doshas as it decreases pitta but only mildly increases Vata and Kapha.  It has a nutritive effect making it good for recovering from an illness or helping to restore health.

Ingredients

Cooked Millet Ingredients
    • 1 c. dry millet
    • 2 ½ c. pure water
    • ½ tsp. salt
Blender Items
  • 2 tsps. Raw almond butter
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 Tbs. maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. water

Instructions

  1. Bring all the cooked millet ingredients to a boil in a saucepan.
  2. Cover and reduce to low and cook until done, about 30 minutes.
  3. Just before serving use a blender to mix all the blender ingredients
  4. Slowly blend in the cooked millet at a low speed, using extra hot water if needed to achieve the desired texture.



Cilantro Quinoa Zucchini Corn Fritters

This lovely, cooling ayurvedic grain recipe is wonderful as we move into warmer weather.

For this recipe, use organic ingredients whenever possible.  The recipe comes with a yogurt-based dressing but if you prefer a non-dairy option or want to decrease the Kapha aspect, I found a simple dressing of olive, balsamic vinegar, and Italian herbs lovely, too.

Ingredients of these ayurvedic grain recipes

  • Fritter Recipe:
  • 1 unpeeled, washed, grated small zucchini
  • 1 c. organic cooked corn (great fresh off the cob)
  • 1/3 red bell pepper, small dice
  • 1 stalk celergy, finely chopped
  • 1/4 c. fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 c. whole wheat or other flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 c. quinoa cooked in 1 cup water until the water evaporated (about 20-25 minutes)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 Tbsp. olive oil, ghee or a combination
  • Fritter Dressing:
  • 1/2 c. fresh cilantro leaves
  • Juice 1 small lemon
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 c. plain yogurt (try the homemade recipe!)
  • extra spices as you desire

Instructions

  1. Fritter Instructions:
  2. Saute the zucchini, bell pepper and celery in 1 Tbsp oil until soft.
  3. Remove from heat and add cooked corn, quinoa, cilantro, flour, eggs, and salt and pepper.
  4. Mix together thoroughly and form into 8 flat patties.
  5. Place the remaining 4 Tbsp oil in a skillet and when warm add the patties and cook on medium heat until both sides are golden brown.
  6. Serve over a bed of greens (I used a spring garden lettuce mix and added baby spinach and arugula). Drizzle with the dressing.
  7. Fritter Dressing Instructions:
  8. This ayurvedic grain recipe originally called for 2 cloves garlic which I leave out as they don’t agree with my body and are more rajasic or overly stimulating in energy; you can use them or add in other spices and herbs if you want more flavor.
  9. Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender and serve.

Chapati: the everyday flatbread

Several years ago I took a cooking class and learned how to make this simple Indian flatbread.  I bought a special pan from the Indian grocery store, which I later discovered I really didn’t have to have.  And promptly proceeded to not make the chapatis a single time.

Then on my recent trip to India, this lovely unleavened bread again showed up in a cooking class.  They were so simple and so delicious.  And I had just been told by my doctors at the panchakarma clinic, where I had spent two weeks, to avoid yeasted bread for the next three months.

So it was with new inspiration that I came home and dove right into making these lovely pieces of bread.  As with most new things, once you do it a couple of times, it is easy to get in the groove.  I am happy to say that I am now incorporating this yummy, balancing, versatile bread into my life regularly!

I share this with you because many of the processed bread that is eaten today are both taken too frequently and can be balancing for all three of the doshas.

  • Wheat, which most bread is made of, is the moistest and heaviest grain and in bread becomes even stickier – all qualities which increase Kapha.
  • Pitta is increased by things that are sour or fermented – and yeast is a fermenting process.
  • And Vata is increased by things that have air and lightness in them, which yeast also creates.

This isn’t to say that in moderation that yeasted bread cannot be a part of a healthy diet, especially if someone is in good health.  However, moderation is the keyword, and here is where the lovely, unyeasted Indian flatbread, called Chapati or Roti, comes in.  It can be made with a variety of different flours to suit one’s doshic needs, is simple, yummy, and can take the place of yeasted pieces of bread on a more regular basis.

The classic Chapati recipe calls for wheat flour.  India is one of the few places today that actually still grows and has access to heritage wheat which is lighter than the current hybrid wheat that fills today modern wheat products and creates greater digestive issues.  You might find this Indian wheat in Indian grocery stores. Otherwise, my motto is simply to rotate flours so as not to create imbalance by eating too much of any one thing.

Possibilities for variations of flours include spelt, whole wheat, whole wheat pastry, oat, millet, corn, buckwheat, and barley.  The latter five flours are drier by nature, thus better for Kapha and not as good for Vata, and may require some adjustment in oil and water in the traditional recipe.  I like to combine flours using half spelt as it is moister then add 1-2 of the others to make up the other cup.  I invite you to start with the basics then get creative and see what works for you!


Ingredients

  • 2 c. whole wheat flour – I use half spelt and half other flours including whole wheat pastry
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. lukewarm water, filtered ideally
  • 2 tsp. sunflower oil

Instructions

  1. This ayurvedic grain recipe makes 12 chapatis.
  2. Mix the flour, salt, and water together well to form a dough with your hands or a kneading tool in a food processor.
  3. Add the oil and knead until the dough becomes soft. The dough should not be sticky so add more flour as needed to create the right texture.
  4. Divide the dough into 12 large golf-sized balls.
  5. On a board or rolling mat, sprinkle a little flour and roll the sought lightly in the flour Press the ball down once so it is slightly flattened.
  6. With a rolling pin, roll the flattened ball a couple of times in the middle then flip and rotate and repeat. Continue this flip, rotate, and roll a couple of times in the middle until all sides are evenly thin. Using this process helps achieve an even circle shape.
  7. The dough should be quite thin but not so that it tears or isn’t able to be picked up easily. The thin quality allows for bubbles to form and add lightness to the bread.
  8. On a hot pan, ideally cast iron or another pan that provides an even heating, non-stick surface, warmed at medium-high heat, place the first rolled chapati and allow to sit for 30-60 seconds to warm. Then flip the chapati.
  9. As bubbles arise, press them down with a spatula.
  10. Continue to flip and press until both sides are light brown.
  11. Remove and brush with ghee.
  12. You can store the chapatis in foil or a tortilla or chapati warming dish until later, but they are best eaten warm!
  13. You can also keep part of the dough in the refrigerator for a couple of days and make bread fresh for your meals which is ideal.

Millet Corn Cakes as ayurvedic grain recipes

Once a week I make some type of sweet breakfast like pancakes, oat waffles, or sprouted grain French toast.  As spring rolls around, I instinctively start to crave lighter options.  Instead of my hearty winter pancakes, this recipe comes back out for me.

Both millet and corn are considered lighter and drier grains in Ayurveda.  Since the spring season here in the midwest is related to the Kapha dosha which is characterized by heavy, moist, and cool qualities, using light and dry grains helps to balance Kapha.  This is most important if you have more Kapha in your constitution or you are experiencing a Kapha imbalance right now.

While these ayurvedic grain recipes are Kapha pacifying or decreasing, they also don’t aggravate pitta and due to the oils and milk and warm, cooked nature, they aren’t very imbalancing to Vata when eaten occasionally. So no matter your dosha, this is a lovely recipe to add to your breakfast rotation!

Ingredients

  • ¼ c. maple syrup
  • 1 c. almond or cow’s milk (almond best to decrease Kapha)
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. sunflower oil
  • 1+ c. cooked millet
  • 1 ¼ c. cornmeal
  • ½ c. whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¼ c. ground flaxseed*
  • 1 tsp. non-aluminum baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt

Instructions to prepare these ayurvedic grain recipes

  1. Mix dry ingredients together. Mix wet ingredients together and add to the dry ingredients. The batter thickens as it sits so continue to add more milk or water as needed.
  2. Cook as you normally would a pancake on a griddle but spread out the batter a bit more with a spoon due to the thicker batter consistency. These also take a little longer to cook than traditional pancakes.
  3. *If you don’t have flaxseed, you can increase the cornmeal to 1½ c.
  4. To make gluten-free, decrease the cornmeal to 1 cup, and instead of the whole wheat pastry flour use ¼ c. arrowroot, ½ c. oat flour and 1/3 c. rice flour.
  5. My favorite way to have these is topped with ghee and homemade, warm, chunky applesauce.
  6. Though in Ayurveda it is ideal to eat food fresh for the highest amount of life force energy and to prevent the build-up on toxins, you can freeze extras and pop them in the toaster for a quick breakfast.



Easy Rotating Whole Grain Pilafs

One of the things I see over and over in my practice is the dependency on the modern diet on processed grains without a lot of comfort in using and familiarity with whole grains.  This is why I have so many whole grain recipes on my site – to help you incorporate more of them into your diet, develop your palate, and increase your ease in using grains that you may never have even heard of!

This basic formula allows you to use rice as a base mixed with different whole grains to come up with an endless variety of easy whole grain pilafs. I use these on a weekly basis and eat them for lunch, dinner, and even breakfast.

Although in Ayurveda we use specific foods to balance the doshas, the ongoing best Ayurveda diet is simply based on whole foods – rotating grains, legumes, vegetables, and such with the seasons or on a regular basis.  Rotating means that you don’t build an excess in any one food that can lead to an imbalance.

Know that while I’m supplying some ideas with these recipes, you can get creative and change spices, dried fruits, and nuts/seeds in any way that appeals to your inner wisdom and tastebuds!

Combinations I enjoy are:

Basmati rice and quinoa with dried cranberries, cashews, 2 cardamom pods, and a pinch of saffron;

Basmati rice and millet with apricots, pumpkin seeds, 2 whole cloves, 1/4 inch cinnamon stick;

Basmati rice and buckwheat with cranberries, sunflower seeds or almonds, 1/2 tsp. dill, 1/4 tsp. chili powder, 1/4 tsp. coriander, and a pinch of turmeric;

Basmati rice and amaranth with chopped dates and/or figs, pecans, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, pinch nutmeg, and 2 cardamom pods. Due to the sweetness and the texture that amaranth makes which is stickier, I use this as a breakfast porridge.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 c. white basmati rice (you can use brown basmati rice if your digestive system is strong enough but you will need to increase the water by another 1/2 – 3/4 cup)
  • 1/3 c. whole grain (quinoa, millet, buckwheat groats, amaranth)
  • 1 1/2 c. water or vegetable broth (can use more if you like the pilaf a little moister)
  • 1 Tbsp. dried fruit (cranberries, chopped apricots, figs or dates, cherries, unsweetened coconut)
  • 1 Tbsp. seeds or nuts (pumpkin seeds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pecans)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt, ideally Soma salt
  • Pinch pepper
  • Additional spices to taste

Instructions

  1. Rinse the grains and put them in a pot or rice cooker with the water or broth.
  2. Add dried fruits, seeds or nuts, and spices and stir.
  3. If using a rice cooker you simply press cook or start and then it will automatically turn off to the warm cycle when it is done. This is my favorite method as I can take the 3 minutes in the morning to get everything together, press the button, and head off to get ready for the rest of my day.
  4. Is cooking on the stovetop, bring to a boil, then turn down to low, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes.

Barley Kitchari for Spring

In most areas of the United States, spring is considered the Kapha season with a higher amount of moisture in the air, spring showers, and gray clouds.  It can be a nice time for anyone to integrate some Kapha reducing recipes but it is especially important to do so if you have a Kapha dominant or dual constitution or have a Kapha imbalance.

Using the treatment principle of opposite qualities lowering an excess in a dosha or life force, one would use qualities of dry, light, and stimulating to combat the Kapha nature or wet/oily, heavy, and stable.  Barley is a drier and lighter grain and the spices used in the ayurvedic grain recipes are warm and stimulating to move the stable Kapha.

Ingredients of theses ayurvedic grain recipes

  • 1 cup barley
  • 1/3 cup split yellow mung dal (beans)
  • 3 cups of filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil or ghee
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ginger powder ( or substitute 1teaspoon fennel seeds to decrease pitta)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper



Instructions

  1. Soak the mung dal for 1 to 2 hours.
  2. Thoroughly rinse the barley and mung dal twice.
  3. Put the barley, dal, sunflower oil, and water in a medium saucepan.
  4. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar.
  6. Add the spices after 15 minutes of cooking.
  7. Cook until tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  8. Alternatively, use a rice cooker and put in the oil then the spices and sauté for a couple of minutes before adding rice, dal, and water to cook.

Barley Quinoa Kitchari as ayurvedic grain recipes

Spring is nature’s season of cleansing and is one of the two main times in Ayurveda when more in-depth cleanses are recommended.

The typical Ayurveda diet is a cleanse is one that promotes minimal activity in the digestive system in order to give it a break and focuses on the detoxifying process.  This translates as easy-to-digest cooked, vegetarian foods with kitchari being the key dish.

This Quinoa Barley Kirchari uses barley instead of the typical white basmati rice. Barley is a drier, lighter grain making it ideal for cleansing during the heavy spring Kapha season. Quinoa is a seed rather than a grain and adds extra protein.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 c. quinoa
  • 1/3 c. barley
  • 1/3 c. split mung dal
  • 1 Tbsp. ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 tsp. salt, ideally Soma salt
  • 1 tsp. personal spice mix from Ayurveda practitioner or 1/2 tsp. ground coriander, 1/4 tsp. ground fennel, 1/8 tsp. ground cumin, 1/8 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 2 1/4 c. filtered water

Instructions

  1. Wash quinoa, barley, and mung dal in a strainer and rinse well.
  2. Roast the spice mix and salt on low fire with the ghee for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Place the toasted spice mix in a rice cooker and add the quinoa, barley, mung beans, and water.
  4. Press the start button on the rice cooker which will automatically turn to warm once the dish is cooked.
  5. For a moister kitchari, add an extra 1/2 c. water.

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