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cooking1MIU’s department of Physiology and Health held an ayurvedic cooking demonstration for its Maharishi AyurVeda Wellness Consultant track and Pre-Integrative Medicine students. They got to learn how to make a simple, healthy and balanced ayurvedic meal. The staple of the meal was yellow mung daal soup with a side of basmati rice, and carrot halwa as a dessert.

Dr. Sabita Sawhney led this demonstration and had this to say to our students: “We really want you to eat healthy, be healthy, and make food for yourself. We want to empower you to be able to make your own food.” She went on to explain, “Ayurvedic food is not just Indian. Whether it is Italian, German or some other cultural cuisine it can be prepared in an ayurvedic manner.”

Some interesting points that were made in this demonstration include:

  • Using fresh herbs and spices is very important, but both fresh and dried herbs and spices are used in ayurvedic cooking.

    Carrot Halwa

    Carrot Halwa

  • For mung daal, lentils must be rinsed 4-5 times or until the water that is used runs clear. This helps clean off dust and dirt that may have accumulated during transport.
  • Go big with ginger! Ginger is wonderful for aiding digestion, and it’s delicious. For kids, you may want to grate your ginger when adding it to daal as children have a tendency to pick out the chunks if they see them 😉
  • Turmeric has been associated with lower alzheimers and cancer rates in India.
  • When making rice add some ghee to it. Not only that, but black cardamon, cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon, salt and garam masala help make your rice flavorful and full of nutrition.

“Mung daal is considered to be one of the super foods in Maharishi AyurVeda. It balances all three doshas, is packed with nutrition (being high in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and low in fat and calories), and is easy to digest.” Dr. Liis Mattik

Overall this cooking demo was a great learning experience for everyone involved. Being able to create ayurvedic meals at home is a wonderful skill to have as ayurvedic foods help support the human physiology’s nutrition, digestion, energy production and overall well-being. Please feel free to try out this wonderful mung daal recipe prepared by MIU Physiology and Health faculty for yourself!

Yellow Mung Daal Soup

Yellow Mung Daal Soup

Mung Daal Recipe (Mung Bean Soup)

Mung Daal refers to mung beans that have been split and the husks removed, so it is yellow. It also refers to the delicious, nourishing and digestible soup that is made by boiling the mung daal in water until it is soft and adding spices (usually fried) or herbs. Preparation time: 20-50 minutes

Ingredients: 1 cup split yellow mung daal (without skin), 2 1/2 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon ghee, Spice options:  1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger; 1/4 teaspoon each: turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder; Herb options:  oregano, thyme, bay leaf, rosemary, sage; Serves four

Steps of Preparation: Mung daal is one of the quickest cooking and easiest daal to make.

  1. After carefully checking the daal by hand  to remove any foreign matter, rinse it till the water runs clear. This can easily be done in a sieve.
  2. Put the daal and water in a pan. The pan should not be more than half full as daal swells substantially during cooking. Heat on high—use a wooden spoon to make sure no daal grains stick to the bottom.
  3. When the water begins to boil, reduce the  heat and cook uncovered for 20-50 minutes, until the beans soften, or longer until they become creamy, as you prefer.
  4. Add the salt towards the end of the cooking  – if added at the beginning the daal may not soften rapidly or completely.
  5. When we want to add spices sautee the spices in a small frying pan and mix them into the daal just before removing it from the stove. Note**: The sequence of adding spices when frying them is from whole hard spices (e.g. cumin, mustard, fenugreek and fresh ginger) to ground powdered spices (e.g. coriander, turmeric) Be careful not to overheat oil and spices:  they should never smoke or become burned!
  6. Fresh herbs such as coriander can be added  as an attractive garnish before serving. And whether you like it plain or spicy, a dot of fresh ghee (or olive oil) and perhaps a squeeze of lemon juice and a shake of black salt stirred in at the end makes it delicious. This recipe can also be used for other types of daal such as red lentil and urad – just check the cooking time – they may take a little longer.