Warming Ayurveda dishes – enjoy the festive season

Winter has come with early dusk, cold weather and if we’re lucky (nowadays you can say so) some snow. Ayurveda divides winter in Early Winter (until 21.12.) and Late Winter (until 21.02.).

In the first half of winter Agni (our digestive fire) is very strong and able to digest heavier, very nourishing, warm dishes. In the second half Kapha increases drastically in order to protect us from emaciation by the long cold period, which then leads to the famous spring fatigue. Now our warming dishes should be a bit spicy and a glass of organic red wine in the evening can only do well.

It is important to keep ourselves warm. Vata (cold wind) and Kapha (cold and wet) are both sensitive to cold and thus increase during winter. Therefore Agni has to burn well to prevent us from feeling cold, to keep our tissues healthy and protect us from catching a cold.

Use warming spices in your dishes, avoid cold, heavy and mucus producing foods such as cheese, salad, buckwheat, meat, fish etc. Curcuma is the „gold of healing spices“, other valuable winter spices are cinnamon, clover, cardamom, nutmeg, chili, mustard seeds, coriander and garlic.

Pitta types will feel much at ease during the cold season and can use it for outdoor activities, always avoiding excessive cold though. The above mentioned spices are good also for Pitta, but that body type should use them moderately to prevent overheating.

Following 2 wonderfully warming winter recipes for all Doshas:

Especially Kapha calming (Prevention of colds)

Nutty Broccoli Soup
Ingredients for 4 persons
-1 large head broccoli
-1 tsp ghee or olive oil
-1 cup chopped leeks and onions
-2 tsp tamari or low sodium soja sauce
-thyme, marjoram, nutmeg and dill to your likings
-1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
-1/2 cup chopped almonds or 2 tsp organic almond butter
-4 cups vegetable yeast free stock
-2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
-2 tsp chopped parsley or coriander

Cut the broccoli head into florets. Peel and chop the stalk. Heat the oil in a soup pot, add the leeks, tamari, herbs, and spices, sauté for 2 or 3 minutes, then add the broccoli and the almonds (almond butter would be added later). Sauté for several minutes, stir frequently. Add the stock and bring to a boil (now add almond butter), then simmer the soup on low heat until the broccoli is almost soft. Be careful not to overcook! Let soup cool for about 10 minutes, then purée carefully with a blender without creating heat.
Add the lemon juice, ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped herbs.

Especially Vata pacifying (inner tranquillity and warmth, helpful for digestion)

Simple Pumpkin Soup
Ingredients for 4-6 people
-1 large pumpkin (about 3 pounds) or resp. quantity canned pumpkin (organic)
-1 1/2 cups water
-1 teaspoon ghee or olive oil
-1 cup chopped leeks and onions
-1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
-1 teaspoon cinnamon, cumin (seeds or powder) and curry powder
-1/2 teaspoon cloves, ground
-2 to 3 cups yeast free vegetable stock
-1 tbsp tamari sauce or low sodium soja sauce
-1 cup almond or soy milk
-Nutmeg for garnish

If using fresh pumpkin, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wash pumpkin, cut in half, and remove seeds (they can be roasted later, contain a lot of protein and zinc). Place pumpkin halves face down in a baking pan. Pour in the water and cover pan with foil. Bake for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the pumpkin pulls out easily.
Let cool; then remove the pumpkin pulp with a spoon, set aside. Heat the oil in a soup pot on medium heat, add leeks, onions and spices. Sauté until translucent, add a bit of stock. Add the pumpkin pulp and continue to sauté for another 3 or 4 minutes. Add tamari and brown the pumpkin pulp slightly, then add vegetable stock to cover the pumpkin and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Purée while adding the milk. Garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg.

Wishing you a merry Christmas and a joyful winter season!