Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Cooking for Your Constitution

Cooking classes are a wonderful opportunity to learn new techniques, new recipes, and meet others who enjoy cooking (and eating!). Last week I attended an Indian cooking class that was based on the principles of Aryuveda. Before the actual cooking demonstration began the instructor, Karuna, explained that in Aryuveda (which translated means the knowledge and wisdom of life), each person is unique, and therefore different. Karuna used a saying that I liked, "nothing is right for everyone, and everything is right for someone". She explained the three doshas; Vata, Pitta, and Kapha; and that we are all a unique blend of these qualities. This balance of energies is your constitution. Eating foods that are aligned with your constitution will restore balance in your life (and in your bowels!).
The demonstration took place in a cozy kitchen with a group of about 10 people. Karuna explained and passed around the spices she used in her recipes, stressing the importance of using fresh, organic ingredients. She gave us tips on where to obtain some of the lesser known ingredients, such as asafoetida powder. Most importantly, she kept her cool in a hot kitchen and made juggling five different dishes look easy!
One of the five dishes included in the demonstration was not vegan (included dairy), and Karuna was very aware and respectful of the vegans in the class (that's right, plural). In fact, she had planned on making one of the later dishes in a pot that she had just made dairy curd in, but when discovered it wasn't quite clean, switched to a different pot. She mentioned to me after the class that she is considering making future classes completely vegan!
So how was the food? Amazing!!! On my plate below, there is green split pea dahl with spinach and coconut milk, chapati, lemon rice, and curried cauliflower and potatoes. I went back for seconds along with everyone else. My favorite had to be the rice, with subtle hints of lemon, crunchy toasted cashews, and fresh shredded coconut. This meal definitely agreed with my constitution and I will be making each one of these dishes again at home.

35 comments:

Cody said...

I have a book on Aryuveda... somewhere. I found it rather interesting. Maybe I should actually look into it again, since my diet has changed since the last time I remember reading up on it.

Vegan Girl said...

mmm loving it!
What a great class!

Anke said...

I never knew much about ayurveda but what you write here does sound interesting. I'm glad for you she respected the vegans, that is soo nice. and the food- my o my... it's not 9am here, but these pictures make me hungry for lunch already :-)

Melody Polakow said...

that looks awesome!!

I wish I could have taken that class.

I know quite a bit about ayurveda as I grew up around it... I'm Pita Vata with a major vata imbalance..

(which you'd think would make me super skinny, but all it does is make me anxious and an insomniac!)

The one thing that is very irritating is how much they use milk and ghee.. but I should revisit it with a vegan mindset.

keeta said...

What a cool sounding class! And how nice that the instructor was respectful of vegans. I totally want to take some cooking classes - thanks for the push to look into it more seriously!

Wheeler said...

I've never heard of ayurveda, but it sounds really interesting. How do you find out your personal balance?

Jennifer said...

Thanks for that link, I'm going to check it out!

Ooooh, and you had multiple vegans in your class? I'm starting to think there are more vegans in Houston (of all places) than in Missouri. My grandparents and aunt live in Houston (well my aunt lives in McKinney), so next time I visit them, I'll have to hit you up for advice on vegan eateries.

That plate of food looks fantastic!

Billy said...

I definitely think there are more vegans in Houston than Missouri. :)

Houston's somewhat veg-friendly, which is awesome.

vegan addict said...

maybe you could come teach a cooking class here in portland with some of those recipes!?! my hummus wrap for lunch today is incomparable...sigh...

vegan addict said...

thank you for the advice on onions! i will try your approach...(easier said than done, hahaha). and, i noticed that you went vegan in august of 2006, which is the same exact time i went vegan! hooray! make those s'mores cupcakes...they are sooooooo good.

Ricki said...

We studied a bit about Ayurveda in natural nutrition--part of the reason why I began to experiment with Indian cuisine (love it). Everything looks delicious. And nice to see that you're taking cooking classes ;) !

Animal-Friendly said...

This class sounds like so much fun! It must be awesome to have the teacher acknowledge and respect the (several!) vegans in the class. Can you believe I've never actually eaten authentic Indian food? Man, seems like I'm missing out!

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

That sounds wonderful! I'd love to take a class like that!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Oh wow, that sounds terrific-- there's a place near me that gives vegetarian Indian cooking classes, but when I asked if they ever made vegan dishes, they didn't know what I meant. Oh well.

pleasantly plump vegan said...

wow! that sounds like a fun class! yr plate of food looks absolutely amazing. i could eat that at least once a week.

Theresa said...

Mm, I think my constitution could go for some of that food too!

peaceful vegan goddess said...

What a wonderful class! I'll have to try one of Karuna's classes next time around, especially if she makes them all vegan!

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

Looks like a wonderful experience - I love the photos - throwing greens, stiring, etc. I love when you share about your cooking classes!!!

LizzyQ ~ Vegan Mother said...

Texas just keeps getting cooler!

Veg-a-Nut said...

How awesome! I so wish I could find a fun class like that in my area. Did she give you recipes? Are you allowed to share. I think everything looks really good.

Jenny said...

What a neat class! You are always getting involved in such cool activities. And the food looked delicious!

Vegan Stiletto said...

i've never attended a cooking class but have always wanted to. your food looks delicious!

Mihl said...

An Indian cooking class? I would love to try that out too! Sounds like you had a lot of fun! I am looking forward to see the pictures of the dishes you're trying at home.

stonielove said...

they look absolutely beautiful! that's so awesome that classes like this are offered. i should check it out!

Billy said...

Thanks for the comment on my post about my eco-friendly wedding invitations.

I replied over there with a question.

julie hasson said...

Yum!! What a fun looking class. Thanks for sharing!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

This year I'm making carrot cake for Easter!!!!!! So excited!!!!!!

(You think I used enough exclaimation points to highlight my excitement?)

I'm also decorating sugar cookies again, because that's so much fun, and because fondant is my new true love-- do you think I should rename my blog "the fondant-covered vegan"? I don't know that I'd get very many visitors if I did :o/

aTxVegn said...

I love cooking classes like this! Where was it offered? I always feel so good after eating in line with my dosha.

jenna said...

Hi! I've been lurking around your blog for awhile now and wanted to say hi and I love all your food! I'm in a transition to veganism and you make it look easy...living in such a "meaty" place! haha! Well, just wanted to say hi and keep up the good work. I have a blog as well if you'd like to check it out! Its www.eatliverun.com

Have a great night!

ps- Aryuveda is simply amazing. I've been practicing yoga for years and have read many books on Aryuveda and actually have contemplated in the past going out and doing a complete and total aryuvedic cleanse for a couple days. Cooking for your dosha REALLY works! I'm a vata :)

Liz² said...

so cool! I want to try a cooking class but I don't know where to look... your posts about classes are certainly reminding me to look, though. I'm totally interested in ayurveda, too - it's pretty much the reason I avoid raw food (as delicious as it is). My rudimentary knowledge of ayurveda leads me to believe that as a vata-ish person too much raw would send me flying off the walls! okay, it's hard to give up fresh carrots... :D

SelahWrites said...

I'm so envious! I wish there were classes like that around here... I love Indian food!!!

Oh, and Penzey's on the Internet has WONDERFUL spices. I understand Asoefitida (spelling??) is helpful for digestion. Did your teacher talk about that?

jenna said...

Thank you for all your sweet comments on my blog!!! I can personally attest to the fact that the coconut cake is AMAZING! It was So easy to make too! And I can't keep my fingers out of this frosting..oh my!! Unfortunately at school nothing we use/make is vegan...i go to a very traditional french culinary school and I'm pretty sure I'm the only (almost) vegan there! Its hard sometimes but I loved my breads class where we made classic country breads without any animal products and, of course, I am learning the technique so I can veganize the recipes on my own! I think it would be amazing to open up a vegan bakery some day!!! Is your husband vegan? I find that the most challenging part because my serious boyfried (we are moving in together in the fall) is a hard-core omni (hates tofu!) and the rest of my family and friends are omnis as well. I stress out over family dinners and fitting in in the future! Last time I was at Ryan's house for dinner his mom tried to make a "vegan" side dish I could enjoy and was so surprised I wouldn't eat it because it had bacon grease in it (but no crumbled bacon on top!) I felt horrible and so did she...I hope it gets easier! ah!

Holler said...

It sounds like you had a lot of fun at your class and the results look yum! I enjoy hearing about what you are getting up to!

bazu said...

fascinating. I'd love to learn more about ayurveda.

vko said...

How fun and yummy! That's great she is considering a vegan ayurveda cooking class. I'm curious as to how ayurveda works with a vegan twist because dairy is a part of their balance in some of the body types, no?