Ayurvedic Kitchen: Everyday Basics
With fire, agni, so central to Ayurvedic principles, it may indeed be that the true heart of Ayurveda is the hearth. When set up properly, your kitchen can be the source of great healing medicine. Here are 4 everyday basics to strengthen your kitchen’s ayurvedic power. Create an Ayurvedic Kitchen.
Starting with the most basic thing, where you cook, Ayurveda suggests the kitchen be in the Southeast corner of the house, with plenty of natural light and a pretty view so you are happy as you prepare your meals. If you are like most of us, living in a house that has already been built, but the kitchen is not in the southeast corner, try painting it red or orange to invoke fire power.
De-clutter it so you have space to create, visit with friends, dance and sing, and be sure to make it pretty. A beautiful kitchen supports beautiful food. Beautiful food makes a beautiful you. A beautiful you creates a beautiful life, and a beautiful life is a gift to the world. Paraphrasing Rumi, let the beauty you love be what you do and let it be alive in your kitchen.
Ayurvedic Kithcen Supplies-
In addition to the regular pots and pans, I use the Vitamix blender every day, but almost never use the food processor. It is too much fuss.
A lemon juicer helps, but as with most tools, I find the old-fashioned, hand-held version simpler, more reliable and easier to clean than anything with a plug.
Keeping a mortar and pestle around for pesto, sauces and spice mixtures offers muscular reward.
A coffee grinder will do the trick with the spices, but it will never give you that rhythmic sensation of moving in spicy syncopated oneness that rewards the work of grinding by hand.
I like to always have cheesecloth available for making ghee and empty paper tea bags to fill with spices that I want to share.
I only use measuring cups to determine amounts so that I can write up recipes, which is the only way I know how to respond to friends and clients who’ve asked, “How did you make that?” Otherwise, I have no use for measuring.
Ayurvedic Kitchen Utensils-
Long ago, Swamini Mayatitananda recommended using hands, fingers, sight, sound and taste to determine amounts and I guess I just breathed a great sigh of relief upon hearing that. It may even have been the start of my own separate peace with the kitchen: the reclaiming of my own experience, of my own feminine wisdom, put to the service of love, nourishment, and the creative cycle of life.
So, I recommend using fewer measuring utensils, in the hope that you will find a similar freedom, trust, creative expression, authenticity and empowerment by your own perfect measure and innate wisdom.
Ayurvedic Kitchen Support-
We keep oils aplenty on hand – safflower, coconut, olive and sesame.
Our spice cabinet has grown from three small shelves by the stove to include an additional long shelf in the pantry as well. In general, the spices you want to keep on hand for the recipes you will find here are: turmeric, cumin, coriander, clove, cinnamom, cardamom, nutmeg, fennel, mustard seeds, cayenne or red pepper, black pepper, sea salt, Himalayan salt and asafoetida, otherwise known as hing. I also like to have dill weed, basil, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, tarragon, anise, and fresh mint, rosemary and cilantro, too, as these are easy to grow at home.
You can purchase spice mixtures like Garam Masala, Curry, Quatre épices to get a number of these spices in one bottle, but it is never as good as it is freshly ground from the seed. Also, buy organic spices only ~ otherwise, they might be irradiated.