Maybe we should start from the beginning. “What does Tri-doshic even mean?” To answer that question, let’s begin with a quick introduction to Ayurveda. Ayurveda is a 5,000 year old system of natural healing that originates from India. It is a life science (“Ayur” means “life” and “veda” means science or knowledge) that is based on living in harmony with nature. According to Ayurvedic philosophy, universal life force (“prana”) manifests as three different energies or doshas, known as vata, pitta, and kapha. Each person is made up of a combination of these forces, though most people have one or two dominant doshas. Want to know your dosha? You can take the dosha quiz at Himalayan Institute’s website.
A tri-doshic meal means that it is a neutral meal; it is simple food that doesn’t aggravate or throw any of the doshas out of balance. At the end of the meal each dosha will feel happy, healthy and balanced.
Led by husband and wife team Mark and Vanice Medley, I attended an Ayurvedic cooking class this past week. I was assured that at the end of the 2-hour course I would be able to make the necessary staples: ghee, yogi tea and a tri-doshic kitchari. To my delight I was also informed that I would only need a few cooking pots and only a handful of ingredients! No fuss and no muss = my style of cooking.
We began by soaking white basmati rice and brown lentils for 20 minutes before cooking. Mark explained that the soaking process helps the body digest the food better. After rinsing the beans and rice thoroughly, Mark added both lentils and rice into one big pot with a few cups of water and brought it to a boil. Setting the timer for 20 minutes, he and Vanice strongly encouraged keeping the lid on (no taste testing?!) for the full 20 minutes.
While the rice and lentils were cooking, Vanice took over to show us the art of making ghee (clarified butter). I learned that ghee is a foundational point for building a meal around the principles of Ayurveda. While it is super easy to make, it is also super easy to burn– so keep your eyes on the butter! I hovered over the stove and watched as the butter came to a boil and the kitchen began smelling like popcorn! That combined with the smell of the simmering rice and lentils had my stomach growling and mouth salivating. But we weren’t done!
After the lentils and rice were finished cooking, fresh, torn kale from MA’O farms was thrown into the pot and let to steam. With the cover on, the residual heat steams the kale lightly, keeping the nutrients and flavors intact. I tried to practice patience as Mark moved on to making the best Yogi tea I have EVER had, which we sampled at the end of our meal. The yogi tea featured ginger, cinnamon, peppercorns and cloves, and was served with honey and homemade cashew milk. The yogi tea is also tri-doshic, and it was an amazing way to cap off the meal. The recipe for the Yogi tea can be found here.
When it was time to sit down and eat, Mark showed us the optional spices we could add to the lentil and rice kichari to support and balance our doshas. Options included yogurt for pita, fresh cilantro for vata and chili peppers for kapha. Interested in all of my options, I sectioned off little portions of my plate to add all three and couldn’t decipher a favorite. My taste buds agreed with each of them!
Before eating we blessed our food as a way of acknowledging the nourishing energy that was put into cooking it, as well as the nourishing energy that we would receive from consuming it. Conversation flowed and Ayurvedic questions were answered with ease and knowledge from both Mark and Vanice. I finished the meal with a decent amount of knowledge about Ayurveda and truly felt my comprehension expand in just the short two hours. If you are interested in Ayurveda, cooking classes or consultations, head over to Infinite Ocean Studios and take some time to browse Mark and Vanice’s website and services.
All images from Leslie Schipper, except spiced tea image from Shutterstock/PhotoSGH