The qualities of a vegetable are important to be aware of when cooking food. The reason? Because those are the qualities that we are bringing into our bodies.
In Ayurveda, the study of the 20 gunas, or qualities, is extremely important. When we have a good grasp of them, we are then able to treat certain issues using other gunas to balance them out.
This is one of the main reasons we view food as a form of medicine. If we’re able to see what qualities are manifesting in our bodies, and then see what qualities different foods have, we can use foods as our allies to balance out whatever is needing to be balanced.
With that being said, let’s take a closer look at root vegetables. Root vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and parsnips, are buried deep within the ground. They are quite literally surrounded by the earth. For this reason, root vegetables share similar qualities to those of the earth.
One of the most important concepts to remember for this time of year is the ability of the earth to be grounding and heavy. These are two qualities that are great for balancing any vata or wind-like energy that may be surrounding us.
High vata can increase the space and air elements within us, causing dryness both internally and externally, poor circulation, and can even increase our anxiety. Root vegetables are an easy and great way to bring the stability of earth to these things that might be getting increased.
Try this recipe for a super grounding and delicious meal!
- 2 pounds carrots, peeled and diced into small cubes
- 3 medium parsnips, peeled and diced into small cubes
- ½ sweet potato, peeled and diced into small cubes
- 4 teaspoons avocado oil (or a good cooking oil of your choice, like ghee)
- 1 ½ teaspoons brown mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- ¼ cup chopped red onion
- ¼ cup chopped tomatoes
- 1 ½ cups water
- 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
- ¼ teaspoon hing (asafoetida)
- 2 heaping teaspoons cumin powder
- 2 heaping teaspoons coriander powder
- 2 heaping teaspoons garam masala
- 1–2 teaspoons chili powder (depending how spicy you like your food, and if you have high pitta, omit this item)
- 1 can coconut milk
- Salt to taste
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Fresh cilantro for garnishing
In a large skillet, warm the oil and add the mustard and cumin seeds and hing. When the seeds begin to pop, add the ginger. Mix a little. Next, add the onion and tomato and mix thoroughly with the seeds and oil.
When the onions have started to become a little translucent, add the carrots, parsnips, and sweet potato. Again, mix well to incorporate all the juices into the veggies. Add ½ cup of the water and cover with the lid to allow the veggies to cook in their own steam.
After about 15 minutes you should be able to break the veggies with a wooden spoon, or at least almost do so. When it has reached this point, add the remaining spices (turmeric, cumin/coriander powder, garam masala, chili powder) and mix well. Add the coconut milk and thoroughly coat all the veggies with the coconut milk. Pour in the remaining ½ cup of water, and again close the lid for about 5 minutes bringing the veggies down to a simmer. Remove the lid to burn off any extra water. Your curried carrots and parsnips should be rather creamy in a pretty thick sauce.
Add salt to taste, and a squeeze of lemon juice; but not too much, as you don’t want the lemon or salt to overpower the beautiful tastes of the spices.
Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and serve your veggies with a warm chapatti, quinoa, or rice.
Enjoy this super yummy dish that will be sure to ground you!