Warming Winter Recipe: Curried Coconut Root Vegetables
Do the cold, dark days of winter have you craving foods that are warm, hearty, and comforting? Look no further! These nourishing curried root vegetables may be just the thing to satisfy your tastebuds, fill your belly, and saturate your soul in warmth.
Blending an array of winter vegetables with the indulgent creaminess of coconut milk and an abundance of flavorful spices, this grounding recipe offers warmth and comfort from the inside out. It’s hearty and satisfying enough to be a meal of its own, but not so heavy or rich that it will bog you down for days.
A huge part of Ayurvedic cooking is simply being aware of the qualities of the different foods, vegetables, and spices that we are incorporating into our meals. The reason? Because those are the same qualities that we are bringing into our bodies.
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 our foods as allies to find greater internal balance from day to day and season to season.
Throughout the fall and winter months, which can bring the qualities of cold, dry, and windy, it is common for vata dosha to increase, exaggerating these same qualities within our bodies and minds. This can lead to dryness both internally and externally, poor circulation, and may even increase feelings of worry and anxiousness.
The great news is that we can use our meals to find balance, including this one!
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—heavy, grounding, dense, and stable. For someone with a vata imbalance, these qualities are necessary for bringing balance and finding a sense of inner steadiness and calm.
Similarly, the many delicious spices in this recipe offer more than just flavor. They bring with them the qualities of warmth and stimulation, which are of vital importance in the cold winter months. Since vata tends to run cold, the spices in this recipe are a perfect way to restore heat to the body, increase circulation, and keep the digestive fire burning strong and bright.
Last but not least, the addition of coconut milk acts to meld together the many delicious flavors of this dish, while bringing a creamy, nourishing quality that is grounding and balancing for vata.
If you are pitta or kapha dosha, don’t worry, you can enjoy this meal as well! For kapha, just use a little bit less coconut milk, and for pitta, take it easy on the spices.
- 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 ghee or cooking oil of your choice
- 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 seeds, cumin seeds, and hing. When the seeds begin to pop, add the ginger. Next, add the onion and tomato and mix thoroughly with the seeds and oil.
When the onions have started to become translucent, add the carrots, parsnips, and sweet potato. Again, mix well to incorporate all the juices into the veggies. Add ½ cup of water and cover with the lid to allow the veggies to steam.
After about 15 minutes you should be able to break the veggies with a wooden spoon. At this point, add the remaining spices (turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala, chili powder) and mix well. Add the coconut milk and thoroughly coat all the veggies.
Pour in the remaining ½ cup of water and close the lid again 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, nourish, and delight you!