During the summertime, I need to be very conscious of what I eat in order to keep my pitta in balance. Extreme dry heat of Arizona takes no time for my body to get dehydrated, and this is the time to revamp my eating pattern.
Getting to know Ayurveda and following it’s wisdom-rich principles has been one of the best things, happened in my life. Today, because of it, I know how to listen to my body and give it the optimum nutrition that it deserves according to the changing seasons and my body constitution.
I bring more of the bitter, astringent, and sweet taste in my cooking, during summertime as my body naturally craves for these tastes! Green dandelion smoothie with sweet juicy pear is my favorite go-to-drink which I have in the mornings and before lunch.
For lunch I love having, black chick peas (a.k.a. kala chana or black gram in India). I call this chana the “better half” of the regular chickpeas or garbanzo beans, as we call it here in US. As the popular saying goes…looks can be deceptive, don’t get fooled by this dull and average looking legumes, on the nutrition level, they easily outwit the popular garbanzo beans. In Ayurveda because of their outmaneuver attributes are regarded as agneya (metabolism booster).
Unlike the popular garbanzo beans these humble looking black chana do not block the channels in our bodies and are non-mucous forming per Ayurveda. The agneya quality and the high fiber moves the ama (toxins) accumulated deep in the tissues which aids in proper weight management.
Here are my own observations of eating this legume on a regular basis –
Benefits of eating Black Chana Vs Chickpeas
- Does not aggravate my pitta dosha (chickpeas does aggravate my pitta)
- More easily digestible than chickpeas
- Non-mucous forming (chickpeas is heavy to digest and highly mucous forming)
- High metabolic booster which aids in proper weight-management
- Calming and sattvic to mind (chickpeas tends to aggravate the mind)
- High fiber, protein, iron, and minerals makes this a complete satisfied meal to have
- Better choice than chickpeas to regulate thyroid
- Feel energetic and light after eating this black chana (chickpeas makes me always heavy and lethargic after eating)
I would encourage you, to give this chana a try instead of going for the regular chickpeas. You will notice the difference. But one word of caution, please make sure if you are cooking this black chana, you cook it thoroughly to the consistency of being little on the mushier side. One thing I have noticed is most of the people don’t cook legumes to the right consistency and end up with lot of bloating and gas issues.
And the best way to eat this, in my experience is with little bit of white rice. Yes, white rice, I know it’s gotten a lot of beating in recent times. But here is my theory, if one eats a high-fiber balanced diet regularly, eating little bit of white rice is in fact beneficial and is also regarded good in Ayurveda. The problem starts when we eat this white rice more than the portion of the vegetables and legumes on our plate. I tend to replace brown rice to white basmati rice during summer time as basmati rice is by nature cooling and aids in easy digestion when eaten with high fiber – high nutritous accompaniment.
This vedic curry is simple to make and amazing to taste. This stores well in an air-tight glass container for 3-5 days in the fridge.
Black Chana Vedic Curry (serves 1-2 people)
- 1 cup well cooked Black Chana (need to be soaked overnight)
- 1 cup assorted Veggies (cauliflower, carrot, squash, potatoes)
- 2-3 tbsp dry Coconut Flakes
- 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 tsp Ginger-Garlic paste
- 2 tsp Cumin powder
- 1 tsp Coriander powder
- 1 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp Black Pepper powder
- Salt to taste
- Water (as needed to make a curry consistency)
- Chopped cilantro and fresh squeeze of Lime juice
Heat a stock pot to a low-medium flame. Add the oil and sauté the ginger-garlic paste for about 20 seconds. Later add the chopped veggies and the rest of the ingredients mentioned above except for the last two ingredients. After couple of minutes add approx 1/2 – 1 cup of water and simmer it with a covered lid for about 15-20mins. This will allow all the veggies to be infused and cooked well with all the spices. Once the veggies are done add the cooked chana and simmer for another 10 mins (you may add more water at this point for it to simmer well in the stockpot). Turn off the heat and add the chopped cilantro and nice squeeze of lime juice. Now time to dig in…ENJOY!!
This just occurred to me, in India, this soaked black chana is considered very auspicious and is offered during puja ceremonies and festivals on a fresh betel leaf to all the ladies. Now I wonder, if black chana made it on the puja thali (plate) because of it’s sattvic nature in Ayurveda. Well, that makes me ponder…we can definitely have it on our plate for good health and optimal digestion!!