One of my favourite meals growing up was my mum‘s chicken soup! I was never really a big meat-eater though, once a week was more than enough for me. But after coming to Ayurveda, something changed - It was like my mind wanted meat but my body was rejecting it! So I stopped eating it. But as I am nursing a cold in this unpredictable fall weather, I really felt like a big bowl of warm chicken soup and that’s exactly what I had Now I know what you are thinking : Non-veg in Ayurveda? Actually Ayurveda doesn’t forbid any food, it just tells us what it’s qualities are and the effect it has on the body and mind so that we can make informed decisions. It also teaches us how to cook & consume food to make it as easy to digest as possible! So I made this soup using ayurvedic principles and it was PERFECT! Packed with delicious flavours from the spices, herbs and veggies (no store-bought broths, overpowering ingredients like onions, garlic, soy sauce or processed items).
Nourishing, soul-warming and comforting!! But at the end of the day, meat is tamasic i.e. causes dullness & lethargy. It is also heavy & difficult to digest and increases body-heat. So it is definitely not something I’ll be consuming often. (Read more about Sattva, Rajas & Tamas here). But if meat is a regular part of your diet, it is best to eat it in moderation and as part of the balanced bowl (max. 20% of your plate). Have it during lunch when the digestive fire is strongest.
P.S. Use white butter beans soaked in plenty of water overnight or for 6-8 hours instead of chicken to make a sattvic veggie pho
Prep-time: 10 min
Cook-time: 60 min
1 medium chicken breast or 1/2 cup white beans soaked in plenty of water overnight
2 tsp ghee or olive oil
1 medium parsley root
2 handfuls chopped savoy cabbage
1/2 tsp whole coriander seeds
1/4 tsp chopped fresh ginger
1 medium Bay leaf
1 big Star anise
4 whole black peppercorns
Pinch of turmeric
1/8 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp brown sugar
Three 1-inch pieces of kombu
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried oregano
Fresh basil & coriander
Few drops of lime
1. Warm some ghee (or olive oil) in a pot and add the whole spices.
2. Once the spices change colour, add the powdered spices and wait till the aroma comes up.
3. Then pour boiling water into the pot and add the chicken breast/beans along with kombu, salt and sugar. Simmer for 45min.
4. Then add chopped parsley root, oregano, basil and coriander.
5. After 10min add savoy cabbage and cook for 5-7 min or until the veggies are cooked.
6. Cut the cooked chicken breast into pieces or shred it.
7. Serve warm with rice and a few drops if lime.
Use more cooling spices like fennel and fresh mint leaves in warmer weather or when Pitta is high