It’s Spring, Time to Lighten Up!

It’s greening up outside and flowers are starting to blossom.   In Ayurvedic medicine, spring is the time to lighten up.  Diet, daily routine and exercise can help us enliven and blossom forth, shedding the heaviness accumulated during the winter. 

Spring is all about the elements water and earth, i.e., Kapha dosha.  Lighter, drier foods, getting up a bit earlier and livelier exercise all help to balance Kapha.  Tastes that balance Kapha are pungent, bitter and astringent—these tastes feature prominently in spicier dishes, dark leafy green vegetables and beans.

Time also to eat less and include more vegetables on our plates.  Dinners should be lighter and soup is a great idea.  Posole is yummy, satisfying and full of things that balance Kapha dosha—corn, beans, spices and, in my version below, kale.

Spring Posole

Adapted from “Moosewood Vegetarian Pozole” and “Posole in Broth” from 101 Cookbooks, http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/posole-in-broth-recipe.html

1 tsp olive oil  (Vata can use more oil if desired)

1 chopped onion or two chopped leek bottoms

2 garlic cloves or 1-2 green garlic bulb/stems (for Pitta consider adding less garlic)

1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped into cubes (Kapha can consider leaving this out)

1 cup dried pozole (hominy corn), soaked overnight

1 cup cooked mung beans

6 cups of low-sodium broth (Pitta and Kapha can use vegetable broth)(Vata can use chicken broth if  desired)

1 Tblsp. Chipotle paste (Kapha can use Chipotle paste to taste)(Pitta can consider less Chipotle paste or  use ¾ to 1 tsp smoked Paprika instead) (Vata can use 1 to 2 tsps of Chipotle paste or 1 tsp of smoked paprika)

A generous handful of any combination of chopped fresh epazote, cilantro, parsley, oregano and/or sage

2 tsp of freshly squeezed lime juice

1 bunch of kale, cut away from stems and chopped into small pieces.

½ tsp salt if desired, after tasting (Vata can consider adding more)

If you have a pressure cooker, drain posole in a colander and put into pressure cooker.  Add 6 cups of water, cover with pressure cooker top, and put onto stove to cook at high until pressure develops.  Once pressure develops, turn heat down to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit until pressure cooker unlocks.

If you don’t have a pressure cooker, put drained posole into a soup pot and add 5 cups of water.  Bring pot to a boil, covered, and then turn down heat so posole simmers.  Cook for about an hour, pozole is done when it is tender and you can bite one of the kernels through (Vata needs it to be really tender and Kapha, if suffering from low digestive fire, also needs it to be good and tender).

Drain cooked posole into a colander.

In a soup pot, add oil and sauté chopped onions or leeks until they are translucent.  Add garlic and sauté another minute.  Add posole, mung beans, butternut squash if using, and, finally, broth.  Stir well.

Bring mixture to a boil and then turn down heat.  Simmer for about 15 to 20 minute until squash is tender.

Add chopped up kale and simmer until greens are softened and the consistency you like (some people like their greens on the chewy side, so cook yours until they are the way you like them).

Add chipotle paste, fresh herbs, and lime juice.  Stir well and simmer another few minutes.    Taste broth and adjust chipotle paste and saltiness depending on your constitution and taste.

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