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Soul food, the sattvik way

Sattvik cooking is about making food which promotes the highest qualities love, purity and goodness.

india Updated: Sep 25, 2006 14:28 IST

Sattvik cooking is about making pure vegetarian food. The yogic texts say such food promotes the highest quality of sattva or love, purity and goodness in an individual. So the yogis are particular about what they eat. They stress the virtues of food like fruit, organic vegetables, wheat, pulses and nuts over eggs and meat. They recommend mild spices like cumin and turmeric over pungent ones like red pepper and chilli. They would certainly prefer juices to cola and coffee.

Want an illustration in real terms? Start with ginger-carrot juice. Three scrubbed carrots, a stick of ginger, half a cup of water, a bit of lemon juice, all blended together and strained.

Follow this with khichri: Basmati rice and split moong dal, cooked together in water with some chopped ginger, cumin seeds and curry leaves to enhance the flavour. Nuts and ghee are good too, but not very sattvik when you fry the nuts in lots of ghee or treat it as the main dish! A tasty accompaniment is tomato and mint raita: three tomatoes blanched and sautéed in oil with a little turmeric and salt for the chutney. Let it cool, add chopped mint and chilled curd. Oh, one more thing — desist from sticking your fingers in while cooking, for isn't sattva about uncontaminated food?

Dessert: slice a banana, add a few raisins, some lime juice and a spoon of honey. Chill it, raid after an hour, eat some and a little more, and pinch yourself for sinning. Sattvik principles are against overeating, but this food digests easily and a tad more doesn't make awkward noises. You will feel light and won't need wake up calls soon after lunch.

By eating such food, lots of meditation, and yogic practice, your mind, the Bhagavad Gita says, will evolve and be "peaceful like a clear pool of pure water — wisdom will shine through every gate of the body."

The practice and meditation part may be tough but a sattvik meal is an enjoyable way to start the process of self-realisation.