Setting up an Ayurvedic kitchen doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. In fact, you can clear clutter by giving away complicated gadgets to make room for the simple tools that cooks have used for centuries to lovingly prepare meals.
We’ve compiled a list of the essentials that every Ayurvedic kitchen should have. Once you have these items, all you need to bring a sattvic diet into your life are fresh vegetables and a little love.
What you cook with matters. Choose stainless steel, cast iron or stoneware cooking materials so you don’t serve toxic chemicals from non-stick or aluminum materials with your freshly prepared Ayurvedic food. Plus, cookware made from quality materials last longer than those made of cheaper materials.
- 1-2 stainless steel pots with lids: A two and or four-quart pot will work for most needs.
- 1 stainless steel or cast iron sauté or frying pan with a lid
- 1 stainless steel pressure cooker: Choose the size that makes the most sense for you. If you are cooking for a family of four, an eight-quart pressure cooker should be sufficient. Confused about how pressure cookers work? Here’s a quick guide to buying and using a pressure cooker.
- A good chef’s knife and a paring knife: Knives are tools to invest in, but you don’t need to buy a whole knife block. All it takes are two good knifes (keep them sharp by storing them away from other utensils or protected by a blade cover). Go to a store where you can pick up the knives before you buy. It should feel comfortable in your hands – not too heavy and not too light.
- Rice cooker: This tool makes cooking grain simple – just measure and cook. No need to set a timer or worry about heat settings. A three-cup cooker will make enough for 2 to 4 servings. Be sure it is labeled as having a stainless steel bowl (many of them have stainless steel exteriors, but coat the cooking bowl with chemical nonstick coatings). Look for one with a steamer insert – a handy tool to prepare vegetables and grain at the same time.
- Stainless steel strainer: Choose one of a medium size with a fine mesh.
- 1-2 mixing bowls made of glass or stainless steel: These are often sold in sets of different sizes.
- 12 large Mason jars: Toss the plastic storage containers and use these affordable jars to store your staples and homemade ghee. On the lid, write what is inside and when you purchased it (use a grease pencil or a piece of tape) since many grains look similar.
- Cooking utensils: You’ll need a wooden or stainless steel spatula, vegetable peeler, 1-2 serving spoons and a large wooden or stainless spoon for stirring veggies.
- Wooden cutting board
- Small rolling pin: Making chapati is easy with a small rolling pin. You can also use a glass bottle in a pinch.
Keeping a variety of grains and legumes on hand makes meal planning simple and grocery shopping less expensive.
True health comes from eating organically grown products from trusted resources. Pesticides and genetically modified ingredients introduce toxins into our bodies, disturbing healthy digestion and leading to problems.
- Split and whole mung: Mung beans are one of the most nutritive and easily digested legumes. Split mung cooks quickly and is very easily digested. It’s great to have on hand for kitchadi.
- White and brown basmati rice: White rice is more cooling and has a lighter quality than brown. Have both in your pantry and listen to your body to find out what it needs at the time.
- Barley: A great choice for breakfast porridge or in place of rice. Try mixing this nutty grain with pesto as a delicious part of your meal.
- Adzuki beans: These cook quickly in a pressure cooker if they have been soaked for 6 to 8 hours.
- Chickpeas: Serve whole or make into hummus.
- Whole-wheat flour or the flour of your choice: It’s worth searching for a good source for freshly ground organic flour. The prana breaks down quickly after grinding, so buy it in small amounts and store away from the light or in the refrigerator.
- Basic Ayurvedic spices: Spices not only make food taste delicious, they also support digestive health. Our Spices of Life package contains eight essential Ayurvedic spices that you can combine to enjoy a different taste every day of the week. Be sure to store away from direct sunlight for maximum prana and taste.
- Mineral salt: Our bodies need salt to process nutrients and support proper brain functioning, but not all salt is equal. Table salt is a highly processed food that contains chemicals that inhibit our ability to absorb the benefits we need from salt. It also increases kapha dosha imbalances, such as water retention and heart disease. Rock or mineral salt (we like Himalayan pink salt) contains the right balance of earth-based minerals that allow our bodies get more out of our food. Keep in mind that when salt is cooked with the other spices it enhances the taste and provides digestive support. Adding salt to cooked food makes it too strong for your body.
Meal planning: Cooking should be simple and enjoyable. Having a framework to approach meal planning will make the task easier and take the guesswork out of grocery shopping. Here’s a simple guide on how to compose a simple Ayurvedic meal. Once you learn the basic concept to bring balance, you will be inspired to swap out different legumes, grains, vegetables and spices to create new, delicious meals.
How to make ghee: Ghee is a tridoshic oil that infuses everything you cook with the qualities of sattva. It’s very easy, and much less expensive, to make your own. We like to make several batches at a time and store them in a dark cupboard so we always have some on hand. If you are experiencing strong kapha dosha imbalance, use in moderate to light amounts.
Simple Ayurvedic Recipes: Myra Lewin’s Ayurvedic cookbook is filled with ideas to get you started on your journey to health. Having this cookbook on hand can act as a source of inspiration as you grow more comfortable with cooking without a recipe.
Learn how to bring the power of health into your own two hands by becoming a certified Ayurvedic chef.