How to use Ayurvedic spices
The key to using spices is to add just enough to support the taste of the food itself. Our recipe below uses just a bit of black pepper and fennel. It’s enough so that you can taste it, but not too much that it overwhelms the palate or increases pitta. That “just right” amount of spices tastes harmonious, with nothing standing out too prominently.
If you are new to cooking with digestive spices, use with them in small amounts to learn how they can work together and to see how your body responds. If your pitta is high, substitute a little cumin instead. If you’re feeling the ungrounding effects of vata, try a bit of mustard seed (it’s good for kapha too). Even if you’re well “seasoned” in using spices, work with just 2 to 3 spices per dish -- a simple approach is better for digestion.
Before you start cooking, take a moment to connect with the spices you want to use for each part of your dish. Close your eyes and inhale the aromas. Ask your intellect to take a rest and tune in to your creative energies.
Recipe for spiced millet
1 cup hulled millet (optional: soak for 2 to 4 hours for easier digestibility)
2 Tbsp. ghee
⅛ tsp. mineral salt
⅛ tsp. ground black pepper
¼ tsp. fennel seeds, freshly ground or whole
2 cups water
Awaken the prana of the spices by heating the ghee in a saucepan and simmering the spices for 1 to 2 minutes until the aroma comes up to meet you. Otherwise, you can combine everything into a rice cooker. If you are using a pot, cover and bring to a boil first, then lower the heat and simmer until the liquid is absorbed (about 30 to 45 minutes). Stir well after it has cooked, replace the cover and let it sit for five minutes before serving.