I love to grind my own spices. There is something deeply therapeutic about grinding the seeds, releasing the oils and falling into the pungency of scent.
Tonight I decided to make my own curry combination of spices: a Vata balancing curry mix to balance the windy, dry weather of fall, and the heightened Vata within my own system. To balance Vata, we need the tastes of sweet, salty and sour tastes thus the choices of spices below…First, fennel…
Unfortunately no wedding pictures, and no pictures of pounding the cardamom pods, and fenugreek seeds, but to the mix was added some dried ginger, a tad of cinnamon, the pulverized cardamom pods, pounded fenugreek…and some cumin, turmeric.
Finally to finish it off, kala namak or black Himalayan salt crystals that are pink in the picture, and black peppercorns. Usually I pound everything seperately: 1. so I can appreciate the fullness of each spice in its natural and aromatic state, and 2. so that I can add more or less of one depending on the taste. But children were calling and the sun was setting.
For a recipe to follow that will give you specific measurements, try this link: http://www.indiacurry.com/ayurveda/vatabalancingchuran.htm I was out of amchoor powder, or dried mango powder so I used juice of a lemon and lemon rind to give the sour and aromatic tastes.
Next the soup.
It was a cold, dark, fall day…a day that required soup. I had had a migraine for half the day, after care and attention (and no light), the pain was down to a dull roar and I could move and play around with the kids. But I needed something to soothe my soul. Butternut squash! In the fall, I always have a roasted one in my fridge. Tonight was no different, and tonight was going to be a good one.
Usually to bring out the flavor in spices, it is best to sautee the aromatics like onion and garlic in a little oil, then stir the spices in at medium heat. Because I pound the spices and they are fresh, I don’t use fat and save my blood vessels a little work per my doctor’s orders.
So basically, I throw the aromatics in the stock with the lentils and stems/vegetable and simmer on low med heat for 30 minutes. I add the spices after 10 minutes of cooking and turn the heat down to low. The lemon juice I put in toward the end. A loaf of crusty bread goes in the oven about the same time as the spices, and fix a bowl of olive oil with finely chopped garlic…garnishes of avocado…
But if you really want to enjoy your soup…do this, I turned the stove down even lower, put the bread in the oven, then went outside and put my bare feet in the earth. It was perfect timing…the moon was rising…the sky turning to the pink purple grays that only a mid November fall day can do. Magic.
And that magic followed me inside to the smells of soup, of crusty bread wafting through the air.
It was delicious! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!