Jasmine and I met at her fabulous pop-up ‘East by West’ in Mayfair last year, so I’m super happy to finally have the book that came from it! I loved the concept of East by West and what Jasmine was doing, so asked her to write a quote for my book Saffron Soul earlier this year – if you have my book, you’ll find it on the front cover. Thank you again Jasmine! It’s brilliant!
Back to East by West and why it’s such a fabulous book! Jasmine starts the introduction with a quote ‘Without proper nutrition, medicine is of little use… With proper nutrition, medicine is of little need’ Charaka Samhita, an ancient classical text of Ayurveda. Such a simple, important and real message. ‘Ayur’, she explains in the introduction, means ‘life’ and is understood as four parts, the physical body, the mind, the soul and the senses. Everything is connected. Exercise, mental relaxation, meditation, what we eat and when we eat – these are all equally important.
At the Ayurvedic retreats I’ve been to in South India, the vaidya tells you exactly what dosha you are and everything else about you by just taking your pulse (read my most recent Ayurveda retreat diary on spa.kitchen here)! As Jasmine says, it’s the oldest healing system in the world. The one thing about Ayurveda is that you eat according to your dosha, so writing a cookbook founded on Ayurvedic principles that appeals to all is no easy feat! And Jasmine has done it, with the most beautiful and tasty recipes, lots of pointers and swaps and changes for each dish depending on your dosha type! Taking and sprinkling bits of the vast scripture of Ayurveda in our daily lives will make all the difference – so this brings it all together with ease and happy recipes. From the Ayurvedic pantry to explaining the meaning of sattvic, rajasic and tamasic foods, things that I studied at school in my Sanskrit classes, Jasmine expands upon all the basic principles of Ayurveda, of life and lifestyle itself.
And there’s a real mix of recipes from the more traditional kitchari and coriander lassi to more recognisable modern recipes like a winter chestnut, cream and sage soup. I also love that Jasmine has brought in other flavours like Salabat, a Filipino ginger tea and Harira invented by the Berbers (nomadic north Africans) – because the principles of Ayurveda can be applied to all cuisines and all food. The first recipe I tried from this book were banana and date cookie-dough bites, photographed here, sticky, delicious and perfect with a cup of masala chai!
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Mira Manek's desire for healthy cooking combines her love of traditional Indian cuisine with her mother and grandmother's recipes to create lighter, healthier dishes.