Before I dare to share this recipe for spicy Vitamin Soup, I want to introduce you to the concepts of ayurveda and the health benefits of some Southeast Asian spices.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda — the traditional medicine of India — originated there more than 5,000 years ago. Ayurveda emphasizes both a re-establishing of balance in the body through diet, lifestyle, exercise and body cleansing, and the health of the mind, body and spirit.
In the recipe that follows, I use a wide variety of spices with ayurvedic properties. Some of those spices, and others, include:
This colorful spice is a powerful healer with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It has been used to treat everyday problems such as indigestion and flatulence, as well as more serious problems. My grandma used to apply turmeric powder on cuts and bruises to reduce inflammation and relieve wounds.
Red Chili Powder
Known for medicinal health-benefiting properties, it is antioxidant-rich and has vitamins, minerals and flavonoids.
The seeds are high in essential oils as well as plant sterols. Mustard seeds are an excellent source of essential B-complex vitamins, which are essential in the sense that the body requires them and they must be replenished from external sources. B-complex groups of vitamins help in enzyme synthesis, nervous system function and regulating body metabolism.
Excellent for digestion, rich in iron, and can control blood pressure.
Contain carbohydrates, energy, fiber, calcium, phosphorous, iron, magnesium, copper, and vitamins and minerals — and nearly zero fat (0.1 gram per 100 gram).
Commonly known as dhania in the Indian subcontinent and cilantro in the Americas and some parts of Europe, this is an herb that is extensively used around the world as a condiment or garnish. It's also used in ayurveda to treat a variety of ailments including swelling, diarrhea, mouth ulcers, anemia and skin and blood sugar disorders.
Tamarind fruit contains certain health-benefiting chemical compounds, minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber. Tamarind is rich in tartaric acid, which gives a sour taste to food but is also a very powerful antioxidant.
Recipe by Padmaja Vasireddy
2 cups diced beetroots
2 cups diced carrots
2 cups diced tomatoes
3 Thai green chilies (optional)
10 cups water
2 Tbsp. tamarind pulp (you can substitute cranberries or lemon juice)
Salt to taste
1 tsp. red chili powder (optional)
1 tsp. coriander powder
1 tsp. cumin powder
2 tsp. oil (or 2 tsp. ghee)
2 Tbsp. minced coriander leaves (optional)
1 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. asafoetida
1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 dry red chilies
4 garlic cloves, mashed
4 sprigs curry leaves
- Puree beetroot, carrot, tomato and green chilies (and cranberries, if using as substitute for tamarind) in a blender.
- Heat 2 tsp. of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add seasonings and let them splutter.
- Add the blended vegetable puree to the seasoning with water. Add chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and tamarind pulp.
- Stir and let boil for 10 to 15 minutes and add coriander leaves (optional).
- Enjoy as a soup or with quinoa or brown rice.