Cooking at Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram

By Lynn (Gurupremananda) Cattafi Heinlein

You can cook Ashram meals yourself!  In 2020, we will be bringing you recipes and menu suggestions based on what we prepare for Ashram residents. All are reviewed and approved by Gurudevi Nirmalananda. Of course, all are vegetarian, meaning no meat, poultry or seafood and no eggs. To meet Ayurvedic nutrition principles, every meal must provide each of the six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent (aka spicy) and astringent.  Dairy products are included.  As a whole, each meal must also provide 20 grams of protein per person. 

Each Ashram resident is part of a cooking duo who cook one lunch or breakfast weekly.  Every Monday, I cook lunch with Swami Sahajananda (formerly known as Kusuma). I really enjoy cooking with her because I learn a lot.

Easiest Coconut Curry Tofu is one of my favorite recipes to make.  Everyone loves the flavors.  The creaminess of the coconut and the mild heat of Indian spices feel indulgent.  At the same time, the healthy veggies let you feel very virtuous!  Plus, it is so easy, you can make it in minutes.  We often serve it with an additional side vegetable such as steamed kale or broccoli.

photo: shelikesfood.com

Ingredients for this recipe give the six tastes: rice and coconut milk for sweet; tomatoes for sour; roasted- salted cashews and soy sauce for salty; chili paste and onions for pungent; tofu and basil for astringent; baby bok choy for bitter.  The recipe below is family sized, for 4.  To feed Ashram residents and guests, we triple it (or more as needed).  Each serving provides 16.5 grams of protein.  How do we get the other 3.5 grams of protein?  The side dishes have protein as well, and then there’s the option of my famous chocolate pudding!  For now, however, let’s stick with the main dish.

Ingredients (to serve 4)

2 bunches green onions

2 (14 ounce) cans coconut milk (use one, and then add more as needed)

1/4 cup soy sauce, divided

1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon of turmeric powder

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

2 teaspoons chili paste (or to taste if you like more, or less, heat)

1 pound of extra firm tofu, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

4 Roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 cup matchstick carrots

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

4 cups chopped baby bok choy

1 cup frozen peas

salt to taste

Roasted salted cashews for garnish

Directions

Start the rice:

We suggest basmati ginger rice: 1 cup basmati to 2 cups of water, with salt, ghee and grated ginger to taste.  (Of course, plain rice, of any variety works well, too.)

Rinse the raw rice to remove excess starch.

In a separate pot, add 1 cup washed rice, 2 cups of water, a little ghee (clarified butter), salt and grated ginger. Bring all to a boil.  Then simmer covered on low heat until water is absorbed.

Remove from the heat. Add a little more water if needed, and leave the pot covered until serving.

Prepare the curry:

Separate each onion’s white bulb from its green top. Finely chop the white onion bulbs.  Slice green tops into two-inch pieces.

In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, mix 1 can of coconut milk, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, brown sugar, curry powder, ginger and chili paste. Bring to a boil.

Stir tomatoes, yellow pepper, carrots, and finely chopped bulbs of the green onions into the skillet. Cover, and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Mix in tofu, basil and baby bok choy and finely chopped onion bulbs plus the sliced green tops.  Add more coconut milk and seasoning as needed.

Continue cooking 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender yet still crisp. Add the frozen peas, and continue to simmer them until they’re cooked.

Serve:

Serve the curry over the cooked rice. Garnish with roasted salted cashews.

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