It’s very tasty, and something that I now enjoy each night before bed. In ayurveda, this golden milk is helpful for calming vata and clearing mucus from kapha. Milk increases our ojas, or immunity, and we want all the ojas we can get! It keeps away coughs and sniffles during the winter months and between seasonal shifts. We enjoyed the cherry blossom festival last weekend on Okinawa, so spring has already sprung and it’s not even yet February (try telling that to the trapped motorists on snowy Atlanta roads last night or anyone who survived the 2014 “polar vortex”). Continue reading
We spent New Year’s Eve in Kyoto this year with my sister-in-law and her beau. It was beautiful and busy, but most restaurants were not open. It seems to me that Japanese people take their holidays very seriously. I mean, where are people going to eat? Options limited for dining and drinking, we made the best of the situation and bought kimonos to stroll around the streets of Gion, greeting passersby with “Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu!” During our stay, we ended up eating at an okonomiyaki place twice… in one day. Yes, it was that delicious, but our hand was a little forced by the occasion.
Kyoto is in a region of Japan that is well known for its okonomiyaki. The name for this savory, grilled “pancake” translates as okonomi, for “whatever you want,” and yaki, for “grilled.” I particularly like how easy this is to throw together. I think it’s a great, last-minute meal for cleaning out the refrigerator, which is appealing to my frugal senses. I purchased a gigantic head of cabbage for fewer than two bucks and had to make plans for using it up. After Mexican and Vietnamese inspired coleslaws, I still had a lot leftover. Okonomiyaki is the perfect vehicle for hiding lots of veggies into a quick and delicious dinner. Continue reading
Did you make any resolutions this year? If so, tell me about them. If not, I suggest that you add warm lemon water to your morning routine, known as dinacharya in ayurveda. It’s uncomplicated and effective, valuable attributes in resolutions if I do say so myself. Continue reading
Ginger is my go-to herb of choice. I prefer ginger to analgesics, and have been known to carry raw ginger in my purse. It’s a great anti-inflammatory, immunity booster, and is wonderful for digestion. Helpful for breaking up colds, coughs, and phlegm, you’ll want to keep ginger around all winter. Continue reading
Autumn is approaching. I know this because my Facebook news feed is full of comments about a certain company’s Pumpkin Spice Latte. Not because there’s been a weather change or anything silly like that. It’s Okinawa. It’s still hot here. Thank goodness my news feed keeps me informed.
Seriously though, let’s make a healthier version of this fall treat for you pumpkin lovers. You can say no thanks to the artificial pumpkin-flavored syrup, and hello to real food. Since I’ve yet to see a real-deal pumpkin in the local Japanese markets, guess what we’ll be using? Kabocha, of course! Continue reading
Body scrubs are ridiculously cheap and easy to make. You can use all sorts of things to make a body scrub: beans, grains, salt, sugar, herbs, flowers, or spices. A body scrub should be edible. If you can’t put it in your mouth, you probably shouldn’t put it on your skin. Continue reading
Gobo (ゴボウ) is the Japanese name for burdock. It’s a root vegetable that has a very pleasant and earthy taste. Kinpira (きんぴら) is a Japanese cooking style that employs two cooking methods in one pot: sauté and simmer. Hurray, for one less dish to wash!
I had been taking burdock medicinally for a while before we moved to Okinawa to treat inflammation and eczema. Burdock supports the liver, acts as a mild diuretic, and is well-known as a blood purifier. It’s particularly good for treating the pitta dosha. When we arrived on island I saw lots of fresh burdock; I was excited to try cooking with it. I chopped it up and threw it into a soup. It was ok, nothing great though. I tried it a few more times because it was local, and good for me. I just wanted to like it better. Continue reading
I’m on a pickling spree this week! I love pickled ginger, or gari as it’s called in Japanese, and usually ask for extra of it when we go out for sushi. I’ve almost purchased it several times back in the states, but every time, the ingredient list stops me: red dye #40 and aspartame! Why is that in my pickled ginger!?! For me, those ingredients ruin something that should be a wonderfully healthy condiment. I don’t care if my ginger is pink or yellow… I just want a yummy (aspartame-free) ginger pickle, and I don’t think that’s asking for too much. Continue reading
Furry cakey? What the heck is furikake?! It’s delicious Japanese seasoning mix! Furikake can be added to onigiri (rice balls), or sprinkled over rice and vegetables to jazz things up. Generally, it’s got some seaweed, fish, and sesame seeds. Then there are other flavorings like umeboshi, clam, shiso, bonito, egg, miso, or vegetables.
Some of the furikake packages contain MSG and other ingredients I’d rather skip. My favorite kind is the umeboshi, or pickled plum. As with most things, the fresher the ingredient, the better the taste. Feel free to add whatever you like into your furikake mix. So, on to the makings of DIY furikake! Continue reading
Kitchari is like the Ayurvedic version of chicken noodle soup. It’s great for cleansing, resting the digestive system, and for when you’re feeling under the weather. Also, it’s a nourishing and comforting food. I especially like kitchari when I notice that my digestion is off from eating too many meals away from home.
The basics of kitchari are basmati rice, mung dhal, and plenty of water. This can be cooked into a watery soup or a thick porridge. The mung (or moong) dhal are split and de-hulled mung beans. Instead of the whole green mung bean, look for the split yellow type. They cook faster and are easier to digest. Mung beans are balancing for all the doshas. White basmati is also easier to digest than brown basmati. Continue reading