Updated: Mar 26
A Vata Fall Recipe by Nandini Natasha Austin My Grandmother's Recipe
Fall is my favorite season, Trees and plants are silently shedding their leaves in preparation for winter and the earth is beginning to subtly turn inward. The intense heat and raging temperatures from a few weeks ago are but a distant memory. Now we are rising to cooler mornings, and witnessing the everchanging landscape of nature (Prana) all around us. Slowly we are beginning to experience a hint of crisp autumn weather.
Fall is also a transitional time so you may find yourself ramping up full speed ahead towards the end of the year, or adversely you may feel a like a leaf blowing around in the wind with no direction. That's because the Fall season is Vata. It has the predominance of the ‘air’ element and Vata's energy denotes movement.
Indeed all of Prana (nature) is forever moving and changing all around us, there is no constant here.
If you are feeling a bit spacey or unstable, one way to counter the light, dry and unpredictable nature of the fall is to maintain your inner equilibrium. We can do this in a number of ways.
Firstly feeding our bodies with warm foods that are cooked with good fats like coconut oil or organic ghee will help replenish the body. These oils are nourishing and soften the liver, creating relaxation, vigor, and stabilizing emotions, which are all highly important for Vata.
Secondly strengthening our minds with a daily routine will help us feel balanced and lastly, by investing in deep loving relationships we can feel stable and secure. Adopting one or more of these intentions are ways to help us feel more grounded.
So today, I’m sharing one of my Grandmother's (Nani's) recipes below, 'Chayote sautéed with curry leaves, This wholesome dish combats the cold and dryness that Vata brings in fall.
It is a warm, dish made with good fats, and is smooth on your digestion. It's also hydrating as Chayote squash (often called Choko and Chocho) has a high water content of 90%, so it offers up extra moisture to our diet.
"As a child, I often wondered if my Grandmother (Nani) was some kind of good witch or sorceress as I often watched her pluck stems of fresh curry leaves from her garden and toss them into her 'Karachi' a black cast iron cauldron-looking type pot. I marveled at the sizzle as the fresh curry leaves hit the smoking oil."
My Nani's cooking was so honest and simple and there were always spicy, fragrant smells wafting from her kitchen. In her day, there was no talk of organic food or clean eating. Her diet was 100% plant-based and she lived off the land. She was in tune with herself and her surroundings and lived an Ayurvedic life.
Medicinal Benefits of Ingredients
Chayotes are high in vitamin B12 and folate and are highly nutritious vegetables used in Asian, Indian, and Latin cooking. They are known for their good heart health and to lower cholesterol and are low in fat so can aid weight loss.
Curry leaves are one of my favorite spices which are derived from the Tamil word “Kari” meaning spicy. They appear in ancient Tamil scriptures dating back to the 4th century AD for their amazing benefits and culinary significance.
In Ayurvedic medicine, curry leaves have a positive effect on managing blood sugar and the treatment of diabetes . The paste from the dried grounded leaves also has anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties, which are potent against various infections and skin disorders. They can even treat diarrhea and gastrointestinal disorders.
"Curry leaves also play a vital role in weight loss. The leaves when eaten raw or consumed as juice, serves as a detox drink to cleanse the body from within, burn fat, reduce bad cholesterol and enhance digestion. "
So be sure to try my simple, feel-good fall recipe below that is made with love. It's sure to provide you with a warming to your belly on these long cooler nights.
Sautéed Chayote with Curry Leaves
4 chayote squash (about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 Tablespoon Ghee
5 -7 curry leaves
4 sprigs of Thyme
1 Tablespoon Fenugreek Seeds
½ table Spoon, asafoetida
4 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 heaping tablespoon)
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, and Salt to taste
Chopped Cilantro, and a splash of Olive oil to garnish
Gather the ingredients.
Chayote secretes a sticky sap that could irritate and dry out your skin so either wear gloves or soak and rinse your hands properly with soap after handling.
Slice the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Peel the skin off. Place the squash on a cutting board, cut-side down, and slice it thinly. Repeat with the remaining chayote squash.
Melt the coconut oil, ghee and. Add the garlic, then add all the spices and the thyme in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes until the aromas are released.
Add the sliced chayote squash to the skillet and continue to cook, tossing often, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve the chayote squash with a garnish of fresh herbs and a splash of olive oil.
Best served along with steamed basmati rice and I like a dollop of mango pickle.