To eat The Ayurvedic Way is to choose seasonal and fresh foods. Many people believe you have to be vegetarian to follow an Ayurvedic way of life, but I was taught to meet (excuse the pun!) people where they are. A person who is used to eating meat every day is unlikely to want to eat dal all the time and I believe it’s more important for Ayurveda to fit into our lives in order to make small and more importantly, long-term changes. We want to make it as easy as possible to incorporate an Ayurvedic diet – we’re already busy people, so why make life more difficult?
I’ve recently been converted to Riverford Organic’s recipe boxes – I avoided them in the past, believing them to be a bit too expensive, but actually they’ve helped me keep my food budget under control, because I’m not calling into shops getting those little extra bits I keep forgetting! That, and the fact they cover all the tastes and are very easy to prepare (they mainly take around 30 mins), made them very attractive to me.
Below, I’ve shared one of their recipes with their kind permission. It can be adapted to vegetarian and/or vegan by leaving the chicken out. A lovely hearty and warming meal, perfect for these cold winter days.
Chicken and Mushroom Barley Bowl
125g pearl barley
50ml white wine
½ teaspoon bouillon powder
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 bay leaf
Pack of tenderstem broccoli
250g chicken breast, cut into strips
Boil a kettle, Rinse the barley in a sieve. Transfer it to a large saucepan. Add the white wine and increase the heat and let it bubble and reduce by ½.
Pour over 800ml of boiled water and mix in the bouillon, tomato puree and bay leaf. Season. Bring to the boil and let it cook while you continue.
Trim and halve the leek, lengthways. Finely slice it, rinse to clean any dirt then stir it into the barley
Peel and finely slice the carrot and thinly slice the mushrooms. Add both to the barley as soon as they’re ready.
Pick off 2 tbsp thyme leaves and add ¼ of those
Trim off the stalk ends of the tenderstem broccoli. Split and large pieces lengthways so that they cook evenly.
Stir the chicken, if you’re using, into the pan and lay the broccoli on top. Cook for a further 5 mins until the chicken is cooked through and the barley retains a little bite.
Check the seasoning. Remove the bay leaf. Serve in bowls sprinkled with the remaining thyme leaves.