Ayurveda is the sister science to yoga, and it's long been a fascination of mine. I've learned a bit on my own and from various yoga teachers. The idea of Ayurveda is that we all have a unique constitution, prone to our own individual imbalances. And those imbalances are what can, if left unchecked, throw our health into a bit of a tailspin, whether it's minor things like viruses and colds, or much larger, systemic challenges. Broadly speaking, humans fall into three categories: vata, pitta and kapha, each with their own optimal list of foods, along with ones they should steer clear of. You can be a vata with a vata imbalance, or a pitta with a kapha tendencies; there are sub-doshas, too. (If you want to find out where you might fall in those three categories, check out this dosha quiz from the Chopra Center.) The first time I had someone assess my constitution, so many things started to make sense to me. For example, I'm mostly pitta, and it's the more fiery dosha, which means I should steer clear of spicy foods (I don't like them, so there's that) and move toward cooling foods (like cucumbers, which I love love love.) With knowledge, you gain awareness and bringing that mindfulness to what you eat integrates almost effortlessly (at least for me) with the asana part of yoga practice.
The Essential Ayurvedic Cookbook by Lois Leonhardi, a Certified Ayurveda Practitioner, came out earlier this month. I like it because it gives you extensive background, enough to get you acclimated and provide a basic understanding of Ayurveda. The recipes are geared toward specific constitutions, but then she also tells you how to adapt if you are, say, Vata or Pitta. There are some recipes that are tridoshic, or good for all three doshas. The doshas also correspond to seasons of the year (we're in fall, which is vata, moving toward kapha, which is winter and spring), times of day and time of life. Among many other things, Ayurveda provides a way of thinking about food and health, with a bit of a learning curve—but that's the fun part, right? I, for one, really enjoy the balance she's struck here with these crepes.
Amaranth Crepes with Pomegranate Syrup
Have fun making these. Smaller crêpes will be easier to flip, but will be more difficult to fold due to the inflexibility of the gluten-free batter. The first crêpe may be a disaster, but don’t fret; it doesn’t count. Use it to contemplate how to modify your technique so you can create future crêpes of higher quality. Note that it is difficult to have wafer-thin crêpes using gluten-free flour, so set your expectations accordingly. The coolness of the amaranth, milk and cardamom will balance the warmth of the eggs for pitta. Kapha can eat these in moderation. Gluten free, soy free and vegetarian.
Makes two 10-inch (25 cm) crêpes
The astringency of the amaranth flour and pomegranate syrup is balanced by the sweet rice flour, coconut milk and butter.
The lemon zest and cinnamon mellow the strong flavor of the amaranth flour.
Using butter or ghee will give the crêpe a caramel taste and help with browning; this will be lost if you substitute oil.
You can double the recipe so you have extra batter on hand. Leftover batter can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, but the amaranth flavor starts to overwhelm the spices with each passing day.
- 10-inch (25-cm) cast-iron skillet (or crêpe pan)
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) coconut milk (or cow’s, almond or soy milk)
- 2 tsp. (10 mL) pomegranate syrup
- 2 tsp. (10 mL) grated lemon zest
- 2 T. (30 mL) amaranth flour, sifted
- 2 T. (30 mL) brown rice flour, sifted, or almond flour
- 1 tsp. (5 mL) ground cinnamon (no substitutes)
- 1⁄2 tsp. (2 mL) ground cardamom (no substitutes)
- 1⁄8 tsp. (0.5 mL) Himalayan salt
- 2 tsp. (10 mL) butter or ghee, melted
In a medium bowl, whisk egg and egg yolk until frothy. Add coconut milk, pomegranate syrup and lemon zest, whisking until combined. Add amaranth flour, brown rice flour, cinnamon, cardamom, salt and butter, whisking until batter is thin and smooth. Cover and let set for 10 minutes in the refrigerator.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200°F (100°C).
Remove batter from refrigerator and whisk briefly.
Heat the skillet over medium heat. When a drop of batter placed on the pan sizzles, you are ready to cook. Lift the pan off the burner and pour in a thin layer of batter (about 1⁄4 cup/60 mL). Gently tilt the skillet in a circular motion to spread the batter evenly across the bottom. Return the pan to the heat and patiently wait. When the bottom is done, you will see a change in color and the crêpe will easily lift from the pan. Test it by running a spatula around the edges. When the spatula easily slides under the center of the crêpe (about 2 to 3 minutes), it is time to flip. Flip the crêpe and cook for 30 seconds on the second side. Transfer crêpe to a plate and place in preheated oven while preparing the other crêpe.
Top with pomegranate syrup, Vata Plum Compote, seasonal berries, yogurt, whipped cream or raw honey. Garnish with mint leaves, pomegranate seeds, sifted ground cinnamon or lemon wedges.