Ayurveda is an ancient Indian system of medicine that focuses on the holistic well-being of an individual. Ayurveda not only deals with medicinal herbs but also emphasizes the importance of a balanced and nutritious diet. To spread awareness about Ayurvedic cooking and its benefits, The University of Trans-Disciplinary Health Sciences and Technology (TDU) organized a culinary workshop series on rice - one of three kinds of cereal included in Ayurveda as “Nitya Sevaniya” Aahar i.e., foods that can be consumed daily
The workshop commenced with an introduction to the different varieties of rice in Ayurveda, namely shastika shali, vrihi, and their subtypes. The participants learned about the Ayurvedic properties of each variety and how they benefit the body. As rice is the most consumed grain in the world and a vital source of calories for a large proportion of the global population, it made perfect sense to start the Ayurveda Culinary series with a workshop on rice.
The workshop had two parts - theory and practical. In the theory section, participants were explained the science behind rice cooking and why some rice breaks while cooking while others become sticky. This is due to the presence of amylose and amylopectin, which are types of starch. The proportion of these two starches in rice determines its stickiness and cooking time. This was followed by a session on pathya kalpana, the art of combining ingredients to create a wholesome and balanced meal. The participants were given a sensory evaluation game to identify the taste (rasa) of different ingredients. This was an enjoyable way to learn about Ayurvedic cooking.
In the practical section, participants had a hands-on cooking session where they learned to prepare different rice recipes. Some of the recipes included: Nutritious Porridge Krishara Shad Rasa, Rice Water Mocktail (Lohita Salyadi Yoga), Rice Ball Soup (Tapahari), and Rice Drink/Pudding (Dadhisare). These recipes were extracted from classical Ayurveda texts, deconstructed, and reimagined for contemporary use. scientifically studied to understand the underlying principles.