Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Let your food be your medicine...

Recently, I have been building on herbs as it relates to the Ayurvedic system of healing and living. It was a joy to receive the reminder that a number of the herbs and spices we use to add color and flavor to our foods on a day to day basis contribute to our health and well-being. We are at the time of reason and understanding where ones are exposed to the knowledge that we are what we consume and expose ourselves to. In that, it becomes vital that we take the time to have a working knowledge of the foods that we find ourselves constantly consuming (as well as all other environmental factors..).

Recently in MaituFoods' radio interview with the Wombyn University collective(, we mentioned a recipe for Ackee. In that one recipe alone we referenced several herbs good for stimulation, cleansing and healing. In addition there is a herb-infused oil common in Ethiopian cuisine known as Niter Kebbah that contains herbs good for digestion, liver function, etc. The combined recipes utilize herbs such as ginger,thyme, cardamon, ginger, turmeric etc. These aforementioned herbs are ones that for many of us are commonly used in our kitchens, especially as we broaden our taste and views of cuisine to include the whole of the diaspora.

So we see that there is always an opportunity for health, always opportunity to expand our knowledge base as it relates to the foods we eat. It also sheds light on the reality that there have always been systems and sciences in place that have ancient origins as it relates to food and nutrition. Its no coincidence that curries carry a variety of herbs good for invigoration and digestive function. And this is something that exists everywhere. As common as the palette cleansing parsley on your plate at restaurants (no its not decoration), or the bowl of anise at Indian establishments. That cup of mint tea, to promote appetite and aid digestion...and we could go on and on...from ginger to garlic, cumin to fenugreek.

As the knowledge expands and the need increases, we are steady on the path of finding ways to bring what we do to a higher vibration. This includes equipping ourselves with those things that are necessary for our continuous growth. Ensuring that we are actively consuming that which raises our vibrations, is a step towards that realization. For we overstand that a sound body aids a sound mind and sound spirit. Wishing abundance and health, light and sound. Love

Ackee (quick recipe)
  • 1/4 onion diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • thumb of ginger diced (or grated)
  • 2 cups of Ackee (can find at international foods market)
  • 1/4 teaspoon each of thyme, cayenne pepper, ground pimento, paprika and fennel
  • salt to taste
In a saucepan heat the coconut oil on medium heat. Add diced herbs and onion. Let stir fry until onions begin to turn translucent. Stirring to make sure not to scorch the garlic or onion. Add in two cups of Ackee and stir fry. Reduce heat to low and add about 1/4 cup of water to simmer. At this point add salt to taste. Simmer food on low, until most of the water has evaporated. Once done couple with rice, potatoes or steamed veggies.

Niter Kebbeh (spice infused oil)*
  • 1/4 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • cinnamon sticks ( I use two)
  • cloves ( I use up to 5)
  • 3 pieces of cardamom (again to personal taste)
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup of oil ( I use sunflower)
Heat oil in saucepan on medium heat. Add herbs and spices. Once it starts to boil, reduce heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once done remove from heat and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes (I usually allow it to sit for at least an hour). Strain and store in refrigerator until ready to use. I put this oil on rice, in legume dishes as a seasoning, it goes well on pasta and salads..etc..
*traditionally this oil is made with butter, for those wanting that taste you can always substitute conventional butter for soy margarine.

My Kitchen Sounds Like: In High Tide by Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers