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September 10, 2008

Nuts-raw or cooked?

So I really love nuts, in case you haven't noticed. I eat nuts everyday, but only a small handful at a time. I always loved nuts, but only truly came to appreciate this food when I began to roast them.

When I was younger, before I was devoted to Ayurveda I used to experiment with a few different systems of health, including raw food. My conclusion on raw food is that it's certainly no good for Vata, with Kapha and Pita tolerating it better. It can be useful for particular conditions, or for short term detox or weight loss. But it doesn't work for me.

One of the ideas behind eating food raw is that when you cook it you lose a lot of the enzymes. I have since read, in one of my trillions of Ayurvedic books (sorry I forgot which so I can't credit it!), that when the body digests food these enzymes break down in the body anyway. You may as well let a stove do the work instead of your body.

Besides all of this, nuts taste SO good when they are cooked. And if Ayurveda is all about taste, then cook my nuts I will!

So, how to cook them. I always skin my almonds first, but other nuts are fine as is. I like to do a batch at the begginning of the week so I can take them to work for snacks or add them to stirfries or porridge. Don't make too many, the fresher the better.

There are basically two ways, on the stove or in the oven. For the latter preheat your oven to 200' and then spread you nuts out on a tray and leave them in there for just a few minutes. Watch them carefully. The advantage of the oven is they are more evenly roasted, but it can be a waste of electricity to heat up the whole oven for just a handful of nuts, so do a bigger batch, or cook them before or after your using the oven for something else anyway. It isn't a good idea to ut nuts in at the same time as other food as the moisture might stop them going crunchy.

The stove top method requires constant stirring, but you are less likely to burn them cause you can't walk away and forget about them. You can do a small amount too, just a handful to eat in front of a movie for example. Heat a heavy bottom pan on a medium heat and throw you nuts in. Give them a good shake and stir until they are gently browned. It's hard to get them even on the stove. Some nuts will pop and dance.

Let your nuts cool down before eating them, because this is when they get all crunchy. Here's a few ideas for what to do with your nuts...


Anonymous said...

Have been eating a lot of pistachios this week! :)

The Life of Kiley said...

Hi Julia!
I just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading your blog. I, too, am studying Ayurveda and have fallen in love with it. My question to you is something you wrote in this post about Ayurveda being all about taste. I was wondering what you meant exactly? Anyway, I just wanted to applaud you--the work that you are doing and how you've really been able to embrace routine, which is such an important part in Ayurveda and something I continually struggle with.
Feel free to visit my site at your convenience. I have a link to your site there.
and if u want to email me i'm at:


Julia said...

I love pistachios!

Hi Nicole, pleased to meet you. I've tagged a few of my posts "taste" so you can read more there.

Taste is what makes Ayurveda such an easy diet to follow. In modern nutrition everything is divided in a lab into carbs/fats/proteins/vitamins etc, which means we depend on a scientist to tell us what is good for us.

Once I learned about Ayurveda's six tastes, and which ones are good for me, I tuned into what I should or shouldn't eat just by putting in my mouth.

I'd love to have a look at your site, thanks for leaving the link.

The Life of Kiley said...

Hi Julia!
Thanks for tagging those posts.
Very informative. In TCM, the sweet taste, is also the most nourishing and makes up the bulk of foods. It's so interesting how TCM and Ayurveda share certain things in common. Thanks again!


Ramki said...

I prefer using a microwave to roast small batches of nuts. Arrange them in a single layer and zap them for one minute ( or two) and let them cool. Crunchy and delicious every time !

Julia said...

I don't have a microwave, but thanks for the tip, I'm sure others will find it useful.