More Vegetables, Please! ~Indian Vegetables~

January 6, 2015

If it’s Sunday, you can be sure that I will be cooking a big batch of vegetables. In the warmer spring and summer months, I make my version of a ratatouille, but in the colder months I like to make my version of Indian Vegetables.   Living in accordance with the seasons includes eating more warming herbs and spices in the colder months, and Indian cuisine has many.

One of the first things I took away at the start of my degree in Oriental Medicine is the idea that cooked vegetables are easier to digest than their raw counterparts. Cooked vegetables are recommended for weakened digestive systems, and over-consumption of cold, raw foods can damage digestive function.  If food is difficult to digest and /or one presents with a digestive weakness, access to minerals, nutrients, and vitamins is difficult. Cooked vegetables take less digestive qi to process, allowing ease of access to nutrition and energy.

When I weighed over 200 pounds, my constitutional digestive weakness and improper diet of refined grains and sugar, dairy, and greasy/fried food resulted in an accumulation of phlegm-dampness. During the healing process, and ever since, I’ve included as many cooked vegetables into my diet as I can, and it is a constant variable in my health accomplishments. Many patients in my practice present with a digestive weakness and other related patterns. My recommendation to include more cooked vegetables is echoed often.

At a time of year when many are trying to “detox” and get “back on track,” perhaps we can shift our focus onto eating more in the form of warm, delicious, cooked vegetables. With the confusion and conflicting nutritional advice that meet our good intentions, I remind my patients to stick to the basics, avoid the extremes, and keep in mind that nobody ever got fat by eating too many vegetables.

I’m relatively slow in the kitchen, but I can get this dish cooking in 30-35 minutes, though I have been practicing for years. It’s best to let it simmer for a few hours, but it doesn’t need more than a quick stir every so often.

I make as big a batch as I can. As you’ll see in the pictures, the uncooked vegetables easily double the size of the pan, but once they cook down, I can add even more.

I fill up my largest mixing bowl with raw vegetables; once those cook down, I add some frozen vegetables and perhaps chickpeas.

Don’t worry about cutting everything perfectly. It’s all going to blob together. For a great presentation, run an immersion blender a few times at the end to gently puree part of the mixture.

This is not an exact recipe. Mix and match as your preferences and items on hand dictate. The ingredients have been underlined.

My favorite combination (at the moment):

1 head cauliflower

1 medium – large eggplant

3-4 large carrots

2 small potatoes

Cut all and fill your largest mixing bowl.


Gather 3 small dishes.

Gather the seeds and put in one small dish. 1-2 tablespoons of any combination:

Mustard seeds (most amount)

Cumin seeds (medium amount)

Coriander seeds (least amount)

Gather the powders and put in a separate small dish. 3- 4 tablespoons of any combination:

Curry powder (most amount)

Cumin powder

Coriander powder

Turmeric powder

Cayenne powder

In the 3rd small dish, chop a combination of:

Garlic (most amount)


Serrano pepper

The last things to prepare before cooking is to chop:

1 large onion

And open:

2 small or 1 large can of fire-roasted tomatoes (can also use fresh)

Choose your cooking oil – I like ghee, but coconut oil or butter work great too.

Heat large pan over medium heat. Add 2-3 tablespoons of ghee. Add all seeds and toss to coat. Once they start popping, add the chopped onion. Salt, pepper. Cook until onion turns translucent. Add garlic/ginger/pepper. Stir until fragrant. Add all powders. Stir to coat mixture.  Add ½ large or 1 small can of tomatoes. Stir to coat onion mixture.

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Very carefully, add all the cut vegetables from your large mixing bowl, salting ½ way through the pile. Top with the rest of the tomatoes. Cover with lid. Cook down, stirring carefully when possible.

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Once cooked through and mixed together, add the frozen vegetables and top with salt:

Frozen spinach (most amount)

Frozen peas


1 can garbanzo beans/chickpeas

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Simmer (covered) for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. Salt to taste. Run the immersion blender through for some pureed texture.

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Serve over a small amount of white Basmati rice, and enjoy!

A special thanks goes out to my boyfriend Jason who helped me to create this dish 🙂

You are what you eat.

In good health,



One Response to “More Vegetables, Please! ~Indian Vegetables~”

  1. Jennifer M Carlson Says:

    Thank you & happy new year!

    ________________ Jennifer’s ~ iPhone


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