Tonight, Earth will celebrate a special occasion as it officially heralds the celestial winter in the Northern Hemisphere.
While most countries observe four seasons in a year, Ayurvedic tradition celebrates six (Ritu) seasons in a year. So today marks the beginning of Hemant Rtu (Pre-Winter Season), one of the six Ayurvedic seasons that welcomes the colder months. It is the season when the energy of the Sun and the Moon live in harmony, creating a pleasant, comfortable environment.
The great poet Kalidasa views this season through the lens of the lovers, and thus Hemanta becomes the season when lovers retreat indoors, spending days and nights in each other's warm embrace.
Hemant Rtu or pre-winter season is when our digestive fire increases, as per Ayurveda. It is easier to digest heavy and oily foods in the winter. Another way to improve digestion and circulation, especially in the chilly winter, is to drink some red vino (three-four ounces at the most) daily. The traditional wine that Ayurveda recommended is called Draksha, made from grapes.
Those of you who joined us for our barn dinners at the farm, had the pleasure of tasting my homemade botanical Draksha, made from grapes grown in our little orchard. Next season we hope to harvest more...
Foods, such as sesame or (Til), fuels your digestive fire (Agni) to stay warm. So, this holiday season, as you gather with your tribe to celebrate with food and libations, you can try to make this recipe of tahini, an indispensable condiment to have on hand.
Tagine Spiced Tahini
Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds and is a staple in many cuisines, especially in the Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern, it's vegan, gluten-free, tastes nutty and is simple to make.
A must-have ingredient in making Hummus or Baba Ganoush, you can make use of this tahini by adding to salad dressing. Turn it into a sauce and drizzled over vegetables or meats or your favorite wraps.
Makes about 1 cup
2 cups sesame seeds, hulled
6-8 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil such as grapeseed or a light olive oil
Pinch of kosher salt, optional
One tablespoon Nirmala's Kitchen Moroccan Tagine Spice Blend (optional)
Add sesame seeds to a large, dry frying pan over medium-low heat and toast, continually stirring until the seeds become fragrant and very lightly colored (not brown), 3 to 4 minutes. Be careful as sesame seeds can burn quickly.
Transfer toasted sesame seeds to a baking sheet and cool completely.
Add sesame seeds to the bowl of a food processor then process until a crumbly paste form, about 1 minute.
Add 3 tablespoons of the oil then process for 2 to 3 minutes more, stopping to scrape the bottom and sides of the food processor a couple of times.
The tahini's consistency should be smooth, not gritty, and should be pourable.
You may need to process for another minute or add the additional tablespoon of oil.
Taste the tahini for seasoning then add salt to taste.
If you have our Morrocan Tagine Blend, you can add a tablespoon.
Continue to process 5 to 10 seconds to mix it in.
Pour tahini in a mason jar with lid, store in the refrigerator for one month.
You may notice it separates over time, much like peanut butter would.
If this happens, give the tahini a good stir before using it.