Vata, Pitta or Kapha? Which Ayurvedic body type are you? Sync your diet to your body type – or dosha – with these healthy and tasty recipes by TV chef Anjum Anand.
Based on Ayurvedic philosophy, doshas refer to the three distinct substances or energies that make up your body — known as vata, pitta and kapha. Each person has a dominant dosha, but balance between all three is key (figure out your dosha here).
By tweaking lifestyle habits like your diet to match your dosha, it’s thought that you can help keep your body balanced. Here’s a recipe for each dosha to get you started …
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“Vata energy is light, dry and cool like the wind,” explains Anjum. “To balance this energy, stick to warming, moistening and slightly heavy foods.”
If you’re a vata, try…
Tandoori cauliflower steak with chickpea salad
Creative and energetic, vatas are usually thin and agile. When out of balance, they can experience fatigue, indigestion, chills and dry skin. “This is a great salad for vata, ideally at lunchtime when your digestion is at its best,” Anjum explains. “Those with vata imbalance can also serve this salad warm by sautéing the vegetables.”
- 1 whole cauliflower
- 3 tbs tandoori paste
- ¼ small red onion, finely sliced
- 2 vine tomatoes, chopped
- 125g cooked chickpeas
- 4 red radishes, finely sliced
- 50g feta, crumbled
- Large handful of chopped, fresh coriander
For the dressing
- Coriander chutney
- 1 rounded tbs crème fraîche
- 1 tbs water
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients and set aside.
- Slice the cauliflower into ‘steaks’ and brush with tandoori paste. Place on an oiled baking tray, drizzle with a little oil and bake for 15 minutes.
- Then turn the grill to high, drizzle with olive oil and cook on the upper shelf for two to three minutes or until dried out and charred in places. Flip the steaks and cook for another two to three minutes.
- Combine the salad ingredients and stir in most of the dressing. Plate up the cauliflower and serve with the salad and extra dressing.
“The qualities of pitta are hot, acidic and flammable, so try to eat simple, fresh foods that are cooling in nature and aren’t too spicy, like coconut, and balance hot meals with ingredients like cream.”
If you’re a pitta, try…
Fiery pittas are focused, driven and passionate people, but can be prone to anger, skin rashes and thin hair. “This kadhi is very good for pitta,” Anjum says. “It’s made with cream, which is cooling and balances out the spicy undertones.”
- 1 tbs coriander seeds
- ¾ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 – 2 Kashmiri dried chillies
- 8 black peppercorns
For the sauce
- 4 tbs vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp finely grated root ginger
- 3 large garlic cloves, finely grated
- 3 medium-large tomatoes, blended
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- Pinch of salt
- ½ tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves,
- crushed between your fingers
- 2–3 tbs light cream
- 3 tbs chopped coriander leaves
For the vegetable
- 1 potato, cut into 2cm pieces
- 1 small carrot, cut into half moons
- 100g cauliflower florets
- 480ml boiling water
- 100g frozen peas, defrosted
- In a small frying pan, gently dry-roast the spices, stirring often to avoid any burning. Once the coriander seeds have coloured a little, pour everything into a spice blender and grind to a powder.
- Heat the oil in a large, non-stick saucepan, add the onion and cook until golden on the edges. Add the ginger and garlic, and sauté for one minute or until they smell cooked.
- Add the tomatoes, turmeric and salt, and cook over a medium to high heat until the mixture has completely reduced and releases oil back into the pan.
- Stir in the potato and carrot, cover and cook for five minutes. Add the cauliflower and water, and return to the boil. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes or until the vegetables are just cooked, adding the peas for the last couple of minutes.
- Add the garam masala and fenugreek leaves to the pan and give it a stir.
- Take it off the heat and sprinkle over then shake in the cream and coriander. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve.
“Kapha is heavy, dense, cold and moist, and needs to be balanced with food that increases lightness and warmth, so stick to low-fat foods with spices and chillies.”
If you’re a kapha, try…
Chopped chicken salad
With a solid frame, kaphas have great endurance. They’re loyal and patient, but can be a little lazy and complacent.
“This substantial salad is very good for kapha,” Anjum tips. “It’s low in fat but very nourishing, with protein and lots of delicious vegetables. It’s not suitable for vata types who may find the uncooked bits hard to digest.”
- 1 large skinless chicken breast
- 1½ tbs extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large garlic clove, finely grated
- 1 tsp roasted and ground cumin seeds
- Fistful of finely chopped coriander
- 1½ tbs lemon juice, or to taste
- ½ medium-large tomato
- ½ ripe avocado
- ¼ red onion, finely chopped or thinly sliced
- Handful of chopped lettuce
- 1½ tsp chaat masala
- ¼ small Indian green-finger chilli, deseeded and sliced
- 1½ tbs salted peanuts, lightly chopped
- Marinate the chicken in 1 tsp of the olive oil, seasoning and the garlic. Leave for 30 minutes if possible.
- Heat a griddle or frying pan, add the chicken and cook for five to six minutes on each side or until done. I like to cover the pan two minutes in, to keep the chicken moist.
- Meanwhile, mix together the remaining olive oil, seasoning, roasted cumin and a little of each of the coriander and lemon juice.
- Chop the tomato and avocado into even 1–2cm cubes. Place in a bowl and add the onion, lettuce, chaat masala, chilli and most of the dressing. Toss well to mix and
- season to taste. It should be tangy, spicy and well-seasoned. Add more lemon juice if necessary.
- When the chicken is done, you can slice it thinly and place on top of the salad, drizzled with the remaining dressing and coriander, or chop into small bites and mix with the salad, dressing and remaining coriander.
- I also like the flavours to marinate for a bit before serving, so make the salad up 10–15 minutes before serving if possible.
- Scatter over the peanuts just before serving.