Peace, yoga and mung beans

I spent this weekend cooking temple delights for a beautiful little festival called Return of the Sun – a festival of music, yoga, art and ritual. Rocklyn Ashram near Daylesford is absolutely stunning, and getting out into nature was just what I needed after a few hectic weeks of exams. Most large catering jobs leave me feeling exhausted, but I actually found some solace here and went home feeling relatively refreshed.

This was my first experience catering in an ashram environment, and there were certainly some ropes to learn. One of nice things about cooking for yoga events is that the food has to be really simple, but not boring. That’s a recipe for creativity if ever I heard one. Sun came up with the menu for the weekend, and I think he found the perfect balance between simple and exciting. 

If you have been to India you will recognise the basic elements in this dish: rice, dahl, two sabjis (vegetable) dishes, raita, chutney and papadums. It’s essentially a thali plate that’s been funked up bit:

That many things on a plate can easily get out of hand, yet somehow this ensemble fits together to create a neatly composed culinary experience. I feel like all the elements are ashram friends that I want to introduce you to, one by one. From the top, moving clockwise:

  • Basmati rice 
  • Dahl Makhani with red lentils, adzuki and mung beans and roast sweet potato
  • Cauli, cabbagae and coconut sabji with mustard and activated cashews
  • Mint, coriander and coconut chutney
  • Cucumber raita
  • Potato and pea sabji with celery, leek and ginger
  • Papadums

Another nice thing about catering in ashrams is the well understood concept of karma yoga. Pretty much everyone came to help out in the kitchen at some point over the weekend, either for food prep, serving or dish washing. Not only was it totally amazing to have so much help, but it made the kitchen feel like the hub of the festival.

If you’re keen for one of the recipes in this funked up thali plate, leave me a comment and I’ll see what I can do ;)

I’ll leave you with a little piece of peace from the lake at Rocklyn…

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