Painting by Harish Johari showing Ram and Lakshman waiting in the forest at the arrival of a a fierce storm coming.
I'm not sure what the hell is going on with me and Indian food right now, but I'm absolutely MAD over it. I'm sure it's all being influenced by my daily meditation practice and obsessive reading on Buddhism as a way to understand my life. But Indian culture and cuisine feels so right to me.
Andrew and I had a sublime and inexpensive Indian feast yesterday in midtown I knew I had to blog about. The sublime restaurant is called:
It's called Minar and they have two locations. One in Midtown on 31st (where we went) and one on 45th.
Here is their link:
For under $20, Andy and I both had a great selection of three vegetarian dishes and a giant serving of rice with a side Snapple. The restaurant could use a major decor overall, my goodness it was a bit rundown, but the food was sublime! Where in Manhattan can you spend less than $20 for two people for a very filling and very, very tasty Indian meal filled with aromatic curry, jasmine, homemade Indian cheese, savory French yellow lentils and decedent chick peas marinated in cardamon and cinnamon?
Cinnamon is very common in Indian cuisine and so very good for you. It's s a valuable medicinal herb. As a circulatory tonic, cinnamon is the perfect flavor for winter to help warm cold hands and feet and get the blood flowing on chilly winter mornings. Studies have shown that the mere scent of cinnamon can increase alertness and mental function, helping to improve memory, coordination, recognition, and attention.
According to one study, using just 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon a day can help lower high blood cholesterol and glucose levels, minimizing your risk of type-2 diabetes and heart disease. Some research has shown that cinnamon protects against thrush and can be useful in preventing stomach ulcers.
In my minimal research, it seems Indian cuisine is also called "Ayurvedic Cooking." There is a great man who passed, Harish Johari, who talked much about the emotional and spiritual connection to food inherent in much of Indian's cuisine.
Read on. Pretty cool stuff:
Food is the first essential part of our life, annamayi kosha. The first stage of realization of the nature of reality involves understanding our relationship with food.
Without food, prana (breath) will not work, nor manas (mind), nor jnana (intelligence). Psychic make-up depends upon body chemistry and body chemistry is directly influenced by food input. Food is not just fuel for our bodies - it is as much alive as we are.
Food is also a medium through which one person's feelings can be transferred to another. In our country we say that food prepared by one's mother can satisfy the child more than the same food prepared by another. Certain foods will create a particular consciousness and another's consciousness can be transferred through prepared food. The body has both the physiological side and the emotional side and food affects both.
If you eat saffron yoghurt for a few days you will feel happy. Whenever I have groups of 20 or 30 people in a workshop, I use fenugreek because it is a regenerator. It also gives inspiration and joy. I can prepare food of such type that upon taking it a man will run like a horse for sex (uh, no comment). Or I can cook food such that upon eating it one will feel calm and become quiet.
This is all a question of knowing the art of spicing. Some spices are hot, while some have a cooling effect upon the body. One must know how to mix them properly to cause different effects. Spices are very important. After all, if it weren't for spices, America might never have been discovered."
I can see why I'm attracted to Indian cuisine. The sensation of the curry and the cayenne and cinnamon is intoxicating. I am a meat eater born and raised in America but something happens to me when I eat Indian cuisine. I never, ever miss the meat because the spices are so filled with emotion and flavor, the meat actually detracts from the taste. Amazing, stuff.
In the coming weeks, more meatless Indian recipes to make you very happy.
Go to Miran if you are in town. You will love it.
Here is Andy at the start of our meal:
And here is my content Buddha afterwards:
Namiste to all!
Mikey - Your Food Therapist