Simple Ayurvedic Recipe: How to use Ayurvedic spices


It may surprise you to learn that eating an Ayurvedic diet means you get to enjoy your food -- perhaps more than you ever have. That’s because true enjoyment comes from eating in a way that nourishes your body and mind. 

​Using Ayurvedic spices for balance

Ayurvedic wisdom says that you should enjoy your food five times: planning it, preparing it, cooking it, eating it and digesting it (although we added a sixth way in our most recent Ayurvedic chef training: serving it). At each step, you have the opportunity to engage your senses to get the most out of the experience. Your food should look and smell wonderful. It should taste delicious and you should feel better for having cooked it and eaten it. A sure way to enjoy each step is to include Ayurvedic spices in every meal.

Spices have been used for centuries in Ayurvedic cooking as a way to make food a feast for all five ways you can experience it. High-quality spices, such as cumin, coriander, mustard seed and fennel, not only make the food smell and taste delicious, they also support digestion and balance a meal by ensuring all shad rasa, or six tastes, are present. 

Becoming fluent in how to use spices is one of the best ways to become an Ayurvedic cook. We’ve included four different spice combinations below to get you started. Use the meal planning guide from our post on the Hale Pule balanced bowl and these spice combinations to create delicious and healing meals every day. 

​Buying, storing and using Ayurvedic spices

It’s common to see a rack of spices beautifully displayed on a kitchen counter, but this practice greatly shortens the life of this most important ingredient in your Ayurvedic meal. Sunlight breaks down the prana in spices quickly, which is why we suggest you store yours in a cupboard away from the light. 

You should also take note of how the spices are stored when you purchase them. You don’t want to eat something that has been sitting on a shelf for years. Look for vendors who sell spices in containers that block the light, especially if you are buying ground spices as the volatile oils break down very quickly. Purchase small amounts from a good source with high turnover. When you use them at home, don’t be afraid to compost anything that looks or smells old -- if it doesn’t smell fresh, it won’t taste fresh and won’t support digestion. 

An electric coffee grinder and a mortar and pestle are great tools for grinding your spices. Both tools have their advantages -- an electric grinder will crush hard seeds into fine powder, but the mortar and pestle puts more of your energy into the process. Use them both and see which you prefer.

​Remember to have fun and try new things -- the only way you will learn is by exploring and experimenting. Direct experience is your most valuable way to learn.

​Simple Ayurvedic recipe: Ayurvedic spice blends

Before you begin to use these combinations, take a look at our post on

Ayurvedic meal planning with the Hale Pule balanced bowl

Each of the four components in the balanced bowl includes spices to support digestion and lift up the flavor of the food. Adjust the spices as the seasons or your state of balance changes, and keep track of the results. 

We’ve included mineral salt in all combinations because it adds the salty taste and enhances the flavor of everything you cook. Adding salt during cooking balances vata dosha. Adding it on top of your food dulls the taste buds and increases pitta dosha

This combinations will serve four people.

Combination 1: All-purpose Ayurvedic blend

This is a wonderful combination that is balancing for all doshas. It is delicious on any of your favorite vegetables or legumes. You can increase the amounts a bit during the winter and reduce them a bit during the summer. 

½ tsp. cumin powder

½ tsp. coriander powder

½ tsp. turmeric powder

1 tsp. fresh ginger, diced ​

½ tsp. mineral salt

Learn to use more spices to balance digestion and make delicious, healing meals. Apply for our Simple Ayurvedic Cooking program!

Visit our Ayurveda Lifestyle page for kitchen essentials

Back to blog