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Glorious grains – the primary source of carbohydrates

The yogic diet is essentially grain-based. Whole grains are the primary source of carbohydrates, the origin of energy for the human body. Complex carbohydrates are abundant in nature, relatively inexpensive and filling. Unrefined grains are rich in fibre and B vitamins and supply about half of the amino acids that form protein. They should be eaten every day, preferably with foods containing complementary proteins, such as pulses. Most of the world’s population survives on a diet of pulse and grain combinations.

Aubergine Quinoa Roast

This high-energy grain from South America's Andes mountains is given an international flavour in this vegetable-rich dish, needing only a green salad to complement it.

Serves 4

4 tablespoons sesame oil
350 g aubergine, cut into 8 thick slices
2 tablespoons tamari
50 ml lemon juice
125 ml water
1 teaspoon grated fresh root ginger
200 g quinoa, washed
1 large red pepper, cored, seeded and sliced
2 courgettes, coarsely grated
parsley sprigs, to garnish

1) Preheat the oven to 180 °C/350 °F/gas mark 4. Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan and cook the aubergine slices until browned. Arrange them in a single layer in a baking dish. Combine the tamari, lemon juice, water and ginger and pour over the aubergine slices. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Turn the slices over and cook for 10 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

2) Place the quinoa in a large pan with double its volume of water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, until tender. Drain if necessary. Add the red pepper and courgettes to the sesame oil remaining in the frying pan and sauté until soft. Add the quinoa, mix well and spoon over the aubergine. Press down well. Return to the oven and cook for 5–10 minutes. Serve hot, garnished with parsley sprigs.

Rice Pilau

Basmati is the rice considered to be the best among the many Indian varieties – its name means 'queen of fragrance' – and is the one most often used in festive Indian dishes. Brown basmati rice contains more nutrients than the white variety. Rice pilau can be used along with dal to make a simple meal, or can be used as part of a more elaborate meal.

Serves 4–6

300 g basmati rice
50 ml ghee or vegetable oil
50 g raw cashews, almonds or pistachio nuts, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and shredded
1–2 green chillies, seeded and finely chopped
600 ml hot water
150 g fresh peas or finely sliced green beans
½ teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt
50 g raisins (optional)

1) Wash the rice and soak in cold water for 15–20 minutes, then drain. Heat the ghee or oil in a heavy pan over a low heat. Add the nuts and sauté, stirring constantly until golden brown. Remove from the oil.

2) Increase the heat to medium, add the cumin seeds, ginger and chillies to the pan and cook until the cumin is golden brown, stirring constantly. Pour in the rice and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the hot water, peas, garam masala, salt and raisins, if using. Bring to the boil, the reduce the heat to very low, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook gently for 10–15 minutes, until all the water is absorbed and the rice is tender and fluffy. Serve at once.

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