If there’s one thing that the Covid-19 pandemic brought about, it was a heightened interest in cooking, experimenting with new recipes, and most importantly, a desire to consume healthy, organic, locally-grown produce as opposed to food ‘products’. And, while the internet abounds in healthy recipes for the asking, nothing quite beats attending a culinary class, where participants can also get their culinary dilemmas solved.
In Goa, there is no dearth of cooking classes – from professional courses to hobby classes – teaching everything from Continental to Goan to fusion cuisine. And, if you are looking to embark on the path to healthy eating, you will find workshops which will help you do just that. One option you might want to consider is ayurvedic cooking classes. Yes, you read that right – ayurvedic ‘cooking’!
EATING THE AYURVEDA WAY
The word ‘ayurveda’ is hardly something that we would normally associate with food, rather with ancient medication to free us from a galaxy of ailments in a non-allopathic manner. In fact, diet is an intrinsic part of ayurveda, which has been around for thousands of years.
This way of eating focuses on fresh and organic food as one of the primary means to achieving good health. According to ayurveda, food is more than a mere meal to be consumed. It is considered sacred, too, and there is even a goddess of food and nourishment ie Goddess Annapurna (an avatar of Goddess Parvati, the wife of Lord Shiva).
HIGHLIGHTS OF AN AYURVEDIC DIET
Fresh, locally grown produce is at the heart of ayurvedic cuisine. Refrigerated vegetables are a no-no, as are those transported from far off lands. Organic herbs and spices are the order of the day, and all ingredients are
washed with warm water before the cooking process begins. Cooking temperatures are also carefully monitored. Another simple mantra is to cook only the quantity required for the day’s consumption so that there are no leftovers, which might end up needing to be refrigerated.
No exotic, expensive ingredients are used here, and some of the culinary essentials are coconut oil, ghee, black salt and rock salt, all of which are easily available in Goa.
THE SWAN WAY
If you’re looking to cook the ayurvedic way, then head to Swan Yoga Retreat, in Assagao, which is one of the best places in Goa to learn the technique.
Ayurvedic cooking workshops are held at the campus twice a week. and participants can learn some very delicious ayurveda-based vegetarian recipes. Several recipes are taught at these sessions, which are held annually from November to May, with fees being a reasonable ₹ 2,000.
Goan vegetarian dishes can also be ayurvedic complaint, just like dishes from other parts of India, and you can also learn to make Goan Curry the ayurvedic way!
Interestingly, this was not part of the plan when Swan Yoga Retreat opened its doors in 2011. Cooking classes were only considered following repeated requests from guests who had tasted the meals at the centre during their stay there. Eventually, in 2014, cooking classes were formally started, and were, predictably, a big hit!
Spread across an area of roughly 2 acres, Swan Yoga Retreat is among the most popular yoga retreats in Goa, and is run by yoga practitioners, who are trained at traditional yoga ashrams of India. It also functions along the principles of a yoga ashram and employs the teaching methods of the gurukul system.
Ayurvedic Cooking Classes
WHERE: Swan Yoga Retreat, Assagao
WHEN: November to May
DURATION: 2 days
FEES: ₹ 2,000
CONTACT: +91 8007 360 677