Here is an example of an eclectic approach to Ayurveda that makes use of seaweed and shiitake mushrooms. Most Ayurvedic cooks rarely use mushrooms, because they are considered tamasic. I use them occasionally for their flavor and because they have a positive effect on the immune system. This recipe is neutral for vata and calming for pitta and kapha.
1 cup dry aduki beans, soaked overnight, or
1 can precooked, organic adukis
6 cups water
1⁄8 teaspoon hing (asafoetida) or epazote
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
6 dry shiitake mushrooms (optional, but tasty)
1⁄4 cup hijiki seaweed
Salt and pepper to taste
A few drops of toasted sesame oil (optional)
Put all the ingredients except the salt, pepper, and sesame oil in a pot or pressure cooker and cook until tender. If you are using dry beans and a pressure cooker, this should take about a half hour at pressure. Add the salt, pepper, and sesame oil, and serve. Smaller beans are often easier to digest, although there are exceptions. Adding a little bit of oil to the beans while they are cooking relieves their dryness. It helps to soak the beans overnight and rinse them up to six times as they soak; some Ayurvedic practitioners recommend sprouted legumes for maximum absorption. Sprouting lightens the beans and provides more vitamins. The hijiki adds vital minerals and also calms gas.