Literally meaning “wind”, Vata is the force of propulsion. Vata is the element of ether and air in the body. Ether has a spacey quality, and air has movement. Vata senses are hearing and touch. It governs all movement, including muscles, nerve impulses and thoughts. Since Pitta and Kapha cannot move without it, Vata is considered the leader of the three Ayurveda Principles in the body. It’s very important to keep Vata this subtle dosha that goes out of balance easily in good balance.
Vata people often suffer from depletion of nutrients. Their behavior is creative when balanced, or erratic and dispersed when imbalanced. Some Vata people are Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, and Woody Allen. If you are predominantly Vata, you should include more cooked, warm foods, stay away from icy drinks, and add more warming spices like cinnamon, cloves, and ginger to your food. This will prevent any digestion issues that Vata types tend to get, as well, as anxiety, dry skin, or insomnia. The best tastes to pacify Vata are sweet, salty, and sour. Minimize foods that are pungent, bitter, or astringent. Since Vata is cold, light, irregular, dry, and always changing, make choices that bring warmth, stability, and consistency to your life in order to keep Vata balanced.
In cold weather like this I like to drink ginger tea, which is the best because fresh ginger root is beneficial and can be used frequently for Vata balancing. It’s been pouring rain out here and I crave something warm to sip on all day, that explains why I’m a Vata. Curling up with a good book while a fragrance from vanilla scented candle or frankincense engulfs my home is just a perfect sense of comfort for me. And we Vata tend to favor aromas that are sweet, heavy, and warm, such as basil, bay, cinnamon, citrus, cloves, frankincense, lavender, pine, sage, and vanilla.
What’s comforting, warm and hearty for a sweet tooth like mine? How about caramelized banana rice pudding lightly infused with cinnamon and vanilla. It smells heavenly and soothes a soul from the inside out as the first spoonful touches your mouth, warmly sinks down your throat and fills your tummy. Rice and wheat are the best grains for balancing Vata, warm milk is optimal, and heavy fruits like banana are just right. As raw foods are not recommended caramelizing the banana adds perfection to this Vata balancing recipe. For non-vegetarians, eggs are good for a Vata, so including eggs in this recipe is fine.
Caramelized Banana Rice Pudding
1 1/2 cups long grain rice
3 cups water
4 cinnamon sticks
4 cups whole milk
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 medium bananas, thinly sliced
2 teaspoon cinnamon
Bring the water and cinnamon sticks to a boil. Stir in the rice, lower the heat, cover and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.
Add 3 cups milk, sugar, and salt to the cooked rice. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thick and creamy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the remaining milk.
Turn the heat off and slowly stir in beaten eggs tempering the eggs. Cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla extract. Set aside.
To make the caramelized bananas, melt the butter in a medium skillet. Add the brown sugar and one teaspoon cinnamon and whisk until smooth. Cook until bubbly, about 5 minutes. Add the sliced bananas cook until they are golden and caramelized.
Divide the pudding (add a splash of milk if too thick) among 8 ramekins or dishes. Top with the caramelized bananas and serve immediately.