Ayurvedic Summer Eats: Coconut Milk Stew

With every season, our bodies undergo a subtle transformation influenced by the three doshas – vata, pitta and kapha. Ayurvedic practitioners believe that the dynamics of vata and kapha undergo shifts under the influence of pitta during the summer. This season is also known to induce disturbances in vata, which can in turn manifest as subtle imbalances in the body. Ayurveda recommends focusing on foods with specific tastes and qualities to balance the effects of the prevailing doshas. As the digestive fire (agni) is moderate, light and easily digestible foods are preferred. 

It is also advisable to steer clear of foods with spicy, salty, and sour tastes, as they can increase the heat generated by pitta and disturb the balance within the body.

To embrace a summer-friendly diet, consider incorporating a delightful recipe into your routine – Coconut Milk Stew, also known as Ishtu. This dish strikes the perfect balance, offering a light and delicious option that aligns with Ayurvedic principles. Here’s a simple recipe


  • 1 cup mixed vegetables (carrots, potatoes, peas)
  • 1 cup thin coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup thick coconut milk
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 green chilies, slit
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a pot, cook the mixed vegetables with thin coconut milk until they are tender.
  2. In another pan, heat coconut oil. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter.
  3. Add sliced onions, green chilies, grated ginger, minced garlic, and curry leaves. Saute until the onions are translucent.
  4. Add the sautéed mixture to the cooked vegetables along with thick coconut milk. Simmer for a few minutes.
  5. Adjust salt according to taste.
  6. Serve the coconut milk stew with hot appams and enjoy!

Understanding the nuanced dynamics of vata, pitta, and kapha during different seasons enables us to make informed decisions about our diet. By choosing foods that align with Ayurvedic principles, especially during the summer, we can nurture our digestive fire and foster a harmonious internal balance.


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