And…we’re back! There’s a very good reason that Urban Chickpea has been on hiatus. During May and June, I had the opportunity to spend time in the kitchen of Ananda in the Himalayas, a breathtaking destination spa in Northern India. The spa specializes in Ayurvedic treatments, Ayurveda being the traditional healing practice in India. Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of diet when it comes to health, so while Ananda provides luxurious spa treatments, massage, detoxes, yoga, meditation and Vedanta study, to me, the true heart of activity was in the kitchen. In the coming weeks, I’m excited to share stories and recipes on Urban Chickpea inspired by my stay there!
I arrived at the spa nestled in the Himalaya mountains via a stop in India’s capital city. Speeding up the winding mountain road, I began to regret downing that espresso at the Delhi airport. Although I’d given up coffee a year ago, all the rich mithai and chaat (that’s “sweets” and “snacks” to all you gringos) in Delhi had turned me into a tired little slug. The espresso did give me the kick in the pants that I so desperately needed, but it also gave me a good deal of nausea and dizziness, which is what happens when you flood a tiny body with an elephantine dose of caffeine.
Upon arriving at the doorstep of Ananda, I was greeted with showstopping Indian hospitality and the house signature drink: a chilled concoction of lemon, ginger and sugar, which did its best to comfort my overstimulated stomach. After a cup of this drink and a well-deserved nap, I was ready for weeks of learning and relaxing in what has to be one of the most beautiful, peaceful places in world.
Inspired by that soothing beverage, I created my own hot, unsweetened version to have at home. Lemon is a known detoxifier: it supports liver function and helps the digestive and circulatory systems eliminate waste. Fresh ginger is a classic folk-remedy for nausea, and it also boosts circulation, which promotes the elimination of toxins through the skin, digestive tract and kidneys. Together, these two create a mild infusion that wakes up your body and promotes gentle, natural detoxification. Since you use the peels in this recipe, it’s a good opportunity to seek out organic lemon and ginger. Regardless, make sure to give the outsides a good scrub.
Try drinking this infusion first thing in the morning about 30 minutes before breakfast. Your body will thank you, particularly if you just exposed it to a hearty night of drinking or a ride up a winding mountain road.
Lemon-Ginger Detox Infusion
1-inch piece of ginger (unpeeled)
1 1/2 cups of water
1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel two strips of zest off of the lemon and place the strips in a small pot. The peeler will remove the flavorful, yellow zest and leave most of the bitter, white pith behind.
2. Take the ginger and cut it into 4-5 slices. Put these in the pot with the lemon peel and cover with the 1 1/2 cups of water. Put on the stove and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for 10 minutes.
3. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice from one half into a mug. Pour the ginger-and-lemon-infused hot water through a strainer into the mug with the lemon juice. Find a cozy corner and enjoy.