A powerful-smelling resinlike spice, hing is both astringent and heat-producing in the stomach after eating. It is a good intestinal antiseptic and therefore very good for Vata. The flavor and warming properties of hing are released when they are heated by frying or boiling. Lentil and bean dishes should always be made with a pinch of hing to aid digestion. When frying the other spices used in a recipe, mix a little hing with them before adding to cooked beans, lentils or mixed vegetables. Hing works best with other spices and so it should not be the only spice in a recipe. The best use of hing is in cooking dahl. Put a pinch of hing in the boiling, salted water just before adding the lentils and the spices. Then cover the pot quickly to keep its strong essence in the steam and not all over the kitchen. Using too much hing aggravates Pitta. When using Vata Churna to flavor dahl it is not necessary to add hing, as it is in the Churna.
Sweet, slightly pungent, and oily, freshly ground seeds are best when fried in hot oil and added to vegetable dishes, rice, or soups. But you can also use the freshly ground seed right in soups and sauces if they are well heated to bring out the flavor of the coriander. The leaves of the coriander plant, cilantro, add pungent, astringent, and bitter tastes to salads and vegetable dishes. Cilantro is also good for anyone who likes the flavor.
To get the best taste from cumin seeds, dry roast them in a small pan, then grind into a powder. With sweet, bitter, pungent, and light aspects, cumin complements tomato-based dishes. It is a basic spice in both the Vata and Kapha diets, more so than for Pitta.
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