The following is a great article from Russell James: “The Raw Chef”
Pierrette & I enjoy his vision and his attitude towards raw foods. We have done it and we know how it feels to feel great all of the time. So many of you do not understand or share our common goals but, just bear with us. Well, we will let him explain it, here goes….
You’ll Create Your Own Dishes
You may have heard chefs or anyone involved in making food talking about the ‘5 flavours’.
They are: sweet; sour; salty; bitter; and pungent.
The theory is that to balance a recipe (whether it’s a raw food recipe or a conventional recipe) everything you make should have at least one of these flavours.
If you know anyone involved Ayurvedic nutrition they will also add the 6th one to that list: astringent.
But whereas chefs use the 5 flavours to create a balanced taste in their raw food recipes, Ayurvedic practitioners will use the 6 flavours to balance the ‘doshas’ (and therefore nutrition) using taste as the road map for the body’s natural wisdom…
Sweet: Builds tissues and calms nerves.
Sour: Cleanses tissues, increases absorption of minerals
Salty: Improves food taste, lubricates tissues, stimulates digestion
Bitter: Detoxifies and lightens tissues
Pungent: Stimulates digestion and metabolism
Astringent: Absorbs water, tightens tissue, dries fats.
To build on this in raw food recipes, and to ensure that all the food we make tastes good, we can simplify even further down to just 4 elements.
- Fat: Coats the tongue and carries flavours evenly over the taste buds. Fats tend to be very satiating so if you’re left feeling like you need something more after eating and that it didn’t quite hit the spot you may need to add a little more fat next time.
- Acid: Acids counterbalance the sweet flavours in a dish.What does that mean? It means that there’s a very close relationship between acids and sweet flavours, particularly in a raw food recipe where all the flavours are so intricate.To illustrate this point, if you take a drink such as lemonade and imagine adding extra lemon (acid) even just a little too much will make it too acidic.If you also imagine adding too much sweetness (usually sugar in a traditional recipe) it will combine with the acid to be very sickly-sweet.
“Counter balancing the acid and sweet flavours” sounds like a very fancy thing to say, especially if you’re not a raw food chef, but really all it means is being aware of both those elements in relationship to each other when tasting a new raw food recipe.
3.Salt:Salt wilts produce it comes into contact with by opening the cells walls and releasing the water. This works in conjunction with fats that then carry the flavour into the open cells.
This is why when we massage salt into cruciferous vegetables they very quickly start to give off water and become much softer.If you’ve ever made sauerkraut from a raw food recipe (ie. not the pasteurised one you will get in the shops) you’ll have seen the wilting effect of salt on produce first hand; as you massage the salt into the cabbage water literally starts to pour from it.
This leaves it much more tender, which is more pleasing to eat, and it also is then ready to receive others flavours having opened its cells and given off that water.
4. Sweet: Sweet ingredients can cut (lessen the effect) of an acid or bitter taste. However, if you are going to leave one thing out of a recipe it may be the sweet element.But it’s also quite interesting how adding a little sweetness to even a savoury dish can really lift the whole recipe.
This is especially true of people that aren’t used to eating raw food. Because of the amount of refined sugar that’s in everything mass-produced now, people’s taste buds are so used to sugar. A larger intake of raw food will change the taste buds over time so someone can be weaned off their food addictions.
So if we think of each of those 4 elements as a leg of a table that supports the top, by taking any of those legs away we get a less than stable table. And thus if we don’t include each one of those elements in our food recipes and preparation we’ll end up with an unstable (and unsatisfying) raw food recipe.
Examples of each of the flavours
Here’s a fairly comprehensive but not exhaustive list of each of those flavours and the foods we can use to fill that particular need in a raw food recipe.
Fats: Nuts & seeds, Olive oil, Macadamia oil, Avocado oil, Flax oil, Avocados, Olives, Nut butter,Coconut
Acids: Lemons, Limes, Grapefruit, Orange, Balsamic vinegar (not usually raw),Raw Apple cider vinegar (raw versions will have the ‘mother’ culture still in them),Sauerkraut, Kimchee
Salt: Himalayan salt, Celtic salt (or any other high-quality non-bleached salt), Olives, Dark miso, Light miso, Sun-dried tomatoes, Sun-dried tomato soak water, Nama shoyu/Tamari
If you’re substituting actual salt in a recipe and are wondering, for example, how much tamari to substitute it for just go by taste; start with a small amount and build up from there, knowing that your taste buds will get used to salt quite quickly so bear that in mind when seasoning to taste.
Substituting Elements To Make Your Own Recipes
So your first place to start creating a raw food recipe is to take a recipe you already have and substitute a fat for a fat, and acid for an acid, a sweet for a sweet and salt for a salt.
- So instead of using cashews in recipes you might use avocado (a fat for a fat). Or you might substitute lemon juice for orange juice (an acid for an acid).
This is not part of the fat, acid, salt & sweet combination, but you could also start to think about switching astringent items such as onions. Instead of a white onion you might use red, or go for a milder spring onion (scallion or green onion), or even go milder still with some chives. You could also use a leek instead.
- So get into the kitchen and start experimenting with your own raw food recipes. I’m certain that once you’ve built come confidence substituting in the way I just described you’ll be showing off your own creations to family and friends in no time at all, and wondering why you ever had to reply on other people’s raw food recipes at all.
Click here: To find out much more.You decide. Just look at the following pages and start today.
Pierre & Pierrette Trudel
Founders of Thee Quest