By: Amadea Morningstar RPP, RPE
Pumfu is a high-protein plant-based food made of ground organic pumpkin seeds and water, that’s it. It’s minimally-processed, pressed into a cube like tofu, and lightly packaged. In our area, we find it sold in the refrigerator section next to the tofu. Unlike tofu, it’s pale green, made by Foodies Vegan, LINK a family-owned company in Cincinnati, Ohio. It has as much protein (17 gms/serving) as firm tofu, yet considerably more fat, less fat than cheese, yet equivalent to nuts. Our household is quite fond of it.
Herbes de Provence is a traditional French blend of savory, thyme, rosemary, basil, tarragon, and lavender flowers. It’s lovely for all doshas and somehow does quite well with pumfu.
If pumfu isn’t available in your area, there really isn’t any equivalently flavored food to substitute. I’d say, try to lure it to your local market. If you’ve got the urge, you could make this recipe without the pumfu as a simple veggie side dish. It’s friendly.
PUMFU STEW: A UNIQUE VEGGIE ENTREE
Time: 15 – 20 minutes
Nice in spring, autumn, winter
Health Building, Vegetarian, Plant-Based
8 oz organic pumfu, original, from Foodies Vegan
2 Tablespoons chopped onion, sweet or red
2 – 3 cups colorful local veggies of your liking
1 – 2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence herb blend
1 – 1 ½ cups water
½ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, organic coconut oil, or Miyoko cultured vegan butter
Prep the pumfu and the veggies: rinse the pumfu and cube into 1” pieces. Wash your veggies and chop them into bite-sized pieces. For color, cubed carrots or yam are nice. In spring I’ll pair these with broccoli, Swiss chard, zucchini, or collards. In winter, our favorite is Brussels sprouts cut in half, all by themselves.
Bring the water and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Put in the harder veggies first that could take up to 10 minutes to simmer to tenderness: carrot, collards, or Brussels sprouts. Add the pumfu and chopped onion, sprinkle with the Herbes de Provence, cover, cook on medium heat about 10 minutes.
Alternatively, if you have chosen a veggie that cooks faster, like broccoli, zucchini, or Swiss chard, put the pumfu, chopped onion, and Herbes de Provence in first, simmer 5 minutes, then add the veggies and cook another 5 minutes or until tender to your liking. It’s a merciful dish, comes together kindly.
Serve, garnishing with a drizzle of oil or a pat of Miyoko.
Effects: calms Vata (Air & Space) and Pitta (Fire & Water), fine for Kapha (Earth & Water) once per week.
About the Three Principles in food and the Mahagunas in general and in this dish: Sattvic foods are fresh and freshly prepared, considered soothing and clearing to the mind in Ayurveda. They are valued in Ayurveda for both cleansing and building.In Polarity Therapy, sattva embodies the neutral air principle. Your local farmers’ market or produce section has a wide selection of sattvic foods. The veggies in this recipe are sattvic. Pumpkin itself is sattvic.
Pumpkin seeds, on the other hand, are a concentrated source of protein with a warming post-digestive effect. They have a rajasic impact, fortifying and good for hard work. Rajas in Polarity Therapy is called the fire principle.
Foods that have been processed and stored for days after making in the refrigerator or freezer have more tamasic effects, grounding yet potentially dulling. In Polarity Therapy, tamas relates to the water principle. Freshly made dal would be sattvic (if you digest it easily), leftover dal rajasic, a dal that’s sat refrigerated a number of days, tamasic. From this perspective, much of what we eat is fairly tamasic, including this virtuous organic pumfu, or its inspirator tofu. Yet – I’d factor in pumfu’s sustainability, how kind it is to the planet, and its mild effects on the mind relative to say, a fast-food meal. I use it for building or maintenance with gladness.
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Learn more about the Three Principles, the Mahagunas in Food here: