My Pantry Essentials: How an Ayurvedic Chef Makes Cooking Easier (and More Thoughtful)

woman cooking

We discovered British Ayurvedic chef Radhi Devlukia on Instagram: With her video recipes for iced
tahini matcha lattes, charred turmeric fennel, and Japanese squash burgers (many set to music with TikTok-inspired
dance breaks), Devlukia makes cooking look spirited, fun, and very delicious. There’s a secret to it, she says: Be

Now living in LA with her husband, Devlukia regularly creates plant-based Ayurvedic-inspired recipes
for many platforms, including her website, and she designs the menu at the vegan restaurant OmNom in London. Her mindset took years to cultivate, she says: “I was always intrigued with
cooking and loved eating, obviously,” she says. “I grew up in an Indian household in London—my mum and my grandma
have always been such incredible cooks—so whether it was a festival or a birthday, food was the center of
everything. Though I grew quite overweight when I was younger, I eventually got to a place where I wanted to be
healthier. I knew there must be a way that food could heal my body, where I didn’t have to cut things out or deprive
myself of anything.”

Devlukia studied nutrition in college, then, around seven years ago, she began focusing on Ayurveda.
“It was just incredible to learn how certain foods react so differently in different bodies,” she says. Devlukia
received her Ayurvedic health counselor degree last year. “I fell in love with the concept that every single thing
we do—from eating to cooking to how we prepare our vegetables—can affect our digestion, sometimes even more than
what we’re eating,” she says. “It’s the intention we eat with that’s important: If you’re distracted while you’re
eating or talking a lot or having negative thoughts, all of that can affect your digestion. So I make sure to infuse
mindful energy into the food. It’s nourishing to have that mindset while I’m cooking.” Having all the right tools on
hand makes space for that mindfulness, Devlukia says—here are her favorites.

  1. 1

    The right knife makes
    all the difference

    “A good set of knives makes you feel like a chef when you get into the kitchen. And whether you’re chopping
    vegetables, slicing bread, or getting into the hard things, like pumpkins and root vegetables, it makes you
    more efficient.”

    Sori Yanagi Essential Kitchen Knife Set

    Sori Yanagi
    Essential Kitchen Knife Set
    goop, $400


  2. 2

    A blender eases digestion

    “In Ayurveda, it’s said that bananas can create a lot of mucus, so I use avocado as my base to make smoothies
    thick and creamy and rich. I have a recipe on my website with raw cacao, avocado, and almond butter that’s
    quite an indulgent, exciting one, and another that combines avocado, coconut meat, and pineapple for something
    more tropical. Ice-cold items can slow down your digestion. I know people like frozen fruits in
    smoothies, but ideally you can use fruits you have out in your fruit basket or in the fridge. The no-ice
    principle is a great one to live by.”

    Vitamix Vitamix Ascent Series 3500 Blender

    Vitamix Ascent Series 3500 Blender
    goop, $600


  3. 3

    Adaptogens save the day

    “Every day, I take some sort of adaptogen, like ashwagandha or triphala, which is great for digestion. If
    you’ve had a night with a heavy meal, triphala can really help with getting your digestion started again.”

    Organic India Triphala

    Organic India
    goop, $22


  4. 4

    Go big with chopping boards

    “I use a large wooden chopping board; stuff always ends up rolling off the side of the small ones. I like
    when the colors of the food go into a wood chopping board—it feels used, but in this wonderful rustic way.
    It’s a nice visual.”

    The Wooden Palate Lip Cutting Board

    The Wooden Palate
    Lip Cutting Board
    goop, $535


  5. 5

    Simplify salads

    “I love this for cheese, carrots, beets. Sometimes salads can feel like a lot to chew—grating harder
    vegetables makes them easier to digest.”

    Microplane Box Grater

    Box Grater
    goop, $40


  6. 6

    Zest is indeed zesty

    “I started using a zester for baking a couple months ago, and it has changed my life. The zest of a
    fruit—lemon, lime, orange—is more potent and flavorful than the fruit itself. I make an orange cashew coconut
    cream to go with a lot of the sweets I make. I also use zest for decoration—I dry it and the color just

    Microplane Premium Classic Zester

    Premium Classic Zester
    goop, $15


  7. 7

    Spatulas prevent food waste

    “I don’t like wasting food. Whenever I would make a sauce or take stuff out of Tupperware, my mum would say,
    ‘You left so much in there—there’s enough for another whole serving!’ From when I was young, she drilled into
    me that a spatula can get every last bit of food left in a food processor, blender, or pan. Get a variety of
    sizes: The skinny ones are great for getting smoothies from blenders.”

    RIG-TIG by Stelton Pastry Spatula

    RIG-TIG by Stelton
    Pastry Spatula
    goop, $19


  8. 8

    Nonstick has got to be nontoxic

    “I absolutely love GreenPan: Nothing sticks to them, they’re beautiful, they’ve got such a clean finish on
    the inside and beautiful colors on the outside, and they’re not toxic—the coating is derived from sand. If
    you’re investing in anything, invest in a good set of pans. It can affect the taste of the food and also
    whatever else is creeping into your food.”

    GreenPan Valencia Pro Ceramic Non-Stick Cookware, 11-Piece Set

    Valencia Pro Ceramic Non-Stick
    Cookware, 11-Piece Set

    goop, $300


  9. 9

    First thing: hot water
    with black pepper

    “I like the old-school feel of a stove-top kettle. Every morning when I wake up, I have a mug of hot water
    with a sprinkle of cracked black pepper in it. It really helps stimulate my digestion. It’s a great thing to
    start your day with—it’s my morning pick-me-up.”

    Staub Kettle

    goop, $180


  10. 10

    Hand-crush your spices

    “I have three drawers full of spices in my kitchen. I love buying them in their natural form—even my black
    pepper is whole peppercorns for more flavor. Sometimes I crush up cardamom in my smoothies, too. It’s another
    step, but I’m trying to be present with every step of the cooking. Everything is so readily available now,
    which is great if you’re rushed for time, but I quite like seeing the whole form of spices and breaking them
    down myself. It also feels a lot more traditional—it’s how my ancestors probably did it.”

No-Recipe Recipe

Radhi’s Date, Almond Butter, and Dark Chocolate Snacks

“Every time I want a sweet treat, I’ll cut open a date and stuff it with almond butter and a piece of dark

  1. 1 cup almond butter, cashew butter, pistachio butter, sunflower-seed butter, or chopped or crushed nuts
  2. 15 to 20 medjool dates
  3. ½ bar dark chocolate or monk fruit chocolate
  1. 1. Make a careful incision in 1 side of the date and pop the pit out.
  2. 2. Stuff with almond butter (or your filling of choice) using a little spoon or your fingers.
  3. 3. Finish by inserting a piece of chocolate, or melt it on top if you’re really treating yourself!