Chicken and Avocado Salad with Thai flavors

  When salads are your whole meal, you want to pack a lot of punch in it. At least I do.  Most days for lunch I will have some left over protein from dinner the previous night – usually some fish or chicken and then I just eat that along with some lettuce and celery. I don’t even bother chopping the lettuce or celery since – hey what does it matter, my teeth can do that 🙂

But somedays I get motivated. To create something fancier. Fancy meaning not as in ‘gourmet’ or ‘classy restaurant’.  Fancy as in ‘whatever makes me happy’ 🙂 I had been making broth with chicken legs the previous day and had added some kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass to the pot along with my usual spices of whole black pepper and bay leaves.  The broth came out very tasty and the chicken legs gave out a lot of meat which I saved up for my salad.  Now as I opened the container of the chicken pieces, the smell of kaffir lime and lemongrass was still lingering and reeled my senses. hmm…I got transported to ‘Thai’ world or Thai..land rather!

So I decided to just continue with that theme and make a flavorful and colorful salad out of it.!  I guess I was thinking of the ‘Thai Larb gai’ (which I totally love!) although what I ended up with was not similar to that although you could say that some things were common like the lemongrass and lime flavor.

For my dressing, I just decided to mix Lemon juice, ginger and honey  which further accentuated the already ‘flavorful’ chicken. And Avocados and pomegranate went in to do their ‘colorful’ bit! And voila, within 15 mins I had this beautiful looking and fantastic smelling chicken salad looking at me. Last minute I decided to quickly make some instant pickled onions and throw them as a garnish!  The salad was just perfect!  It seemed like a large plate but oh the flavors were so good I just couldn’t stop eating and cleaned up the entire plate!

Chicken Salad with Thai flavors
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad, paleo
Cuisine: Fusion, Thai
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1-2
 
A delicious, flavorful salad consisting of Chicken pieces cooked with thai spices, fresh avocados and pomegranate with a honey ginger lemon dressing
Ingredients
  • 2 cups shredded chicken pieces( see below for cooking method)
  • ½ of a ripe avocado
  • ¼ cup pomegranate arils
  • ½ cup shredded lettuce
For dressing
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger grated or ginger juice
  • handful of pickled red onions (see recipe below)
For cooking chicken:
  • chicken thigh pieces or chicken leg pieces 4-6
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon grass, chopped
  • 2-3 fresh kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 inch by 1 inch fresh ginger, cut into thin rounds
  • 2 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 4-6 whole black peppercorns
For pickling onions:
  • ½ of a red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp coconut oil, melted
  • pinch salt
Instructions
  1. First cook the chicken by adding all the ingredients listed under 'For cooking chicken' in a large pot and slow cook covered for about 20-30 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and after cooling, take the chicken pieces out and shred them. Reserve the chicken broth after straining to get rid of the spices.
  3. Mix all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and keep aside.
  4. Mix all the ingredients listed under 'pickling onions' in a small bowl and using your fingers crush the onion pieces a bit. Keep aside.
  5. For assembling the salad, arrange the chicken pieces with the lettuce, avocado and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle the dressing on top and scatter the pickled onion slices on top!

 

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Apple Beet Cucumber Multigrain Paratha (ABC Paratha) with homemade apple chutney

 

He He … ABC Paratha, isn’t that a fun name? Its an interesting story how this particular paratha was conceived in my kitchen. So you see, of late I have been juicing regularly using a variety of vegetables and fruits.  I would always feel upset about throwing away all the pulp since there is so much fiber (and also nutrients) left in the pulp after you juice.  At least my Breville juicer does not really compact my veggies and fruits and so I know there is still a lot of good stuff left in that pulp. What I would do is freeze the pulp and then put it in smoothies and soups.

Then one fine day while I was making methi parathas for my kiddos, a light bulb went on and I said to myself – Hey, next time I an use some of that juice pulp!  And so as it happened , the next time I used Apples, beets, cucumber and celery for making my juice. I faithfully gathered the pulp and saved it for making parathas the following day.  The next day as the kids came home from school, there were these warm, pink parathas ready for them.  They both devoured the parathas.  They loved it! I did not tell them what was in them nor did they bother to ask!  So after that day I kept making such parathas frequently and this combination with the apple, beets and the cucumber was the one they loved the best. One day I had added grapefruit too and that gave a bitter taste which they complained about. So Ok no grapefruit business. let’s stick to the ABC and let’s call it the ABC paratha.

So now this paratha has become a regular in our house along with the methi thepla. Over the past few weeks I experimented further with these parathas adding ragi flour (finger millet flour) and flaxseed meal to replace part of the whole wheat flour. The kids continued to love it. Isn’t that the best thing? When you make them such healthy, wholesome food and they enjoy it?

Btw, I make this paratha now by using freshly grated apples, beets and cucumber even on the days I am not juicing:) And I serve these parathas with my homemade apple and date chutney, which is also a cinch to make and my daughter and my favorite chutney since it is sweet, tangy and spicy. My daughter loves the combination – of this paratha with the apple chutney.  I think they perfectly complement each other.

Apple Beet Cucumber Multigrain Parantha
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, snack,lunch
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
 
Sweet and Savory paratha (Indian flatbread) made of whole wheat and millet flour and stuffed with grated apples, beets and cucumber
Ingredients
  • ½ cup grated apple (about ½ of a medium peeled apple)
  • ¼ cup grated red beets(after peeling the skin)
  • ¼ cup grated cucumber (skin peeled)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder(cayenne pepper)
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp ajwain seeds (carom seeds)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup Ragi flour (finger millet flour)
  • 1 tbsp flax seed meal
  • about ¾ cup water to knead the dough
  • extra ghee or olive oil for cooking paranthas
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, add the grated beets, apple and cucumber. then add the salt and all the spices and the oil.
  2. Next add the whole wheat flour, the rage flour and the flexed meal and the oil and start mixing together. Add water slowly until you get a smooth dough. (Add additional bit of flour or water as needed)
  3. Divide the dough into small golf ball size balls - about 20 balls.
  4. Heat a frying pan on medium heat.
  5. Take each dough ball and roll using chapati rolling pin into a round chapati shape (about 5-6 inches diameter) - use flour as needed to prevent dough from sticking to the rolling surface.
  6. Place the chapati onto the heated pan and cook for 1 minute. Flip and apply oil or ghee to the chapati and let cook for about 30 seconds and then again flip to the other side. Apply oil/ghee to this side too and again flip to let cook for another 30-40 seconds or until both sides are cooked and have brown spots on top. Transfer to a container to keep warm. Continue making the rest of the parathas the same way.

 

For the recipe of Apple and Date Chutney, Click here

Btw Happy Holi to all those who celebrate! I started writing this post and realized it was Holi. In maharashtra we make stuffed lentil parathas called Puran Poli for Holi. These Pink parathas I made I thought could also be very apt for Holi  don’t you think so? 🙂

Linking today’s recipe to Plant Based Potluck Party  and to Saucy Saturday this week.

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Apricot Coconut Balls (Vegan, Paleo)

I have been ‘refined sugar’ free for more than a year now and tell you what…I don’t miss it at all!  In fact I feel so awful that I was eating all that unnecessary refined sugar all these years.  Once you go completely sugar free you will start reaching out for the natural sugars as in fruits, dried fruits and other natural products like honey and maple syrup.  And the best thing is that the natural products do not give you a sugar rush plus they all provide beneficial nutrients to your body in addition to just sweetness.

But sometimes you do crave for sweets because you crave for that texture.  For example even though I have not felt deprived for the most part, I sometimes have this craving for Indian sweets like coconut barfi (fudge) or coconut ladoo (sweetened balls)!  That’s when I began to experiment.  I made date, almond and coconut rolls which are absolutely delicious and are now a permanent snack in my home – my son just loves them! My Date nut truffles are also equally amazing and so decadent they feel like an absolute treat!  I also made a dates and Nut Barfi (fudge) with dates, almonds and walnuts and that is again absolutely delicious with the gooey fudge texture.

So two weeks ago my cravings for texture meant I had to experiment again since I am on the Autoimmune protocol diet and so I cannot do nuts either.  So I scratched my brains and scanned the available items for me in my pantry and apricots and dates were the winners!. I really wanted something that had a texture like a coconut ladoo and so that made me come up with these apricot coconut balls.  Oh boy, the texture of these balls are amazing. The coconut flour just gives it the soft but dense texture that I was craving for! And that’s not all – it gets even better! OK so all you need for this recipe are just 3 ingredients! Yes! Dried Apricots, Dates and coconut flour. And Shredded Coconut to roll them in.

And yes you do need a food processor. These balls came together in less than 15 minutes though from start to finish. The first time I made it, I had made a very small experimental batch and I could make around 8 balls and they were all gone in 2 days! And that was just me eating all of them!  SO then of course I had to make them again. And again. You see I had to perfect the recipe too so I could share with you guys 🙂

I used lemon zest the first time to get an additional burst of flavor and that gave a wonderful freshness to the balls.  The second time I tried cardamom powder so that I could get the taste to be very close to the Indian coconut ladoo.  I loved that too. SO you can pick your flavor. Maybe you will come up with some additional ideas. Even if you don’t add anything the apricots give it enough flavor already. If you are 100% AIP compliant then you cannot do cardamom.  Over the past one month I have been able to add all my spices (Indian) back to my diet without much complaints. So I am ecstatic. And completely blissful when I eat these apricot coconutties!

Linking this recipe to the Plant based Potluck party Link up this week!

Apricot Coconut Balls (Vegan, Paleo)
Author: 
Recipe type: Healthy Snack
Cuisine: Raw, Vegan, Paleo
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
 
Delicious and healthy treat made of dried apricots, dates and coconut
Ingredients
  • 10 Apricots
  • 10 Dates
  • ½ cup warm water for soaking
  • About ½ cup coconut flour (I used 'Let's Do Organic' brand)
  • ¼ tsp zest of one organic lemon (or ¼ tsp cardamom powder)
  • ½ cup shredded coconut for rolling (I used 'Let's do organic' brand)
Instructions
  1. Soak the dates in a small bowl in the warm water for about 10 minutes.
  2. In a food processor bowl, add the apricots and the dates along with the water used for soaking. You should get a thick pasty mixture.
  3. AT this stage, transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and add the coconut flour and the lemon zest or cardamom powder to it.
  4. Mix the coconut flour with the apricot date mixture using a spatula or your hands to form a smooth non sticky dough. (You may need to add slightly more coconut flour if your dough is sticky)
  5. Roll the dough into small balls and roll in shredded coconut
Notes
You could add the coconut flour also to the food processor and form the dough in it.
For AIP compliant, use only lemon zest and no cardamom

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Beef Cutlets with a crispy coconut crust (Paleo)

Beef Cutlets are a specialty of Kerala’s Christian community.  Growing up in Mumbai, we had ‘Mallu (short for malayalee which in turn means someone who belongs to Kerala 🙂 ) Christian’ neighbors.  Kunjimol aunty always hosted great parties – be it Christmas or Easter or her kids’ birthday parties! One of the appetizer dishes was always these crispy and spicy beef cutlets! We all loved them! Our parents did not eat much beef however even they liked these cutlets perhaps because ground beef is used to make them and the nice flavors from the ginger, garlic and other spices makes the beef very delicious. And then the best part is the crispy coating that the beef patty gets from the bread crumbs!  Pan fry or deep fry these babies and serve them with either ketchup or a sweet spicy sauce and they are gone in seconds!

My mom who actually never cooked beef regularly at home did learn this recipe from Aunty. I am so glad she did! And so over the years I have made cutlets the same way using either ground chicken or beef. And they are always a crowd pleaser!  However now being on a paleo diet for the past year, I hadn’t eaten any cutlets in a while 🙁

And this had to change…and so this is how it happened. I had some cooked ground beef leftover in my fridge.  So one fine afternoon when I was really really hungry and was really craving for something really really satisfying , the image of beef cutlets popped into my head!  At first I brushed it off thinking there was no way I would be able to make a paleo version! And that too an eggless paleo version since I am sensitive to eggs too! But then necessity is indeed the mother of invention, right? 🙂 🙂

And so in about 30 minutes I had these crispy beef cutlets with a coconut crust that were ‘melt in your mouth’ delicious!  I gorged about 3 of them and had to stop myself from eating more!

So how did I do it? What were the substitutions? Well first for the potato, I subbed yucca (cassava). Incidentally I also had some leftover boiled yucca in the fridge. How convenient was that! Then for the crust part, I used shredded coconut and tapioca starch slurry. These came out so delicious. My kids ate the rest of the cutlets as a snack when they came back from school! The yucca made the cutlets somehow feel more richer than when you use potato.

Reading the recipe you might think its too time consuming but that can be easily rectified if you plan to make the kheema curry beforehand i.e. cook the ground beef with spices.  This kheema curry can be eaten with a salad on the side. That is one of my regular Paleo meals.SO once you have some leftover kheema then making these cutlets is a cinch! Either way guys this is totally worth the effort!

Linking to Saucy Saturday this week.

Beef Cutlets with a crispy coconut crust (Paleo)
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer, main course
Cuisine: Kerala, Fusion
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
 
Paleo version of the Indian Beef cutlets made from ground beef and yucca cooked with Indian spices and coated with shredded coconut and shallow fried in coconut oil
Ingredients
Precooking the Beef:
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2-4 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cumin powder (omit for AIP version)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder (cayenne pepper) (Omit for AIP version)
  • 1 bay leaf
For making kheema
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
  • ½ of a medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder (sub cilantro leaves for AIP version)
  • 1 tsp garam masala (skip for AIP version)
For the cutlets:
  • about 1 cup of boiled yucca (cassava or kappa) pieces, mashed well
  • 2 tbsp of tapioca starch (tapioca flour)
  • ½ cup dry shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil for pan frying
Instructions
  1. Add all the ingredients under 'pre cooking the beef' into a pressure cooker (or an ordinary pot with a tight fitting lid) and cook for 3 whistles. If not using a cooker, you need to add about ¼ cup water.let cool and keep aside.
  2. In a sauté pan, add the oil and add the onion, garlic and ginger and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until the onions get softened and you get the cooked smell of ginger and garlic. Next add the coriander powder and garam masala and stir for a minute.
  3. Next add the cooked ground beef to this onion mixture and let cook together for 4-5 minutes or until all water is gone.
  4. Let this kheema mixture cool nicely before you start making the cutlets.
  5. For making the cutlets, take a large mixing bowl and add the cooled kheema (beef mixture) and the mashed yucca pieces.
  6. Make patties out of this mixture and keep aside.
  7. Place shredded coconut in a plate and in a small bowl mix the tapioca starch with about 2 tbsp water to form a slurry
  8. Next Taking one patty at a time, dip the patty first into the tapioca slurry and then coat with the shredded coconut. Place the coated patty onto a plate. Repeat similarly for all of the patties.
  9. Heat a non stick frying pan and add the coconut oil to it.
  10. When the oil is hot, turn heat to medium and shallow fry the patties until both sides turn golden brown!
  11. Transfer to paper towels to remove excess oil and serve warm!
Notes
For an AIP compliant version, omit all the spices as indicated above in the recipe

 

 

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Carrot Cake Smoothie

Since my recent post on smoothies, many folks have continued to ask me for ideas on different combinations of veggies and fruits that I use. And so I thought of creating a new post for every smoothie that turns out to be really spectacular!  When it comes to food (and drinks), I always love to experiment! That breaks up the monotony – of both – the task of cooking/making it as well as eating/drinking it!  So every morning as I slide into my kitchen and get the blender out, I mentally survey all the fresh fruits I have on hand and the ones in the freezer and go about trying new combinations. One thing I like to do is to pair fruits with similar colors together – this gives a great color impact.  And that’s what I decided to do the other morning. I have also decided to make it a point to add at least one vegetable to my morning smoothie so that it becomes extra nutritious!

So I decided to go with carrots this time. Papayas seem to be a perfect pairing with the carrots in terms of the color. And then banana and avocado for the creaminess! Yum.  As I started making it, I thought of ‘Carrot cake’ and so decided to add some spice to it – a bit of fresh ginger and then pumpkin spice!  I also had a bot of coconut cream left so I added that too towards the end but even without that the smoothie came out absolutely delicious! Such a beautiful and colorful way to start the day 🙂

Linking this healthy smoothie recipe to Plant-Based Potluck Party Link Up and Saucy Saturday

Carrot Cake Smoothie
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: International
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1-2
 
A delicious blend of carrots with papaya,banana and avocado with a dash of coconut cream and spiced with ginger and pumpkin pie spice
Ingredients
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 cup ripe papaya, chopped
  • ½ of a ripe avocado
  • ½ of a banana
  • about a ½ inch by ½ inch piece of fresh ginger (or 1 tsp dry ginger powder)
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (or all spice)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tbsp coconut milk (or coconut cram) - optional
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients in a high power blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into a tall serving glass.

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