We all will agree that good food plays an important role in making a great party! Out of all the food categories, I think that a great appetizer is very important in making a party memorable! Hors d’oeuvres are actually the star of a party. Early arrivals to stragglers all tend to look at the starters with great enthusiasm. So whenever I throw a party, I pay special attention to what I should make for appes!
I generally go with one vegetarian and and one non vegetarian option. And chicken or seafood is a favorite one on the non vegetarian side. Every summer we throw a party around August. You see August is a special month in our house since both my children and my birthdays fall in August! Yeah my husband is the odd guy out 🙂 So anyways, speaking of our annual party, I start getting excited as soon as summer begins and I try pinning recipes on Pinterest – birthday cake recipes, dessert recipes as well as appetizer recipes.! So last weekend we finally had this party and I had been wanting to try this chicken teriyaki meatballs recipe that I had pinned. However the recipe had breadcrumbs and other ingredients that were not paleo. So I decided to create a paleo version of these ‘Chicken teriyaki meatballs’. Came out perfect even without any breadcrumbs and best part is that these are baked so you don’t need to spend any time deep frying or pan frying them!
These meatballs are sweet and spicy with a smoky flavor (baking in the oven gives them a nice flavor). I added a mix of Indian and other Asian spices – also added an unusual ingredient – crushed pineapple for some sweetness. Everyone enjoyed these meatballs at the party with the kiddos absolutely loving them!
Sweet and Spicy Chicken Meatballs (Gluten Free, Paleo)
Author: Indira Shyju
Recipe type: Appetizers
Cuisine: Fusion, Asian
Sweet and spicy chicken meatballs made with ground chicken using asian spices and covered with a hot and sweet teriyaki style sauce
For the meatballs:
About 2lbs (1 kg) ground Chicken (chicken kheema), thawed completely
1 small red onion, chopped fine
5 large garlic cloves, chopped fine
One 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, chopped fine
½ cup of fresh cilantro, chopped fine
½ cup of spring onions (scallions), chopped fine
2 green chillies, chopped very fine - seeds removed (optional)
½ cup pineapple pieces, finely chopped(optional)
2 tsp Kashmiri Chilli powder
1½ tsp sea salt (or per taste)
1 tbsp coconut oil
For the sauce:
½ cup coconut aminos (or soy sauce for non Paleo)
½ cup honey (or maple syrup)
1 cup pineapple juice (from can of pineapple) or orange juice or lemon juice
½ tsp kashmiri chilli powder (or red chili flakes)
1 tbsp garlic, chopped fine
1 tbsp ginger, chopped fine
1 tsp tapioca starch mixed with ¼ cup water
Pre-heat oven to 500 deg F. Line a large baking tray with Al foil and brush it with coconut oil or olive oil.
In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients listed under 'For meatballs' and mix well using your hands to form a smooth well-blended mixture. Shape into smooth round balls and place on the tray. (you may need to use two trays or do in batches)
Bake in the oven at 500 deg F (lower rack) for a total of 10-12 mins. Half-way i.e. after about 5 mins or so, flip them so they get browned on both sides. (be very careful while flipping as the oven and the tray will be very hot)
While the meatballs are baking, you can make the sauce. Add all sauce ingredients except the tapioca starch slurry in a medium cooking pot and stir for about 3-4 mins. When it begins to bubble, add the tapioca flour mixed with water and try heat to low. Stir continuously until mixture thickens. Turn heat off.
Just before serving, pour the sauce over the meatballs and mix slowly to coat the meatballs in sauce. Serve warm!
Make sure the chicken is fully thawed before you start mixing with the other ingredients. Also make sure there is no water in the chicken. You can also deep fry or pan fry the meatballs instead of baking in the oven.
As I have mentioned many times before, we are all seafood lovers in our family. My son when he was younger, he loved to stick his nose inside the fresh seafood counter over at the Asian supermarket. He loves the smell of seafood so much 🙂 We usually get different varieties of fish and also shrimp. Crabs and lobsters are much rarer since they require some amount of work. One thing we have been getting more of lately is squid. We love it fried – Fried calamari. And you may recall a few months ago I made a grain free, paleo version of fried calamari with shredded coconut which was awesome. I have also made a gluten free chick pea batter version of fried calamari before. And then I make a spicy sauté Kerala style with red chillies and coconut chips.
Today I am posting yet another way to make squid – yes you can use squid and calamari interchangeably they mean one and the same thing! Calamari is the Italian name for squid. This recipe uses grated coconut and yet it has a fairly moderate amount of heat using red chillies and black pepper. There is slight tanginess to this dish which is brought on by the addition of Kodampuli (Kokum) which is a special kind of sour dried fruit. If you cannot get your hands on this ingredient, substitute some lime/lemon juice in its place.
Btw, I feel so lucky that I do not need to clean the squid since it comes already cleaned here where I purchase it from. If your squid does not come like that, you can look up videos on youtube where they show you how to clean it. Do try this recipe and let me know how you like it!
Squid Stir fry with coconut (Koonthal thoran)
Tasty Squid/Calamari spicy stir fried with aromatic spices and fresh grated coconut.
Main Course, Side Dish
1pound (lb)squid, cleaned
1 tbspchopped garlic
1 tbspchopped ginger
2no.green chilliesslit length-wise
4-5no.fresh curry leaves
1tspred chilli powder (cayenne pepper)or as needed
2tsp fennel powderfreshly roasted
1/2 tspsaltor as needed
1cupgrated coconutfresh or frozen(thawed)
1no.kodampuli (kokum)soaked in 1/4 cup warm water for 10 mins
1tspblack pepper powderfreshly powdered
Cut the squid into 1/2 inch thin rounds. Remove as much water as possible from them using paper towels.
Heat the coconut oil in a medium size kadai (wok style pan) and add the sliced onions. Stir for 1 minute.
Add the chopped garlic, ginger, green chillies and curry leaves and stir for 2 mins.
Now add all the spice powders and salt. Add the squid pieces and stir to coat the squid with all the onion and spice mixture. Cover with a lid and let cook for about 5 mins on medium heat.
Open lid and add the grated coconut and the kodampuli(kokum) and its water. Also add the black pepper powder and stir well. Cover and cook for another 5 mins on low heat.
Now open lid and cook uncovered stirring occasionally for another 5 mins or so until very little water is left. Turn heat off. Drizzle fresh coconut oil on top before serving.
If you don't have Kodampuli(kokum), you can use a dash of lemon juice instead for tanginess.
Being a Keralan at heart, I always loved eating fish and all seafood. So incredibly tasty! And also so light on the stomach. This is the best part now on my Paleo diet. I eat fish 80% of the time for my protein and hence I am constantly looking out for new recipes. Well I have quite a bit of a stash of Kerala fish recipes but still any new fish recipe I see, I must try it! The recipe I am sharing today was developed due to that. I watched some youtube videos of street food vendors making fish fry and I saw one recipe that sent me salivating at midnight!
Fish first marinated in a mint and cilantro green masala and then deep fried by coating in a thick flour batter. All though mouthwatering, I needed to test grain free alternatives to flour. So the first time I tried by using tapioca starch. the coating was crispy however it didn’t hold well and came off easily. So this second time around, I decided to use cassava flour (which is also tapioca flour but it has all the fiber retained in it and hence its texture is different from tapioca starch which is more like corn starch). I added a bit of tapioca starch too to give some additional crispiness.
Pleased to present the recipe for Dhaba Style Masala Fish fry – paleo version! For non-paleo version, you can use all purpose flour, rice flour or chick pea flour for the batter
Dhaba Style Green Masala Fish Fry (Herbed Spicy Fish Fritters)
Author: Indira Shyju
Recipe type: Appetizer, Main course
Crispy Spicy Fried Fish (Fish fritters) made by marinating fish first in a blend of herbs and spices and then frying it after coating with cassava flour batter
About 1 and ½ pounds fish (or fish filets) - Any fish is ok -I used cod fish
For the marinade masala:
8-10 fresh mint leaves
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 green chili
2 cloves of garlic
½ inch piece of fresh ginger
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cumin powder
¼ tsp black pepper powder
½ tsp coriander powder
¼ tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
2 tbsp cassava flour (I used Anthony's Goods)
1 tsp Tapioca flour
½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
3-4 tbsp water
Coconut Oil for frying
Cut the fish into medium size pieces (about 1 inch by 2 inches). Dab dry and keep aside.
Grind all ingredients listed under marinade to a paste. (It will be slightly coarse that's ok)
In a bowl add the fish pieces and the marinade and using your hands coat fish pieces well with marinade. Keep aside at room temperature for unto 30 mins or in the fridge if longer than that (up to 3 hours)
Fry fish just before serving. In a small bowl, mix all the batter ingredients and stir to get a thick batter.
Heat a frying pan with the coconut oil (you can either deep fry or shallow fry - i prefer shallow frying as it takes less oil)
Dip each fish piece in the batter coating it well on all sides and place in hot oil. Repeat with all the pieces. Fry the fish for about 2 -3 mins on each side until crispy on the outside flipping carefully to turn.
Serve fried fish immediately!
For non-paleo version, you can use all purpose flour, rice flour or chick pea flour for the batter Cut the fish pieces or the filets such that they are at least ½ inch thick.
I recently started eating Flounder and I love its delicate flavor and its soft, flaky texture. Since it doesn’t have a strong flavor of its own, it can easily take in the flavor of the marinade the you cook it in. So I have been experimenting cooking it with different spices. It tastes great just pan fried by marinating it lightly with cayenne pepper, salt and turmeric. A few weeks ago I decided to make these the same way as the ‘Crispy Chicken Bites’ I make with Indian and Asian flavors. Lots of ginger and garlic, along with cayenne and soy sauce (or coconut aminos). Lightly coated with tapioca starch and pan fried to get crispy, spicy fish nuggets!
So glad I decided to experiment – these crispy fish bites are so tasty! They can be perfect as an appetizer or pair it with a salad like I do for a complete meal. My family also loves to just eat it along side our Indian traditional meal of Rice and Dal.
Indo Chinese cuisine is pretty popular in India with the craze first starting sometime in the early 90s I believe. I was in college those days and we would sneak out from college to have lunch at one of these make shift stalls outside our campus to have delicious lip smacking ‘chicken manchurian’ soup and chill chicken curry. The origins of this fusion cuisine is a bit ambiguous I think because the last time I tried to research about ‘manchurian curry’, I only ended up finding out that Manchurian is a historic region in NE china and there is no curry chicken or otherwise by that name from that region. So I decided to end my research. Anyways, I am so glad that this fusion cuisine came into being combining the best of flavors from both the sub-continents even though the ‘how’ of it is not clear. Hey, let’s enjoy the food right?
I cooked these crispy chicken bites similar to the chili chicken recipe where corn starch is used as the starch/binder. Only thing I did was replaced corn starch with tapioca starch and replaced soy sauce with coconut aminos to make it paleo. As I have mentioned before, even though I am following the stricter autoimmune version of paleo which restricts even chili peppers, I have been having small quantities of red chili powder and other spices occasionally. But you could easily skip the red chili and these chicken bites would still be delicious I can guarantee.! I also pan fried (shallow fry) these using coconut oil and they still came out very crispy!