Crispy Fish bites (Paleo, Gluten free)

 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.

Crispy Fish bites (Paleo, Gluten free)
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer, Main course
Cuisine: Fusion, IndoChinese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
 
Fish filets marinated with the flavors of ginger, garlic and cayenne pepper and coated with tapioca starch and fried to get crispy fish nuggets
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Fish filets, cut into bite size pieces (Use Flounder or any other white fish)
For marinade:
  • 2 tbsp tapioca flour
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder or cayenne pepper( skip for AIP version)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger and garlic paste (made by crushing equal quantities of fresh ginger and garlic without any water in a mortar pestle or a food processor)
  • 2 tsp coconut aminos or soy sauce (use coconut aminos for paleo)
  • About 3-4 tbsp coconut oil for shallow frying
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, add the fish pieces and blot dry using paper towels.
  2. In a small bowl, mix all marinade ingredients and stir using a spoon to form a thick paste.
  3. Add this paste to the bowl with the fish pieces. Mix gently using your hands to coat the fish pieces completely.
  4. Add about 1 tbsp oil at a time in a small frying pan and shallow fry the fish pieces in batches until they are cooked well and crispy on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
Notes
For AIP version, skip cayenne pepper

 

Crispy Chicken Bites (Paleo, Gluten Free)

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!

Crispy Chicken Bites (paleo)
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer, Main course
Cuisine: IndoChinese, Fusion
 
Chicken pieces marinated with the flavors of ginger, garlic and cayenne pepper and coated with tapioca starch and fried to get crispy nuggets
Ingredients
  • 1 lb chicken pieces, boneless thigh pieces, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 tbsp tapioca flour
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger and garlic paste (made by crushing equal quantities of fresh ginger and garlic without any water in a mortar pestle or a food processor)
  • 2 tsp coconut aminos or soy sauce (use coconut aminos for paleo)
  • About 3-4 tbsp coconut oil for shallow frying
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, add the chicken pieces and blot dry using paper towels.
  2. In a small bowl, mix all the rest of the ingredients and stir using a spoon to form a thick paste.
  3. Add this paste to the bowl with the chicken pieces. Mix using your hands to coat the chicken pieces completely.
  4. Add about 1 tbsp oil at a time in a small frying pan and shallow fry the chicken pieces in batches until they are cooked well and crispy on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
Notes
For AIP version, skip the red chili powder

 

Coconut Calamari (Paleo)

OK so ever since I made those beef cutlets with a coconut crust, I have been thinking of using that technique to make other crispy coatings! I got my chance to try it again when hubby picked up squid last weekend while picking up seafood.

I usually cook squid(calamari) Kerala Style which is to sauté it with onion and red chillies and with coconut. I have posted that recipe before. Have also tried frying it using chickpea batter which is a great gluten free alternative. However now since I am on a paleo diet, chickpea batter wouldn’t do and so I thought why not give my tapioca flour batter and coconut crust technique a try?  The ‘paleo version’ of the beef cutlets was very well received in my house. It tasted even better than the breaded version!

So considering that I was pretty confident that the fried calamari with coconut crust would work. And I wasn’t disappointed!  The fried coconut calamari came out so nice and crispy plus the shredded coconut topping imparted such great flavor.  I also ended up shallow frying it using coconut oil vs deep frying. It still came out nice and crispy on the outside and soft and sweet on the inside. Perfecto 🙂

I added a bit of cayenne pepper (Kashmiri red chili powder) but you can skip that for an AIP compliant recipe.

Coconut Calamari (Paleo)
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer, main course, seafood
Cuisine: American, Fusion
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
 
A Paleo version of the 'Fried Calamari' - Crispy coconut crusted Calamari fried in coconut oil!
Ingredients
  • ½ lb squid, cleaned and cut into ¼ inch rounds
  • ¼ tsp kashmiri chilli powder (skip for AIP version)
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
For the crust
  • 2 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 4 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut (I used 'Let's do Organic' brand)
For frying
  • About 2 tbsp coconut oil
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, add the cleaned calamari and dab dry with paper towels. Add the chills powder(if adding) and salt and mix well. Keep aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the tapioca flour with water to from a slurry. (This settles down very fast so again stir before using)
  3. Place the shredded coconut in a separate plate.
  4. Heat a small frying pan and add 1 tbsp coconut oil. Keep on medium heat and when hot, dip the squid pieces one by one in the tapioca slurry and then dip them in the coconut to coat completely and drop these one by one into the frying pan. Fry these in batches and serve hot!
Notes
For AIP version, skip the red chili powder

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

 

 

Caribbean Style Grilled Shrimp (Paleo)

Shrimp is an all time favorite of mine!  My parents having been born and raised so close to the coast in Kerala, shrimp was my amma’s ‘go to’ ingredient for added flavor.  Yes she would add prawns in even vegetable dishes to enhance the flavor!. And boy that sure got us kids to eat all their veggies plus lick the plate!  Shrimp or ‘Chemeen’ as they are called in Kerala are used to make so many wonderful dishes like chemeen curry with coconut(thengarachu curry), chemeen varatharachu curry,  chemmeen green mango curry, prawn masala, prawn cutlets,  dried prawns chutney, prawn pickle etc etc.  Gosh my mouth is watering!

So you can imagine my joy when I was allowed to eat shrimp again by my naturopath after having abstained from eating it for more than a year! This is one of the reasons I like my Paleo diet. !

When we had visited Cancun a couple years ago, the resort we stayed in had a beautiful lunch buffet menu. One of the items on that buffet was ‘carribean style’ sizzling shrimp! My husband would grin at me as I loaded up my plate with these wonderfully spiced and perfectly grilled shrimp every single day of the 5 days we were there!

Last week as I pulled out shrimp out of the freezer to grill some quickly for my lunch, on a sudden whim I decided to try making it the carribean style – the way we had it at the resort. Going by my memory of the flavors, I quickly put together a marinade using cilantro, ginger,garlic,lemon juice, pepper, and some honey and this wonderful dish was created in less than 30 minutes.  My son was home that day with me for lunch and we both couldn’t stop marveling at how good these shrimp turned out to be! And they were pretty darn close to the ones we had at the resort!  Chef Mom deserves a pat on the back!  ‘Thank you’ Thank you’ , I say taking my bow as I clean up the table 🙂

I made this recipe again a couple days later since I wanted to share these ‘wicked good shrimp’ as my son had called them, with my husband. That time I tried grilling in the oven since I had pan fried it the first time and the grilled ones came out perfectly too. So I give directions for both ways in my recipe below.  What are you waiting for? 🙂

For a strict Paleo AIP version, omit the chillies and these will still be fantastic I am sure.

Linking this recipe this week to the following link parties:

Saucy Saturdays

Inspiration Galore Project Party

 

Caribbean Style Grilled Shrimp (Paleo)
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer; Main course
Cuisine: Caribbean
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
 
Shrimp marinated in a tangy, sweet and spicy marinade consisting of cilantro, lemon, garlic and honey and grilled or pan fried in coconut oil to perfection!
Ingredients
  • 16-18 pieces of medium size shrimp (or about 10-12 pieces of jumbo shrimp)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 1 by 1 inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 2 green (serrano) chilies
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • ¼ tsp sea salt or as needed
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos or soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Place all of the listed ingredients other than shrimp and coconut oil in a food processor (use small grinder) and blend well. Mixture may be a little chunky and that's ok. Marinate the shrimp in this mixture for about 10-15 mins.
  2. Heat a non stick frying pan. Add the coconut oil. Grill the shrimp in the pan and cook 1 min on each side.
  3. If grilling in oven, turn oven to Broil setting. Place the shrimp in an Al foil lined tray on skewers and place on the top rack about 4 inches from the flames. Cook for about 2 mins and then flip once and cook for about 1 minute on other side. Take the shrimp out and serve immediately. (Do Not overcook the shrimp as they will turn hard)
Notes
For a Paleo AIP version, skip the green chillies and use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce

 

 

 

 

 

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