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.
Mexican food had always been my favorite! I could eat a bean taco any day especially if it was nicely slathered in ‘hot sauce’ and with a dollop of sour cream on the side! Hence, since starting on Paleo a year ago, I had not had a proper Mexican meal. And the past 6 months I have been on the AIP version of Paleo which meant no nightshades and no spices as well. However in the past few weeks I have introduced spices slowly without any issues (I hope!) – I just add very small quantities of cayenne or any hot pepper though to my servings. Just so that I get a faint taste of the heat without it triggering any flare up.
So anyways, now that I had been able to introduce spices successfully, I was dying to make something ‘Mexican’! During the week of Cinco de Mayo, I saw a lot of bloggers posting recipes of Mexican Chicken Stir fry with rice (caulirice). And so last week I decided to try making a grilled chicken with cauliflower and veggies stir fry. But as I was marinating the chicken, I noticed I had a ripe avocado available and so thought why not go full blown and treat myself to a Paleo Chicken Burrito bowl! About 30 mins later, I served up these delicious ‘nightshade free’ burrito bowls that were so jam packed with Mexican flavors that all my cravings of the past one year were assuaged. Even without hot sauce there was enough flavor. The garlic, cumin and the cilantro mainly did the job! And the lemon juice more than makes up for the missing tomato. I licked up the bowl so well that it looked as if it didn’t need any further cleaning when I was done with it 🙂
I also served up some rice for the rest of my family. Yummy dinner that we all enjoyed!
Dab dry the chicken pieces with a paper towel. Add all the marinade ingredients to a large bowl and mix well. Add the chicken pieces to this to coat well. Keep aside for 15 - 30 mins.
Heat a large frying/grilling pan and add the rest of the coconut oil. When hot add the chicken pieces and sautee lightly on medium until the pieces are cooked. (You may need to do this in batches since you don't want to crowd the pan).Transfer the chicken pieces onto a dish and keep covered to stay warm and moist.
Shred the cauliflower into small pieces using a food processor or by using a knife to get a 'rice' like texture.
In the same pan that you cooked the chicken, add some more coconut oil and when hot add the cauliflower and the garlic. Saute on medium heat for about a minute until the garlic is toasted. Then add the salt and cover with a lid and cook for about 2-3 mins on low heat until the cauliflower is cooked. Do not overcook otherwise it will get too mushy. Turn heat off and keep aside.
Mix all the ingredients listed under guacamole in a bowl using a masher. Check for seasoning and add additional salt or pepper if needed. Keep aside.
Mix all the ingredients listed under salsa in a bowl and keep aside,
To assemble the bowls, place a few tablespoons of the cauliflower rice into a bowl. Add some chicken pieces. Add the lettuce. Then top with the guacamole and salsa. Mix everything well and enjoy!
If you are a lover of ‘all chicken curries’ like me, then this is one that you need to definitely try! Its funny how I ended up making this curry – Last week when I was chatting with my sis who lives in india, she happened to mention this curry that she had just eaten and how fabulous it was. Her daughter’s best friend’s mom had sent over some of her Mangalorean Chicken curry to share with the rest of the family. Oh my, the rave reviews from my niece and my sis were enough for me to start salivating! I had to make this curry myself. My sis gave me a vivid description of the texture of the curry and also told me that it had a coconut masala baed gravy. Well that was enough to get me started on my recipe hunt. Sis offered to talk to the mom and get the recipe from her. But I could not wait that long.
That evening as I pulled out chicken from the freezer for making dinner, I knew what exactly I was going to make with it! I had looked up recipes for this Mangalorean chicken curry on the internet and printed out a couple of them. The traditional name of this curry is Kori (Chicken) Gassi (curry). I ended up making a version that was a combination of a few of the recipes plus I made some variations – since I do not use tamarind, I used Kerala tamarind or Kodampuli or Kokum for providing the tartness. Also I used Kashmiri chill powder instead of the badega red chillies since I wanted to cut down on the heat.
This curry in general is very mild in spices and heat. It does not use much of the traditional spices used in chicken curry like garam masala. In addition fenugreek and tamarind I thought were two unique ingredients in this curry since these are not typically used in chicken curries. The fine coconut paste masala gives it a great texture – smooth and silky! And thereby goes excellently with chapatis, naan, paranthas or neer dosas. The last one is what it is traditionally eaten with in Mangalore. As for our family, I had it with some steamed yucca. And the rest of the family had it with rice! The gravy of this curry is just finger licking good – Yummy Yummy Yum!
Kori Gassi is a delectable chicken curry made by cooking chicken pieces in a mildly spiced creamy and slightly tangy coconut sauce
2 lbs (about 1 kg) chicken pieces (I prefer whole chicken cut pieces or at least thigh pieces if using boneless)
¾ tsp salt
¾ tsp turmeric
½ tsp kashmiri red chilli powder (I use kashmiri chill powder since I prefer mild hot but you can other red chillies for more hot curry)
For the ground masala paste:
1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi seeds)
8-12 whole black peppercorns (depending upon how spicy you like it)
5 whole cloves
1 one inch piece cinnamon stick
1 tsp coconut oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
6 large cloves of garlic (or 8-10 if smaller)
½ cup grated coconut (freshly grated or fresh frozen that has been thawed)
¼ cup warm water
For the curry:
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 large onion thinly sliced
1 sprig of fresh curry leaves (about 8-10 leaves)
3 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder (1 tsp is for mildly hot so use more if you would like it really hot)
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp salt
1 piece of Kokum (kerala tamarind) dissolved in ¼ cup warm water. (optional)
1 tsp lime juice
Clean the chicken pieces well with water and dab dry with paper towels. Add the salt, turmeric and red chili powder and mix well. Marinate for at least 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, start making the masala paste - In a small frying pan, dry roast the cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, peppercorns, cloves and cinnamon for 2-3 minutes on low heat stirring frequently until you get the aroma of the spices. Transfer to a food processor.
In the same pan add the 1 tsp coconut oil. when hot add the sliced onions and sauce for 2 minutes on medium heat. Add the garlic too and continue sautéing for another 2-3 mins until the onions start getting slightly crispier and brown. Transfer this to the food processor as well.
Next add the grated coconut to the pan and lightly cook it on low stirring frequently for about 3-4 mins until some of the pieces start browning. Turn heat off. Transfer to the same food processor. (Do not brown the coconut completely since that will result in a different taste)
Grind everything using ¼ cup water. The paste should be very fine - hence do not use too much water to grind.
Next take a large bottomed pan to cook the curry and add the 1 tbsp coconut oil. When hot, add the other set of sliced onions. Add the curry leaves as well and sauce for 2-3 mins.
Add the marinated chicken pieces and cook on high heat for about 3-4 mins. Flip the chicken pieces and cook again for another 3-4 mins.
Now add the ground masala paste, the turmeric, red chili, coriander powder and salt. Add about 1 cup of water rinsing the blender with it to get all of the paste.
Stir to mix well and then cover and cook on low heat for 15 mins.
Open lid and add the water from the soaked tamarind.
Check for seasoning and add salt or more red chili powder as needed.
Cook for another 5 minutes covered. And turn heat off.
Add the lime juice and serve warm over plain white rice or chapatis.
I have used Kashmiri chili powder here for milder and less spicy taste. If you prefer your curry to be hot and spicy, add more quantity or use another hotter variety of red chillies. The traditional mangalorean kori gassi curry uses tamarind juice or extract. But I have used kokum extract here since I have been avoiding tamarind.
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!
Super Bowl was this past weekend and game night is synonymous with lots of food. This year we hosted the party for our neighborhood friends at our home. Folks signed up to bring different kinds of appetizers and dips. We had a good balance of junk food with healthful foods – grilled vegetables and salads made for a less greasy overall meal! And I decided to make Chicken wings. Since I am on a Paleo diet these had to be strictly paleo with only natural ingredients with no artificial anything!
So I decided to bake the chicken wings asian style! I added kashmiri chilli powder for the heat and used honey for the sweetness. Sesame oil and coconut aminos (soy sauce for non paleo) provided the distinct asian flavors and ginger, garlic provided additional flavors that made these chicken wings unforgettable!
My son called these ‘wickedly insane’ ! I think that translates to ‘fantastic’ in high schooler lingo 🙂 These babies are double baked to give them the extra crispiness and the extra sauce on top makes these simply ‘to die for’!
I am not a big sports fan. Game night is exciting to me only for the company of friends and for the food! However last weekend’s game was pretty exciting …at least the last quarter. And I personally thought it had a good message for everyone in all walks of life. And the message is ‘ Do not give up, ever. Keep positive till the very end and you can indeed turn things around magically if you believe enough in yourself!’
Asian Style Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings (Paleo friendly)
Author: Indira Shyju
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 40-42 pieces
Delicious, sticky chicken wings marinated in a chill vinegar lemon marinade and double baked to get perfectly crisp on the outside and smothered in a sticky sauce made with honey, soy sauce, red chilli and ginger-garlic.
Chicken wings around 4 lbs or about 40-42 pieces
for the Marinade:
Juice of two lemons abt ½ cup
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
1 tsp black pepper powder
½ tsp chinese five spice ( optional)
2½ tsp sea salt( 2 tsp if regular salt)
2 tbsp olive oil
for the Sauce:
¾ cup coconut aminos (substitute soy sauce for non paleo)
½ cup orange juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp red chilli powder
2 tbsp garlic crushed or finely chopped
2 tbsp ginger finely chopped
2 tbsp sesame oil
Pat dry the chicken wings using paper towels to remove any excess water.
Mix all ingredients listed under marinade together in a bowl.
Marinate the chicken wings in the marinade for at least 1 hour.
Pre-heat oven to 425 deg F (210 deg C)
Line 2 large trays with Al foil and brush lightly with olive oil.
Place the chicken wings on the tray spread separate from each other.
Bake at 425 deg F for between 20-25 minutes (or until the chicken pieces are cooked). Make sure you don't overcook at this point - the wings should just appear cooked but not turn crispy. remove wings from the oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 deg F (180 deg C)
In a small cooking pot, add all sauce ingredients and cook for about 10-12 minutes until you get a thick sauce. Turn heat off. Keep sauce aside.
Reserve some sauce for dipping and dip each chicken wing into the remaining sauce to coat it completely and again bake them at 350 deg F (180 deg C) for about 10-12 mins until crispy on the outside. Flip the wings once mid-way i.e. at after about 5-6 minutes. (It would be best to arrange the wings over a grilling mesh at this point with a pan under to catch the drippings - see picture below)
Serve warm drizzling the extra sauce over top.
Step wise pictures:
Marinate wings in the chills lemon vinegar marinade for 30-60 minutes.
Cook honey soy chill sesame sauce
Cook marinated wings at 425 deg F for 20-25 minutes on a baking tray
Dip baked wings in honey sauce and place on mesh/grill and over tray and bake again at 350 Deg F for 10-12 minutes flipping them half-way through.