Sweet and Spicy Chicken Meatballs (Gluten Free, Paleo)

 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: 
Recipe type: Appetizers
Cuisine: Fusion, Asian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12
 
Sweet and spicy chicken meatballs made with ground chicken using asian spices and covered with a hot and sweet teriyaki style sauce
Ingredients
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
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 500 deg F. Line a large baking tray with Al foil and brush it with coconut oil or olive oil.
  2. 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)
  3. 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)
  4. 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.
  5. Just before serving, pour the sauce over the meatballs and mix slowly to coat the meatballs in sauce. Serve warm!
Notes
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.

Scrambled Fish with coconut (Fish Bhurji)

 As a lover of seafood, I am constantly on the look out for new recipes.  The idea for this recipe came when a fellow blogger, Priya recently posted a recipe for shark fish scramble/puttu on her blog, Indian Kitchen. I instantly looked at her recipe and knew I wanted to try something like that soon.

The opportunity came soon as I took a filet of flounder out of the freezer this past weekend. I usually do a pan fry with red chili, turmeric and salt and that comes out great. But this time, I decided to try the scramble with it. Since I was using a filet and since it was flounder, which is really soft and flaky, I didn’t need to cook/steam the fish separately. I just decided to make it exactly like how I make egg bhurji using lots of onions, ginger, garlic and curry leaves. And also added some grated coconut to make it more of a filling meal for me.  Came out fabulous and so tasty. This is my new ‘go to and easy to make’ recipe! I usually eat it with a salad and or cooked veggies on the side. Such a tasty and healthy meal.

Although I didn’t follow Priya’s exact recipe,the idea of making a fish scramble came from her and so I would like to thank her for that! Hope you try this soon too! Let me know how you like it!

I also made a quick video for this recipe:


Scrambled Fish with coconut (Fish Bhurji)
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, Fusion
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1-2
 
Delicious fish scramble made by sautéing flounder filets with onions, ginger, garlic, cilantro and grated coconut.
Ingredients
  • About 8 oz of fish filets (like flounder or any other white fish)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ of a medium size red onion, chopped finely
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped fine,
  • ½ inch by ½ inch piece of fresh ginger, chopped fine
  • 1 small green chili, chopped very finely
  • 4-5 fresh curry leaves
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp sea salt (or per taste)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Defrost the filets if frozen by placing in a bowl of warm water for a few mins. Then pat dry using paper towels and Cut into pieces and keep aside.
  2. Heat a medium size kadai or a non stick pan and add the coconut oil to it.
  3. When hot, add the mustard seeds. When they start spluttering, add the onions. Saute for about 1 minute and then add the garlic, ginger, green chillies and curry leaves. Stir for 2 mins.
  4. Add the salt and turmeric and stir well.
  5. Now add the fish pieces and stir continuously. As the fish cooks, try to further break the fish into smaller pieces to scramble it. continue doing this until the fish is cooked well and scrambled - Will take about 3-4 mins.Turn heat to low.
  6. Add the fresh cilantro, the coconut and the lemon juice and stir well. Remove from heat. Serve warm.
Notes
If you are using fish with bones in it, I suggest you first lightly cook/steam the fish in a separate pan and then remove all the bones before proceeding with this recipe.For AIP version, skip the green chillies and mustard seeds.

 

Pan fried Salmon with a Coconut Dill Chutney

Dill is one herb (the only one perhaps) that I took a long time to appreciate. May be because it was not available in western India where I grew up. And Dill being so different from some of the other herbs that I was used to like cilantro and mint, it took a while before I started appreciating its fragrance and flavor. One of my close friends is originally from Iran and she makes a delicious Lima beans Pilaf where Dill flavor is predominant. That was my first exposure to Dill and that first time I wasn’t crazy about it.  But over the years I slowly started to like its strong flavor and smell.

I started first appreciating it in pickled cucumbers. I absolutely relish pickles. And now I have grown to be quite fond of it 🙂 I still won’t use it that liberally since it can be too overpowering if you overdo it but every now and then I like to get a fresh bunch and use it sparingly in salads and baked potatoes etc. A few weeks ago I found a large bunch in our local farmer’s market and was tempted to pick it up. At that time I didn’t know what I would make with it but it somehow had such a fresh and refreshing smell that I had to bring it to my kitchen!

And then the next day as I got the Salmon out of the freezer, the idea of making a sauce popped in my head. And knowing me you won’t be surprised that I decided to make a coconut based sauce, kind of like a chutney using coconut, lemon juice and dill. So glad I did! I was thinking of baking the salmon but last minute decided to just do a quick pan fry. The dish was just perfect – the crispy salmon and the creamy coconut dill flavored chutney was like a marriage made in heaven! Mmm…Mmm good!

Pan fried Salmon with a Coconut Dill Chutney
Author: 
Recipe type: Main course, seafood
Cuisine: Fusion
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Pan fried Salmon, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, served with a delicious creamy coconut and dill chutney
Ingredients
  • 2 salmon filets (about 6-8 oz each)
  • About 2 tbsp Coconut or Olive Oil for pan frying
Marinade for salmon:
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper pow (I used kashmiri chill powder which is mild)
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
For the coconut dill chutney:
  • ½ cup grated coconut or coconut pieces(fresh or frozen)
  • ¼ cup fresh dill
  • 1 green chili (optional)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp sea salt (or per taste)
  • ¼ cup hot water
Instructions
  1. Thaw the salmon and remove any scales from the skin side. Pat dry using paper towels.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, mix all the marinade ingredients.
  3. Apply marinade paste to the salmon filets and keep aside for 15-30 mins.
  4. In a food processor, blend all the chutney ingredients until creamy and fine.
  5. Heat a frying pan and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the marinated salmon pieces. Cook for about 2 mins on medium high heat. Flip and cook on the other side for about 2 mins more. Transfer to a dish.
  6. Serve Salmon with coconut dill chutney on top!
Notes
For AIP version, skip cayenne pepper and green chili.

Sweet Potato Gulab Jamuns (Vegan, Gluten Free, Paleo)

 Gulab jamuns, literally translated as ‘rose scented’ balls are a traditional Indian dessert that is now famous all across the world. If you have ever visited any decent Indian restaurant, you would have definitely noticed ‘gulab jamuns’ on the menu! The mention of ‘Gulab jamuns’ always makes me feel hungry and I start salivating!  The soft dough balls slightly crispy on the outside but fully moist and spongy on the inside soaked with sweetened and rose flavored syrup can help you forget about all your problems and give you a few moments of sheer ecstasy!

Having said that though, I am quite finicky about how the gulab jamuns should be. They cannot be too too sweet. Yes I repeat that. A lot of the gulab jamuns you find at restaurants are overtly and so overpoweringly sweet that you fail to taste the flavor of rose. And no thank you, no cardamom for me in Gulab jamuns please. Saffron is ok but no cardamom. For the same reason – it is Gulab jamuns for heaven’s sake – Gulab means rose, got it? Only rose flavor should be prominent.

You may wonder – all this fussiness for what? I cannot even eat the traditional gulab jamuns now since I have given up dairy and refined sugar. Yikes. So what do I do? Knowing me you can guess! Yes I came up with a vegan and paleo version of gulab jamun. Last year sometime I had seen a bengali dessert using sweet potatoes which was similar to gulab jamuns. And so I looked up recipes for that. That recipe however used rice flour and sugar and since I wanted to make a grain free and sugar free paleo version, I had to make some substitutions. I used arrowroot flour for binding. And then it also had to be refined sugar free so I made a syrup using maple syrup and honey. An instagram post of gulab jamun by one of my besties gave me a huge craving for it and so I instantly scrambled and put together this recipe this past week to satisfy my craving!  Turned out perfect! Yummy and healthy too!

Sweet Potato Gulab Jamuns (Vegan, Paleo)
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Healthy dessert
Cuisine: Indian, Fusion
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
 
Sweet potato balls fried in coconut oil and soaked in a sweetened syrup made of maple syrup and honey flavored with rose flavor.
Ingredients
For the sweet potato balls:
  • 1 large white sweet potato(Indian or Japanese), boiled, peeled and mashed
  • about 2-3 tbsp arrow root starch
  • Coconut Oil for frying (or grass fed ghee for paleo version)
For sweet syrup:
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp honey (omit for vegan version)
  • 2 drops of pure rose extract
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, add the mashed sweet potato. Add arrow root starch 1 tbsp at a time and mix using your hands to form a dough - It will be slightly sticky. (You may need to add 2 to 3 tbsp of arrowroot starch depending upon how big your sweet potato is)
  2. Roll the dough into small ping pong size balls. You can apply some coconut oil in your palms to help roll into smooth balls.
  3. Heat the coconut oil in a small frying pan (or deep frying pan)
  4. Add the sweet potato balls in batches of 4 and fry them on medium heat until reddish brown on all sides. Drain on paper towels.
  5. Place all syrup ingredients in a cooking pot except the rose flavor and heat for about 3-4 mins until you get a thickened syrup.
  6. Turn heat off and add the rose flavor.
  7. In a medium size bowl, place the fried balls and pour the hot syrup over them. Let the balls soak for about 15 mins before serving.

 

Honey Lemon Salmon (Teriyaki Style Salmon)

I happened to come across an authentic recipe of Teriyaki Salmon on CPTV last month where the chef was a native Japanese Chef who was showing how to prepare an elaborate Japanese meal. It was quite enchanting to watch how she cooked using very simple ingredients and yet was able to create wonderful dishes! One recipe she shared was that of salmon teriyaki. What I took from that recipe was the method / the technique. Her actual recipe had sugar and corn starch which I did not want to use.

With the basic recipe in mind, I experimented using honey.  And boy, it came out so incredibly good the first time that I must have made this at least 4 times this past month! It is so good plus it’s really really easy to make.  Its a great dish to make when you have someone over since you just marinate the salmon beforehand and then you can grill or pan fry it right before serving. Or you could also cook it just before your guests come and keep it warm in the oven until its time to serve. I made this on two separate occasions when I had a friend over for lunch and my friends both loved it. You can pan fry it or broil it in the oven. I have tried both methods and they both are equally good.

This recipe goes well with a salad or any rice or vegetable dish on the side. What you see in this picture is a delicious salad that I made using grated green apples, grated cabbage, avocados and oranges! 

Honey Lemon Salmon(Teriyaki Style Salmon)
Author: 
Recipe type: main course
Cuisine: Fusion, Asian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
 
Salmon marinated in a honey lemon sauce and grilled to get a crispy exterior and a moist, juicy center
Ingredients
  • 3 Salmon steaks, about 5 ounce each
For the marinade:
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger or ginger juice
  • ½ tsp mustard powder (optional)
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • about 1 tbsp coconut oil for frying
Instructions
  1. Wash and remove sales from the skin of the salmon. Pat dry and keep aside.
  2. Mix all marinade ingredients in a bowl. Reserve ¼ cup marinade.
  3. Pour rest of the marinade in a ziplock bag. Add the salmon pieces, close the bag and shake the bag well. Place bag in refrigerator for 30 mins to an hour.
  4. Heat a frying/grill pan. Add the coconut oil. When hot, place the salmon pieces skin side down. Let cook for about 4 mins on medium heat. Flip carefully and cook on other side for another 3-4 mins. Place salmon pieces in a tray and cover with Al foil until serving.
  5. Alternatively, you can cook the salmon in an oven under Broil setting. place in a foil lined tray and place on upper rack and broil for about 7-8 mins on one side. Flip and again broil for about 4-5 mins on the other side.
  6. Just before serving, add the reserved marinade to the same pan and cook for about 1 min. Spoon this thick sauce over the grilled fish while serving.
Notes
For AIP version:Skip cayenne and mustard powder
For a thicker sauce, you can mix ½ tsp of tapioca starch to the reserved marinade before heating