Chestnut flour is something that I recently got acquainted with. Thanks to my friend Monika. A few weeks ago when we were at their home for dinner, she told me about this flour which is called as ‘singhare ka atta’ in India and how this flour is used during religious fasting periods called as Vrat. She said that this flour came from water chestnuts and hence it is grain free. Wow, I was so happy to hear this and the next time I was at our local indian grocery store, I picked up a bag of this flour. I couldn’t wait to try this for making parathas as Monika had suggested!
I did make the parathas with aloo(potatoes) in them since that was the only way to make the dough. The parathas were good and now I started browsing more recipes using singhare ka atta. There are all sorts of things that showed up – dosas, samosas, etc and I started to drool looking at all these foods that are forbidden for me on my current grain free diet. I was feeling so excited already and then I saw the recipe for ‘singhare ka halwa’! Omg! I couldn’t believe my eyes! Halwa has always been my favorite Indian dessert and for the past two years I have not had halwa being dairy free , gluten free and sugar free! So looking at this recipe, I imagined the possibility of a halwa in the near future for me. That was incredible! If it came out good, Monika, my friend deserved a treat from me!
And today happened to be the perfect day to try this recipe since it was Janmashtami which is Lord Krishna’s birthday. I started seeing all kinds of Indian traditional sweets recipes posted on instagram and in the afternoon, it was time for me to try making the singhara atta ka halwa.!
Turned out great – satisfied my halwa cravings totally. Even though I used coconut oil instead of ghee and maple syrup instead of sugar. The chestnut flour itself has a nutty taste and aroma so the halwa tastes rich even without any ghee or milk in it.
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.
It has been blueberry season these past few weeks and we have been enjoying it to the fullest! With two farms within a couple miles from our home, we are so fortunate to get the freshest of the freshest every season! This year I made two trips to each of the farms. The kids being older now…they aren’t as excited about picking as they used to be some years ago. However, I still dragged them with me saying ‘mom cannot carry heavy stuff alone, remember?’. And that is the truth too. Although my RA has been under control now for the past few months with medications and my new diet, I still avoid carrying even moderately heavy stuff lest it stirs up a flare! And the kids know this. So that’s how I got them to go with me 🙂
We picked like about 4 quarts or 6 lbs each time and finished up all of it in a couple weeks! I had got more thinking I will freeze some but the blueberries were so delicious that between just gobbling them up and adding to my morning smoothies they were all gone. And so I was planning for a 3rd visit when my friend Monika happened to mention that she was planning to go that weekend with her kiddos. Rest you can guess …yeah I asked (em..ordered) her to get me another 4 quarts:)
OK so this time, I had to make the blueberry crostata for my children that I make every year and which they had been asking for. So I made that for my son on his birthday and then since I was craving for a pie myself, I made this Paleo version of blueberry pie for myself based on the Blackberry pie recipe by Autoimmune wellness. Since I was making this only for myself, I decided to make two mini pies using my cute tartlet pans. You might remember that I had made another blueberry dessert recently using these pans – Paleo Blueberry tartlets . Yeah what can I say? I am indeed crazy about blueberries 🙂
The pies turned out perfect. Since I was doing a small batch, I had to add a little more coconut flour than what the original recipe stated. A lot of times in baking, the same proportions of ingredients do not hold when you do a smaller batch. In any case, the crust with the coconut flour was so yummy – almost shortbread like crumbly but very scrumptious! Thank you to Autoimmune Wellness site for this wonderful Paleo crust recipe. I think next time I might make a large batch for the whole family! Healthy and delicious you can’t beat that right?
A healthy and delicious blueberry pie with an absolutely tasty, grain free coconut flour crust!
For the crust:
⅓ rd cup plus 2 tbsp coconut flour
⅓ rd cup arrowroot flour
pinch sea salt
¼ cup coconut oil (semi solid)
About 1 tsp ice cold water
For the filling:
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
¼ cup water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp tapioca flour mixed in 2 tbsp water
Pre-heat oven to 350 deg F.
In a medium size mixing bowl, add all the crust ingredients except the water. Mix using your hands and add the water and form a dough. (You may need to add a little more coconut flour if you feel the dough is too sticky). The dough should be smooth. Divide the dough into two equal parts.
Line two mini pie pans with parchment paper. Place the dough in each of the pans and press using your hands to cover the base and sides of the pan. Prick using a fork. Bake at 325 deg F for about 10 mins until the crust looks golden brown from top.
While the crust is baking, in a small pot add all the filling ingredients except the tapioca flour. cook for about 5 mins on medium heat. Then slowly add the tapioca flour slurry and stir continuously until you get a thickened filling.
Pour this filling onto the pie pans and bake the pies again at 350 deg F for 5 more mins. Let cool for 10 mins before serving!
Mappas is a coconut milk based curry that is unique to Kerala and particularly among the Kerala Syrian Christian community. Fish mappas, Chicken Mappas and also vegetable mappas. Last week I wanted to make some kind of vegetable korma since I was so excited that I was finally able to make grain free parathas using cassava flour. After being deprived of all kinds of breads the past two years, I am now ecstatic that I can finally eat parathas. And so I was looking to make a curry that will go well with parathas / rotis – I was craving for a flavorful and rich curry where I could use my cassava paratha to soak up all the gravy. I suddenly remembered my friend Reena’s mixed vegetable curry that she had brought to a potluck some several thousand moons ago! Yes, I am weird like that – I remember everything about who brought what dish to what potluck even if it was several years ago 🙂
Reena doesn’t stay near us anymore but in these days of whatsapp messaging, distances hardly matter! So I messaged Reena to give me her recipe and lo and behold, a very beautifully crafted recipe was delivered to me 2 days later. I wasn’t surprised since Reena is the most meticulous of all my girl friends – she likes to go about things in an organized fashion. And she is a fabulous cook too being a Keralite brought up in Chennai, she has the best recipes from both the worlds! Thank you Reena for this fabulous recipe. I made it exactly as her recipe only replacing peas with carrots and then also adding green beans. We had the curry with rotis (for the family) and my cassava paratha. The gravy was finger licking good and even my 10 year old daughter who is allergic to vegetables(not clinically but you know what I mean right?) also took seconds! God bless you Reena darling 🙂
Hope you all enjoy this recipe. I have also included the recipe for cassava (tapioca) paratha here. Check out my youtube channel for a video of this curry and my grain free cassava paratha recipe.!
Kerala Style Vegetable Mappas (Vegetable coconut milk curry) and Cassava Paratha
Author: Indira Shyju
Recipe type: Main course
A finger licking, flavorful curry of mixed vegetables like cauliflower, potatoes, green beans and carrots cooked in a rich gravy of coconut milk and spices
Red chilly powder or cayenne pepper - 2 tsp (I used Kashmiri chill powder for a mildly spicy and for color)
Coriander powder - 3 tsp
Turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
Fennel seeds - 2 tsp
Cinnamon - 1 inch long piece
fresh Ginger - about 1 inch by 2 inch piece
fresh Garlic - 4 big cloves
¼ cup warm water
For making coconut milk:
2 cups fresh or frozen grated coconut
about 2½ cups hot water
Coconut oil - 1.5 tbsp
Shallots/red onions, chopped 1 cup
Potatoes- peeled and cubed - 2
Carrots - ¼ cup
Green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces, 1 cup
Cauliflower - florets - 2 cups
Vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar but any vinegar is fine)- 1 tbsp
Thinned Coconut milk (2nd extraction) - 2 cups
Thick Coconut milk (1st extraction) - 1 cup
Salt about 1 tsp (or per taste)
fresh Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
extra coconut oil for drizzling on top
For cassava parathas:
½ cup cassava flour
1 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil
pinch sea salt
½ cup hot water (water that has been boiling and just removed from heat)
2 tsp olive oil
Place all the ingredients listed under 'masala' in a small blender jar and grind together to form a fine paste. Keep aside.
In a blender mix the grated coconut with about 1 cup of the hot water and blend for 1 minute. Using a strainer, extract the coconut milk. Keep aside this first coconut milk. Now add the rest of the water and blend again. Strain to get the 2nd extract. Keep both extracts aside.
Heat the coconut oil and sauté the shallots for 2-3 mins.
To this add the ground masala paste and sauté for about 1 minute on low heat until the raw smell dissipates.
Add all the veggies, stir to mix veggies with the spices, cover with a lid and cook for 5 mins.
Add the 2nd milk, vinegar and salt. Cover and cook for about 8-10 mins or until the vegetables are cooked.(Take care not to overcook)
Now add the 1st milk and the fresh curry leaves.
When the curry comes to a boil, remove from heat and drizzle extra coconut oil on top and serve warm with rotis or parathas!
For making cassava paratha:
In a large mixing bowl, add the cassava flour. Add the salt and the oil. Then add slowly the hot water in 2-3 portions and continue stirring with a spoon. When all the water is added, add 1 more tsp of oil and then knee with your hands to form a smooth dough.
Roll dough into chapatis and cook on a frying pan cooking about 2 mins on each side. Apply ghee or oil as needed.
This curry tastes best with homemade coconut milk. But you can use organic canned unsweetened coconut milk too. If using canned milk, you can just use the entire quantity - 3 cups of coconut milk together. For AIP, skip red chili, coriander and fennel powder
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.