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.
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.
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.
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 balls fried in coconut oil and soaked in a sweetened syrup made of maple syrup and honey flavored with rose flavor.
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
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)
Roll the dough into small ping pong size balls. You can apply some coconut oil in your palms to help roll into smooth balls.
Heat the coconut oil in a small frying pan (or deep frying pan)
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.
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.
Turn heat off and add the rose flavor.
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.