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

 

Apple Beet Cucumber Multigrain Paratha (ABC Paratha) with homemade apple chutney

 

He He … ABC Paratha, isn’t that a fun name? Its an interesting story how this particular paratha was conceived in my kitchen. So you see, of late I have been juicing regularly using a variety of vegetables and fruits.  I would always feel upset about throwing away all the pulp since there is so much fiber (and also nutrients) left in the pulp after you juice.  At least my Breville juicer does not really compact my veggies and fruits and so I know there is still a lot of good stuff left in that pulp. What I would do is freeze the pulp and then put it in smoothies and soups.

Then one fine day while I was making methi parathas for my kiddos, a light bulb went on and I said to myself – Hey, next time I an use some of that juice pulp!  And so as it happened , the next time I used Apples, beets, cucumber and celery for making my juice. I faithfully gathered the pulp and saved it for making parathas the following day.  The next day as the kids came home from school, there were these warm, pink parathas ready for them.  They both devoured the parathas.  They loved it! I did not tell them what was in them nor did they bother to ask!  So after that day I kept making such parathas frequently and this combination with the apple, beets and the cucumber was the one they loved the best. One day I had added grapefruit too and that gave a bitter taste which they complained about. So Ok no grapefruit business. let’s stick to the ABC and let’s call it the ABC paratha.

So now this paratha has become a regular in our house along with the methi thepla. Over the past few weeks I experimented further with these parathas adding ragi flour (finger millet flour) and flaxseed meal to replace part of the whole wheat flour. The kids continued to love it. Isn’t that the best thing? When you make them such healthy, wholesome food and they enjoy it?

Btw, I make this paratha now by using freshly grated apples, beets and cucumber even on the days I am not juicing:) And I serve these parathas with my homemade apple and date chutney, which is also a cinch to make and my daughter and my favorite chutney since it is sweet, tangy and spicy. My daughter loves the combination – of this paratha with the apple chutney.  I think they perfectly complement each other.

Apple Beet Cucumber Multigrain Parantha
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, snack,lunch
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
 
Sweet and Savory paratha (Indian flatbread) made of whole wheat and millet flour and stuffed with grated apples, beets and cucumber
Ingredients
  • ½ cup grated apple (about ½ of a medium peeled apple)
  • ¼ cup grated red beets(after peeling the skin)
  • ¼ cup grated cucumber (skin peeled)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder(cayenne pepper)
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp ajwain seeds (carom seeds)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup Ragi flour (finger millet flour)
  • 1 tbsp flax seed meal
  • about ¾ cup water to knead the dough
  • extra ghee or olive oil for cooking paranthas
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, add the grated beets, apple and cucumber. then add the salt and all the spices and the oil.
  2. Next add the whole wheat flour, the rage flour and the flexed meal and the oil and start mixing together. Add water slowly until you get a smooth dough. (Add additional bit of flour or water as needed)
  3. Divide the dough into small golf ball size balls - about 20 balls.
  4. Heat a frying pan on medium heat.
  5. Take each dough ball and roll using chapati rolling pin into a round chapati shape (about 5-6 inches diameter) - use flour as needed to prevent dough from sticking to the rolling surface.
  6. Place the chapati onto the heated pan and cook for 1 minute. Flip and apply oil or ghee to the chapati and let cook for about 30 seconds and then again flip to the other side. Apply oil/ghee to this side too and again flip to let cook for another 30-40 seconds or until both sides are cooked and have brown spots on top. Transfer to a container to keep warm. Continue making the rest of the parathas the same way.

 

For the recipe of Apple and Date Chutney, Click here

Btw Happy Holi to all those who celebrate! I started writing this post and realized it was Holi. In maharashtra we make stuffed lentil parathas called Puran Poli for Holi. These Pink parathas I made I thought could also be very apt for Holi  don’t you think so? 🙂

Linking today’s recipe to Plant Based Potluck Party  and to Saucy Saturday this week.

‘So good for you’ smoothies!

Juice or smoothie? If you have wondered about that, let me quickly assure you that both of these are super beneficial for you. And you can use both to improve the health of your family!

When you juice (using a juicer that has filters) you are removing the insoluble fiber – the pulp. Although fiber is good for you, it slows down the absorption of nutrients and some nutrients stay in the fiber. When you juice, you are extracting up to 70% of the nutrition right into your glass1, and without the insoluble fiber your body absorbs 100% of these nutrients. Juicing has its advantages in that you get the nutrients out of the vegetables/fruits in their most absorbable state and so body can get the maximum benefits without it having to do any additional work.

Smoothies on the other hand are what you get when you blend whole fruits and vegetables together to form thick pulpy mixture. You can also add other nutritious ingredients to it – You can toss in a healthy fat, in the form of avocado, coconut oil, chia seeds, or almond butter. And you can blend in plenty of other superfood ingredients for an even broader spectrum of nutrients, like fresh grated ginger, matcha or cacao powder, fresh mint, and cinnamon.

Depending upon what your immediate health goals are, both of these can be beneficial. Juicing is incredibly beneficial for folks who are nutrition deficient and or immunocompromised as in autoimmune conditions.  Some children and even adults who don’t like to eat vegetables with their meals can really benefit from juicing since this way they get all the vitamins and nutrients easily. However, juicing can fail to keep you fully satiated since it does not have the fiber to fill you up. That’s where smoothies come in – smoothies can provide great taste and nutrition along with keeping your tummy full 🙂

We have been doing smoothies in our house a lot – I make it for the kids as a snack when they come from school. And my breakfast has been strictly only smoothies now for the past few months ever since I am on a Paleo diet.  And I love the fact that I can some up with so many variations of it!  I don’t even bother with recipes – its just about throwing different things together and most of the times they do come out great no matter what you put in them.

Many of my friends and family members have asked me what kind of smoothies I make. So in this post today I just wanted to give you some ideas …only to get you started and then all you need is your imagination and a refrigerator full of fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables!

  1. Go Bananas!:  I love adding bananas in my breakfast smoothies because they are sweet, they are creamy and they give the smoothie a lot of body, meaning they fill me up! Using bananas as a main ingredient, you can create many different smoothie variations using various fruits like apples, plums, strawberries, mangoes, papayas, cantaloupe etc.
  2. Use Avocados: I love avocados for almost the same reasons as bananas – they are creamy, and filling. Plus since they don’t have a strong flavor of their own, so they can blend well with a lot of different fruits and veggies.
  3. Fresh mint/herbs/citrus:  Mint or citrus adds a nice fresh twist to your usual smoothie so use it sometimes to change up the flavor profile of your smoothie. A tinge of Fresh ginger or cinnamon are also great ways to spice up your smoothie giving it a whole new flavor level!
  4. Veggies and Greens: Smoothies are a great way to feed vegetables and nutritious greens to your kids (or to yourself!)- Some good vegetables to add in smoothies are celery, cucumber, carrots, beets and all kinds of greens. Blending Kale or spinach with bananas for example packs in a lot of iron in one glass! And is a great way to increase your iron intake.
  5. Add nutritional boosters: Adding chia seeds, flax seeds, matcha powder, almond butter, coconut oil etc to your smoothie can give it added nutritional and flavor boost!
  6. Healthy Fillers: To make the smoothies more filling, you can add nut milks or coconut milk to the smoothie for a creamy and fully satisfying drink!

As I said before I don’t follow any recipes but just the above rules. Following are 3 recipes that I recently made that I made sure to note the recipes for!  These are incredibly delicious and satisfying!

3 Refreshing Smoothies

  • Servings: Serves 2
  • Time: about 15 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Mint Avocado Cantaloupe:

  • 1 ripe Avocado(peeled)
  • 1 Banana (peeled)
  • 2 cups cantaloupe, chopped
  • 1 orange (skin and seeds removed)
  • 2 fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup water

Green Smoothie

  • 1 Green apple (peeled and sliced)
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 Banana (peeled)
  • 1 ripe Avocado (peeled)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 small fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup water

Very Berry 

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • 1 Banana (peeled)
  • 2 kiwis (peeled and sliced)
  • 1/2 cup water

Method: For each of the above smoothies, add all the ingredients to a blender or a food processor and blend completely until smooth! This recipe makes 2 tall glasses!

 

 

 

Quick and Easy Apple Crisp Recipe


Baked apple with oatsI had read somewhere a long time ago that if you don’t have the time (and the energy) to make an apple pie, an apple crisp can be the next best thing.  I didn’t think much of this since apple pie is what my kids demand every apple season as soon as we go apple picking. And apple pie is what I make every year – at least a few times! And this is our most favorite recipe for apple pie.

Well this year, things are a little different. As you know I need a lot of help in the kitchen due to my RA and my hands can no longer handle the slicing of apples. So I outsourced that to my kitchen help who comes twice a week to help me with my cooking. God bless her! But even after she had sliced all the apples that I gave her, they lay in the fridge for a couple days since the next thing was to make the pastry dough for which I again needed help. Usually my son helps me with baking but he was too busy with his academic and sports stuff and so as I was figuring out how to use these sliced apples, the idea of an ‘apple crisp’ came to mind.

Easy Apple Crisp recipeSo one weeknight, I set to action getting all the ingredients together and basically dumping them all together on a pie pan.  Took me just 15 minutes to put it together and it baked slowly in the oven as we ate dinner.  Came out gooey and delicious! Kids were really happy and no one has asked for apple pie.  Yet. 🙂

Also I made a dairy free, gluten free,sugar free, mini version for myself using just apples, oats, olive oil and some rice flour and jaggery.! Yum!

Quick and Easy Apple Crisp Recipe

  • Servings: Makes about 6-8 servings
  • Time: about 30 mins prep, 55 minutes baking time
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 6 Apples, thinly sliced (preferably a mix of Gala, Macintosh and Cortland)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon pow
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice/all spice pow

For the streusel topping:

  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (I used part whole wheat)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • Chopped almonds and walnuts (optional)

Method:

Take a round pie dish and grease it well using some butter.

In a mixing bowl, add the sliced apples, sugar, spices,the flour and water.  Toss the apples to coat them well with the sugar and spice mixture.(Use your hands!)

Pour this apple mixture onto the pie dish.

Next in  the same mixing bowl, add all the streusel topping ingredients and mix well using a spoon.  The mixture will be crumbly.

Pour this mixture evenly over the apples.

Bake in the oven uncovered at 350 deg F for about 50-55 minutes or until the top looks crisp.

Apple and Oats recipe

 

Curried Rice Noodles (Chicken and vegetable curry noodles)

Curried Rice NoodlesThis dish is a fine example of a ‘spur of the moment’ dish – A lazy sunday morning where breakfast happens late and then more laziness till about 1 PM. What do people want to eat for lunch? No response. Two heads poring over the iPad doing God knows what. Then when hunger pangs do come, mom has to rustle up something quick since people are really going to ‘die of hunger’ ! sigh! Normally I would just make a pasta – maybe add some shrimp like the shrimp linguini I posted a while ago. Or a pasta with vegetables. But now I am on a gluten free diet. Also dairy free. Also tomato free. Yup. So the pasta option goes out the window since I am certainly not in the mood to cook two different dishes. Hence rice noodles to the rescue!

Chicken and Vegetable Curry Rice noodlesI quickly got the chicken out from the freezer and defrosted a couple thigh pieces. I was not in the mood for adding soy and chill sauces as I usually do. Or make the sweet and spicy noodles like I made a few weeks ago. Maybe because I was in the mood for eating chicken curry at night. Yes did I tell you my husband makes a mean chicken curry? So anyways, that’s the direction I was going. I quickly marinated the chicken pieces in some curry spices and then made this delicious curry noodles also adding some vegetables into the mix to get a complete meal together in about 40 minutes!

Btw, rice noodles come in a variety of different types and brands. I love ‘Mai Fun’ noodles which are really thin rice noodles like vermicelli and I get them from Whole Foods.

Linking this post to Throwback Thursday this week.

Also linking to Fiesta Friday where the co-hosts this week are Lindy @ Love in the Kitchen and Liz @ spades, spatulas & spoons

Curried Rice Noodles (Chicken and vegetable curry noodles)

  • Servings: makes about 2-3 servings
  • Time: about 40 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • Rice Noodles  4 oz ( half of an 8 oz pk -I break the noodles up for easy handling)
  • 1/2 lb of chicken (preferably boneless thigh pieces)

For marinade:

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1/2 onion, long thin slices
  • 1/2 cup chopped cauliflower
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup carrots thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell peppers
  • salt and pepper as needed

Method:

Boil the rice noodles for 5 mins in boiling water (Do follow instructions per package too as cooking times may vary)Drain. Rinse with cold water and drain again using a colander with a  fine sieve. Keep aside.

Cut the chicken into small bite size pieces removing any excess fat. In a medium size bowl, add all marinade spices and the chicken pieces. Mix to coat the chicken pieces well with the spices. Keep aside for about 15 minutes.

Heat a wok or a flat bottomed wok style pan and add the 1 tbsp oil. Now add the marinated chicken pieces and stir fry on medium to high heat to half-cook the chicken – about 5 minutes. Now add the 3/4 cup of water and cover and cook for about 10 minutes on low heat.   You should have cooked chicken with some curry sauce. Turn heat off and transfer the chicken with the curry sauce onto a separate bowl.

Now place the wok/pan back on heat and add the additional oil.  Add the garlic and onion and stir for about 2 minutes. Then add all the vegetables and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 3-4 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked(take care not to overcook).

Next add the rice noodles to the pan followed by the chicken and the curry sauce and toss everything well together to mix. Add additional salt and pepper/chilli flakes per taste. Serve hot!

Rice noodles with curried chicken