Kerala Style Vegetable Mappas (Vegetable coconut milk curry) and Cassava Paratha

  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: 
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-5
 
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
Ingredients
For masala:
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients listed under 'masala' in a small blender jar and grind together to form a fine paste. Keep aside.
  2. 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.
  3. Heat the coconut oil and sauté the shallots for 2-3 mins.
  4. To this add the ground masala paste and sauté for about 1 minute on low heat until the raw smell dissipates.
  5. Add all the veggies, stir to mix veggies with the spices, cover with a lid and cook for 5 mins.
  6. 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)
  7. Now add the 1st milk and the fresh curry leaves.
  8. 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:
  1. 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.
  2. Roll dough into chapatis and cook on a frying pan cooking about 2 mins on each side. Apply ghee or oil as needed.
Notes
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

 

Okra Yoghurt Soup (Vendakka Pachadi)

In Kerala cuisine, Pachadi is a side dish which is made using yoghurt. I have posted recipe for ash gourd pachadi or kumabalanga pachadi and beetroot pachadi before.  Pachadi can be made using different vegetables and sometimes even fruits like pineapple  are used. Although I make okra coconut milk curry often, I had never tried to make vendakka (okra) pachadi before since my amma  never made it at home.

These days being on a Paleo diet, I usually like to have the curries as soup. Now that I make my coconut yoghurt at home, I have more options for curries. And so I thought of making this vendakka pachadi where you add fried okra pieces to a coconut and yoghurt base.  Since the soup base is made by blending coconut meat and coconut yoghurt, it is really creamy and filling and of course , super delicious! I fried extra okra pieces so I could just have those on the side along with this wonderfully healthy and satisfying soup. Traditionally, regular yoghurt preferably slightly soured is used for pachadi. But I used coconut yoghurt instead of regular yoghurt to keep it dairy free. And I added a dash of lemon juice since my coconut yoghurt was not tangy enough.

Okra Yoghurt Soup (Vendakka Pachadi)
Author: 
Recipe type: Main course, Soups
Cuisine: Kerala, Fusion
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
 
A delicious soup made with coconut and coconut yoghurt blended with cumin and curry leaves with fried okra on top.
Ingredients
  • About 2 cups Okra (Bhindi), cut into ½ inch rounds (you can use fresh or frozen okra)
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
For grinding:
  • ¾ cup grated coconut (freshly grated or frozen that has been thawed)
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder (optional)
  • 2-3 fresh curry leaves
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¾ cup plain yoghurt (use coconut yoghurt for vegan/paleo)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice (optional to give tanginess)
For tempering:
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 4-5 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 dry red kashmiri chilli, broken into two pieces
Instructions
  1. Pat dry the okra pieces with paper towels (especially if using frozen okra pieces). Sprinkle the salt and turmeric over the pieces.
  2. Heat the 2 tbsp coconut oil in a small frying pan and shallow fry the okra pieces in batches until they turn crispy. Keep aside.
  3. Ina food processor, add all the ingredients listed under 'For grinding' except the yoghurt and blend well until you get a fine paste. Then add the yoghurt and lemon juice and blend again for about 30 secs.
  4. In a small kadai or a wok shaped pan, add the 1 tbsp coconut oil. When hot, add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and the kashmiri chillies and stir for 30 secs.
  5. Add the ground coconut and yoghurt mixture into the pan and turn heat to low. As soon as the mixture starts to bubble (about 1 min or so), turn heat off. Check for salt.
  6. Add the fried okra pieces just before serving so that they retain their crispy texture.
Notes
For AIP recipe, skip mustard seeds, cumin and chillies

Kerala Peppery Chicken Curry (My husband’s Chicken curry)

  I really struggled with what name to give this curry and I had a good mind to just leave it at ‘My husband’s chicken curry’ 🙂 It is also the most delicious chicken curry you will ever have! My husband loves to cook and when we got married, he would cook this chicken curry every now and then. When I was pregnant with my second child, I had severe nausea and I did not feel like eating anything that I cooked. The smell of Chicken curry would make my nausea worse and so I pretty much gave up eating chicken for most of my pregnancy. Then everything changed when my husband decided to cook this chicken curry once sometime soon after my delivery. I tasted it and it was like ‘heaven on earth’!  That first time after a long hiatus from chicken, I stuffed myself with chicken curry and rice!  It was that good! And yay! I was back to loving chicken again 🙂

And my husband continued to perfect his chicken curry over the years. Since I don’t eat tomatoes now, he has stopped adding tomatoes too. Yet his curry remains so tasty! You may ask what is so special about this curry? Actually I used to wonder too since I use almost the same spices and everything else. For one, my husband is very systematic in the kitchen. (He is very systematic, period.) He will first clean the kitchen counter, chop up everything and arrange them in different bowls, blend up the spices etc. and only then begin making his curry. Its like a ritual for him. You see I am nothing like that! I chop and cook at the same time moving from stirring to chopping and chopping to stirring! Over the years I would ask him multiple times to note his recipe down but he never bothered to do that.

Finally a few weeks ago, I decided to video record him while he was making the curry. I noted down all the quantities of spices etc too and so finally I have this super tasty recipe to share with you too! Hey when a curry is this good, you have got share the love you know! I am still working on editing the video and will post it soon too.

So did I find what he did differently? I think its the magic of his hands. lol 🙂 Jokes apart, the key thing here is slow cooking. I realized that he sautéed his onions slowly till they get really really soft, added very little water and added lots and lots of black pepper and not many other spices. And finally the curry is slow cooked to get a perfect chicken curry!The potatoes are also an important part of this curry – sometimes I can’t decide what I like more – the chicken pieces or the ‘curry smothered’ potato pieces. (My mouth is watering!) This curry tastes delicious with rotis or plain white rice.

If you are strictly paleo and avoid potatoes, then you can substitute taro root for potatoes as I do sometimes. Well this recipe is for you guys. As for me, when it comes to chicken curry in our house, 9 out of 10 times, you can guess who will be making it 🙂

Watch Video:


Kerala Peppery Chicken Curry (My husband's Chicken curry)
Author: 
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-5
 
A fiery and flavorful 'chicken and potatoes' curry slow cooked with lots of black pepper and other spices
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs chicken thigh pieces, cleaned and cut into bite size pieces
For marination:
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chilli pow (use less if you want mildly hot)
  • 2 tsp coriander pow
  • 1 tsp fennel powder
  • ½ tsp turneric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
For the curry:
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • About 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger chopped finely
  • 2 green chiles, slit length wise (optional)
  • 10-12 whole black pepper corns (use fewer for less spicy)
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 large (or 3 medium) onions thinly sliced
  • 3 tsp coriander pow
  • 2 tsp black pepper powder (freshly ground)
  • 1 tsp fennel powder (freshly ground)
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 small potatoes cubed (or 2 medium taro root cubed)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Instructions
  1. Marinate the chicken pieces with all the ingredients listed under marinade and let sit for at least 15 mins (up to 30 mins)
  2. Heat a broad bottomed cooking pot (which has a tight fitting lid). When hot add the coconut oil and the garlic, ginger and green chillies. After 30 secs, add the whole spices - black pepper, cloves and bay leaves. Saute for 1 minute on medium heat.
  3. Add the onions and sautee for about 8-10 mins on low until onions turn slightly golden and soft(This is very important step)
  4. Next add all the spices - coriander pow, black pepper powder, fennel powder, turmeric , salt and garam masala. Saute for about 2 mins on low till you get the nice aroma from the roasted spices.
  5. Add about 2 tbsp of water at this point to avoid burning of the spices.
  6. Add the marinated chicken pieces and the potato/taro pieces and mix everything well together.
  7. Cover with the lid and cook on low heat for about 25 mins stirring every 10 mins to stir and avoid scorching.
  8. Add the fresh cilantro and turn heat off.
Notes
It is very important to use a tight fitting lidded pot for this recipe. The chicken needs to slow cook. The ground black pepper and ground fennel should be freshly ground otherwise you won't get the same flavors.

 

Chicken Burrito Bowl (Paleo)

 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!

Chicken Burrito Bowl (Paleo)
Author: 
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: Mexican, Fusion
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
 
Paleo and nightshade free version of the Mexican Chicken burrito bowl made with grilled chicken, cauliflower rice and guacamole
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs boneless chicken (preferably thigh pieces) cleaned and cut into bite size pieces
For marinating chicken
  • ¾ tsp cayenne pepper (or 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder)
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • About 2 tbsp coconut oil for sautéing the chicken
For Cauliflower rice
  • 1 medium size cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
For the guacamole:
  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled and mashed
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped finely
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed
  • ½ tsp sea salt
For the salsa:
  • ½ of a red onion, chopped fine
  • ½ cup cilantro chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
For assembling the burrito bowl:
  • Lettuce, shredded
  • white rice cooked(for non paleo members)
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Shred the cauliflower into small pieces using a food processor or by using a knife to get a 'rice' like texture.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Mix all the ingredients listed under salsa in a bowl and keep aside,
  7. 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!
  8. Serve white rice additionally if needed.

 

Vegetable Minestrone soup (Vegan,Paleo)

I am sure you will agree that there is no food more comforting than a warm bowl of soup.  In my house they are welcome on any nights but especially on cold, wintery nights. Although spring is here, last weekend ended up being chilly. As I was wondering what to cook for dinner on sunday night, I noticed that there were a lot of different vegetables leftover in the refrigerator. So what better meal than a soup to be able to use all of them?

I make this ‘fridge clean up’ soup quite a lot. And usually it is on sunday nights.  Best part about soups is that you can create variations by just changing the combination of vegetables and the spices used. Before I went paleo, I used to make Minestrone soup all the time where I would add vegetables to the beans and use tomatoes to make the typical Italian favorite. So now I decided to make some changes – since I wasn’t going to add the beans, I decided to add in more of the starchy vegetables like turnip and taro root. And I used my favorite substitute for tomatoes – cranberries!  The soup turned out fabulous. The family ate it with some whole grain bread while I had mine with a small piece of boiled yucca on the side. Yes and that’s how I got the idea of adding the grated yucca on top!  I couldn’t resist – the grated yucca looked so much like grated mozzarella! But tasted so much better 🙂 Yum! 

Vegetable Minestrone soup (Vegan,Paleo)
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer, Main course
Cuisine: Italian, Fusion
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
A vegan and Paleo version of the Italian Minestrone soup - hearty and comforting with a variety of vegetables cooked in a delicious blend of Italian and Mexican spices
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 2 large cloves of garlic chopped
  • ½ inch piece of ginger
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ of a large purple turnip, chopped about 1 cup
  • 2 medium size taro root, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp red chilli powder (cayenne pepper)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 cup chopped pumpkin
  • 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 cup cubed zucchini or smooth gourd
  • 6-8 frozen or fresh cranberries
  • 6 cups water
For garnish:
  • Boiled yucca, grated
Instructions
  1. In a large cooking pot, heat the oil. Then add the chopped onions and celery.Saute for about 2 minutes.
  2. Next add the garlic and ginger and the bay leaf. Sauce for a minute.
  3. Then add the turnip, taro root and green beans. Add the salt and all the spices. Stir for a minute.Then cover the pot with a lid and turn heat to low. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. Next add the pumpkin, cabbage, the zucchini (or gourd) and the cranberries. Add the water and cover and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes or until all the vegetables are cooked.
  5. Check for seasoning and add salt or pepper as needed. Turn heat off.
  6. Serve soup warm with grated boiled yucca on top!
Notes
You can use any combination of vegetables. Just add the hard ones first to allow for more cooking time for them.
For AIp version, skip the cumin, coriander and cayenne powder