Cashew Masala Milk (Vegan, Paleo, Refined Sugar free)

 Masala Milk is a traditional Indian drink made using milk blended with nuts, spices and flavors. I am not sure which part of India this drink originated from.  In Maharashtra, during Kojagiri Poornima, it is a ritual to serve Masala doodh (Milk) after watching the full bright moon. Many people fast on this day and make this Masala Doodh and keep the milk in a container directly under the Moonlight as a prasad and get blessings from the Moon God. I always enjoyed having this drink as a child since we had lots of Maharashtrian neighbors growing up and we girls would always have a blast on Kojagiri Poornima. Drinking this milk was the best part for me 🙂

Now that I avoid dairy, I decided to come up with a vegan version of this milk, which was not difficult at all. I just used cashew nut and coconut milk to be the ‘milk’ source and additionally I also used dates to be the sweetener so no other sugar was necessary! So I have a really healthy version of this traditional drink and this is one delicious drink that makes you feel special! I indulged myself with this drink on one hot lazy afternoon last week as I stayed indoors enjoying the view from our sunroom. I felt like royalty -It was just perfect 🙂

As we celebrate Diwali over the next few days, this would be a great drink to serve to your guests!

Cashew Masala Milk (Vegan, Paleo)
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Beverage
Cuisine: Indian, Fusion
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
A healthy version of the traditional indian drink made with cashew nuts, dates and fragrant spices
Ingredients
  • 20 cashew nuts, soaked in hot water for 2 hours (or overnight for 6-8 hours)
  • 4 dates
  • 1 cup warm water
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ⅛th teaspoon saffron (4-5 strands)
  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder (by crushing green cardamom pods)
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1-2 drops of rose extract/essence
  • 1 tbsp crushed pistachios (optional)
Instructions
  1. Drain water from the soaked cashews. Place in blender/food processor jar. Add the dates and half of the warm water. Blend until smooth. Add the rest of the water and the coconut milk and blend again.
  2. Add the saffron, cardamom and nutmeg and rose. Mix well using a spoon. Transfer to two serving bowls/glasses. Add the crushed pistachios on top.
  3. You can serve as is or chilled.
Notes
I don't add crushed pistachios since I am sensitive to pistachios but it gives it additional flavor

Kaju Barfi with honey || Refined sugar free Kaju Katli || Cashew Nut Fudge

Happy Diwali to all those who celebrate! I have two ‘Diwali special’ recipes for you and both of them have cashew nuts as the main ingredient. And both the recipes are extremely simple and easy! But most importantly the end products are absolutely delicious!

The first one I will share in this post is the recipe for sugar free Kaju Katli! Bet you can feel my excitement! Having gone refined sugar free since last two years, Kaju Katli had gone out of my life too sadly 🙁 But I had been meaning to experiment making Kaju Katli using honey and finally for this Diwali I was able to try it. And pleased to inform you that it was a super duper success! Yipee!

My son loves Kaju Katli. in fact that is the ONLY Indian sweet that he will eat! So when he came home from school I told him there was Kaju Katli in the fridge. He quickly went to grab it and had a bite. ‘Hmm… very good mom!’ he said. I said to him – “And guess what?” .  He immediately responded knowing how much I detest refined white sugar, “You must have not added sugar…so, what did you add?” .

I smiled and replied ‘Honey, I just added some honey!” 🙂 Also added rose flavor instead of cardamom. That coupled with the natural floral tint of the honey made this Kaju Katli absolutely fragrant and delectable. It was the perfect offering for a Diwali Pooja.

And guess what else was perfect? Fresh flowers! Yes this year the weather has been so warm until this week that my garden has still been blooming.This is so unusual for us to have flowers in our garden for Diwali!  Don’t you love it when that happens? I consider it as a gift from the heavens!

Have a Happy Diwali and stay blessed! And look out for my next post which also has cashews in it!

Kaju Barfi with honey || Refined sugar free Kaju Katli ||
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Healthy Dessert
Cuisine: Indian, Fusion
 
A healthy and delectable version of the traditional Cashew nut barfi or Kaju Katli made with cashew nuts and honey and infused with a rose flavor.
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups cashew nuts whole
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1-2 drops of rose extract
Instructions
  1. In a skillet or a frying pan, dry roast the cashew nuts on a low flame for about 5 mins stirring continuously to avoid burning. The cashew nuts should only slightly change color (with some light brown spots). Turn heat off.
  2. Transfer the roasted cashew nuts to a food processor and pulse for about 10-20 secs until you get a coarse powder. Take care not too grind too much or you might get lumpy cashew butter. Keep aside.
  3. In a medium size cooking pot, add the honey and the water. Heat until the mixture begins to bubble. Immediately add the ground cashew powder and mix using a spoon or spatula until all the powder is mixed well with the honey and you get a wet pasty mixture. Turn heat off.
  4. Place a large sheet of parchment paper on the kitchen counter(or a large tray). Dump the hot cashew mixture onto the parchment paper.
  5. Take another parchment paper sheet and place it over the mixture to cover it. Now use a rolling pin to flatten the mixture from all sides.
  6. Now place this flattened spread out mixture along with the parchment paper onto a tray and keep in the freezer for about 30 mins (or refrigerator for 1 hour).
  7. After the mixture has turned firm, remove from the freezer (or refrigerator) and cut into diamonds or squares.
  8. Keep the Kaju Katli pieces in the refrigerator until serving.
Notes
Roast the cashew nuts on low heat so that they don't turn brown in color. Store the kaju Barfis in the refrigerator since they become sticky at room temperature.
You can try using maple syrup for honey too although I haven't tried it yet.

Tuna masala cakes with a coconut crust (Gluten Free, Whole30, Egg Free)

  I have made a lot of different type of patties. In India we also liked to call them cutlets. Vegetable cutlets, Chicken cutlets, Shrimp cutlets and Beef Cutlets.  They all have almost a similar base – mashed potatoes, onions, garlic, some spices and then dipped in egg wash and coated with bread crumbs. Shallow fried to get a crispy crust and a soft inside. Ooh my mouth is watering!

Now that I am on a grain free and egg free diet, the above recipe wasn’t going to be of much use to me. But if you know me, you will know that I don’t give up that easily! A few months ago, I made Beef Cutlets that were grain free and egg free by using tapioca flour and shredded coconut. And since then I had been using this technique for a lot of other things – Crispy Calamari being another such recipe.

Tuna had been on my mind for the longest time. But somehow never got around to making Tuna cutlets until now.  Last week I finally rectified that. And I am SO GLAD I decided to make these Tuna cutlets. OMG! These are I think the best patties/cutlets/cakes of all the different ones that I have made over the years. These are to die for! Seriously, I made a small batch of 6 cutlets and I ate almost 4 in one sitting!

Then I felt guilty and so made another batch the next day so I could share with the family and the kids absolutely loved it too! The crispy coating imparted by the shredded coconut and the soft interior with the shredded tuna mixed with just the right amount of spices, makes eating these cakes an incredibly delightful experience that every foodie needs to indulge in! Now I did add potatoes to this and so this is not Paleo. However, you could easily sub mashed yucca for potatoes in this same recipe. As for me, I LOVE potatoes and although I limit the quantity of starch I have, once a week I do like to cook something with potatoes in it. (actually it ends up being chicken and potato curry almost every week:) )

Tuna Masala Cakes with a coconut crust (Gluten Free, Whole30, Egg Free)
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Fusion, American, Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
 
Scrumptious tuna and potato cakes mildly spiced with Indian spices with a crispy coconut coating
Ingredients
  • 2 cans 4.5 oz each of shredded tuna (in water or olive oil - I prefer olive oil)
  • 2 small or 1 medium size boiled potatoes (about 1 cup when mashed)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • ½ of a red onion, chopped fine
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2-3 fresh curry leaves(optional)
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp kashmiri chilli powder (or a pinch of cayenne pepper)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp sea salt or as needed
For the crust:
  • 2 tbsp cassava flour(see Notes)
  • pinch sea salt
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp water
  • about 1 cup dry shredded coconut (I used Bob's Red Mill)
  • Coconut Oil for shallow frying
Instructions
  1. Drain the water or the oil from the can of tuna and add the tuna to a large mixing bowl. Peel the potatoes and mash them well. Add to the bowl with the tuna. Keep aside.
  2. In a small pan, add the coconut oil and the onion. Saute for about 2 mins and then add the chopped garlic and the grated ginger and the curry leaves )if adding). Saute for another 1 min. Lower heat and add all the spices. Sir well for 30 secs and turn heat off.
  3. Add this onion and spices mixture to the bowl with the tuna and potatoes. Sprinkle the sea salt on this mixture (before adding salt make sure tuna is not very salty and accordingly lower amount of salt if needed). Now using a masher or your hands mix everything well to incorporate the onion and spices with the potatoes and tuna. The mixture should resemble a dough like consistency at this point.
  4. Shape into about 6-8 patties (depending upon size of patty). Keep patties aside.
  5. In a small mixing bowl, add the cassava flour and water and mix to get a batter. Keep this aside.
  6. In a plate, add the shredded coconut.
  7. Heat a frying pan with a layer of coconut oil (just enough for shallow frying)
  8. When the oil gets hot, turn heat to medium and then dip each patty into the cassava batter coating it fully with batter and then dip it in the plate with the shredded coconut to get he coconut coating. Place the patty on the pan. Repeat similarly for all the patties.
  9. Cook each patty for about 2 mins on one side until golden brown. Flip and cook the other side. Drain on paper towels to remove excess oil. Serve warm!
Notes
For a Paleo version, substitute mashed yucca in place of potatoes. For AIP version, in addition to using mashed yucca, omit cayenne pepper, cumin and garam masala and replace with cinnamon powder. You can use tapioca flour instead of cassava flour in this recipe but you may need to add a bit more water to get a slurry.

 

 

Mini Apple Pies (Vegan, Paleo)

Nothing can be more American than an apple pie, right? And recipes for a scrumptious pie crust are in plentiful! I have one recipe myself that I have been making for years and one that is absolutely delicious.  I make it with a streusel on top with almonds and brown sugar and this apple pie is my family’s favorite.

This year I wanted to make a grain free, dairy free apple pie that I could eat too. One day as I was rearranging my baking items on the kitchen shelf, I saw my mini tart pans and from nowhere the thought of making apple pies in them came to my mind 🙂 I thought that would be really neat because that way you won’t make a mess when you try to slice the apple pie. Each of us could have a personal apple pie!  I initially thought that I would make my original pie crust recipe for the rest of the family and make a paleo version for myself. But as I began to get things out of the pantry, I thought why not make a Paleo version for the entire family? I knew that the crust I had made when I made my Paleo Blueberry Pie was absolutely tasty. So I decided to take the risk and see my family’s reaction.

I used the same crust recipe as I had for my Paleo Blueberry Pie and for the filling I decided to cook the apples first on the stove top first since this crust needed very little time to cook and the apples would need more time. The pies came out so good! – just as I had anticipated. The conversation below describes my children’s reaction after I served them this pie.!

My daughter – “Mom, this is sooo good! What did you put in it this time?” And then “Wait, mom, you can eat this too? “(in a surprised tone after watching me eating the same pie)

I nod and say “Yes this has only things that I am allowed to eat and is grain free, dairy free and refined sugar free”

My son – “Really! Really! This is so good, man!. This crust – its so powdery, so shortbread-like and so tasty! What’s in it?”

I say “Coconut flour and Arrowroot flour and coconut oil”.

My daughter – “These mini apple pies are so cute!”

And I smiled to myself. As you can see, more than the pie, this conversation made me satiated! Now that was well worth the risk! And the bonus? This crust is such a breeze to make!

Bringing these cute mini pies to the Paleo/AIP Recipe Round up this week!

Mini Apple Pies (Vegan, Paleo)
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert; Healthy desserts
Cuisine: Fusion, Paleo
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Delectable mini apple pies with a scrumptious, shortbread like crust of coconut and arrowroot flours with a soft 'melt-in-mouth' filling of apples
Ingredients
For the crust:
  • ⅔ rd cup plus about 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • ⅔ rd cup arrowroot flour
  • pinch sea salt
  • ½ cup coconut oil (semi solid)
For the filling:
  • 5 medium size apples, peeled and sliced thinly (use soft variety of apples like Macintosh)
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp all spice (use cinnamon powder for AIP)
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (optional, use ginger for AIP)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp tapioca flour mixed in ¼ cup water
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 deg F(160 deg C).
  2. In a medium size mixing bowl, add all the crust ingredients. Mix using your hands 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 four equal parts.
  3. Grease four mini pie pans with coconut oil. Place parchment paper on top. 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 5 mins until the crust looks golden brown from top. Take out of oven and keep aside. Turn oven temp to 350 deg F(170 deg C)
  4. To make the filling, add all the filling ingredients, except the tapioca flour slurry in a cooking pot. Heat on medium heat covered for about 10 mins stirring frequently. Once the apples start to turn soft, mix the tapioca flour with water in a small bowl and pour this slurry slowly into the pot and stir vigorously. Cook for only one more min and turn heat off.
  5. Spoon apple filling into each of the four mini pie pans on top of the pre baked crust. Bake the pies additionally for about 7 more mins at 350 deg F(170 deg C) until golden brown on the edges.
  6. Serve the individual pies while warm!

Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Cilantro Lime Mayo (Paleo, Gluten Free)

Having been gluten free for about two years now, tacos had become a thing of the past for me. I was rolling around and learning to live life without them. Until I discovered cassava flour that is! Yes, Yes cassava flour that is made from yucca (also called as tapioca or cassava).  Now this is very different from tapioca flour, the reason being tapioca flour is only tapioca starch and does not have the fiber part of the vegetable. So tapioca flour is basically tapioca starch and it can replace corn starch in recipes. However, I repeat tapioca flour is NOT similar to cassava flour and you cannot replace cassava flour with tapioca flour in this cassava tortilla recipe!

Going back to my discovery of cassava flour – oh what can I say? Just that it has brought rotis, tacos and along with that the excitement of eating Indian and Mexican food back into my life! OK so I make cassava rotis/parathas/tortillas with it. That’s a recipe I have posted before when I posted the Vegan/Paleo Vegetable Korma curry. But that’s one recipe with multiple uses! So I had been eating cassava rotis / parathas with different sables and chicken curry 🙂 Yum! I couldn’t come out of that euphoric state for a while. And once I finally did come out, I had to make tacos next! So currently I am going crazy making all kinds of tacos – Last week I made a chicken taco with left over baked tandoori style chicken and it was so so delicious!

And then this week, one of the days for lunch, I was wondering about what I could eat when again the memory of those chicken tacos came to mind. I also had some of the avocado cilantro lime mayo left over. Darn I thought ! I don’t have any more left over chicken pieces though and baking chicken now didn’t seem feasible. So then my taco loving brain came up with the next best option (actually turned out to be the really best option!) – how about making shrimp tacos since I could pan fry shrimp fast enough!

Well, once that thought entered my head, I just had to start working on it. I was initially just thinking of doing  quick pan fry of the shrimp with red chili powder and turmeric. But as I kept the shrimp to thaw another thought entered my head – how about making it caribbean style with cilantro, garlic, lime marinade? Ooh…ok an extra 5 mins to make this sauce ? sure why not? Remember the caribbean style grilled shrimp that I posted earlier this summer? That is such an easy recipe and comes out fabulous every single time with the shrimp bursting with so much flavor!

Well, I am so glad I decided to take the extra effort on the marinade …coz these grilled shrimp tacos were the BOMB! I mean it! OMG, they were so good that I almost felt guilty devouring them myself alone at lunch when the rest of my family were not home 🙂 However I promised my family that I will make these again soon 🙂 🙂

Btw, I have a video showing how to make cassava tortillas. Check it out!


Shrimp Tacos with avocado cilantro lime sauce (Paleo, Gluten Free)
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican, Fusion
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
 
Tantalizing Gluten free and Paleo tacos with caribbean style grilled shrimp and served with an avocado cilantro lime mayo
Ingredients
For cassava tortillas:
  • 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
For the avocado cilantro mayo:
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 green serrano chill
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 tbsp lemon/lime juice
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
For the caribbean style shrimp:
  • About 20-24 large size shrimp, de-shelled and deveined
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1-2 green serrano chilies
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp lime/lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos (or gluten free soy or tamari sauce)
  • pinch sea salt
  • 2 -3 tbsp coconut oil for pan frying the shrimp
For assembling the tacos:
  • shredded lettuce
  • thinly sliced onions
  • avocado slices
  • lemon slices
  • cilantro leaves
Instructions
For making cassava tortilla:
  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 1-2 more tsp of oil and then knead with your hands to form a smooth dough.
  2. Roll dough into tortillas and cook on a frying pan cooking about 2 mins on each side. You should get about 8 tortillas. Keep the tortillas aside (Leave them uncovered so they don't get soggy)
For the avocado cilantro mayo:
  1. Add all the ingredients listed under Avocado cilantro mayo in a food processor/ blender and blend until creamy and smooth. Transfer to a bowl/container. keep aside.
For the shrimp:
  1. Mix all the marinade ingredients together and blend in a food processor. Add this marinade to the cleaned shrimp. Marinate for 5-15 mins.
  2. Heat a frying pan adding the coconut oil. When hot, lower heat to medium and add the shrimp (you may need to do in batches depending upon the size of your pan). Cook for 2 mins on one side. Then flip each shrimp to the other side and cover and cook for 1 more min. Transfer the shrimp to a dish/bowl and keep covered till assembling of tacos.
For making tacos:
  1. Make tacos by placing 3-4 shrimp on a tortilla, adding the shredded lettuce, onions and the avocado cilantro mayo. Garnish with avocado slices, lemon slices and cilantro!
Notes
For A strict AIP version, eliminate green chillies entirely from this recipe.