Sweet Potato Gulab Jamuns (Vegan, Gluten Free, Paleo)

 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 Gulab Jamuns (Vegan, Paleo)
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Healthy dessert
Cuisine: Indian, Fusion
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
 
Sweet potato balls fried in coconut oil and soaked in a sweetened syrup made of maple syrup and honey flavored with rose flavor.
Ingredients
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
Instructions
  1. 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)
  2. Roll the dough into small ping pong size balls. You can apply some coconut oil in your palms to help roll into smooth balls.
  3. Heat the coconut oil in a small frying pan (or deep frying pan)
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Turn heat off and add the rose flavor.
  7. 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.

 

Honey Lemon Salmon (Teriyaki Style Salmon)

I happened to come across an authentic recipe of Teriyaki Salmon on CPTV last month where the chef was a native Japanese Chef who was showing how to prepare an elaborate Japanese meal. It was quite enchanting to watch how she cooked using very simple ingredients and yet was able to create wonderful dishes! One recipe she shared was that of salmon teriyaki. What I took from that recipe was the method / the technique. Her actual recipe had sugar and corn starch which I did not want to use.

With the basic recipe in mind, I experimented using honey.  And boy, it came out so incredibly good the first time that I must have made this at least 4 times this past month! It is so good plus it’s really really easy to make.  Its a great dish to make when you have someone over since you just marinate the salmon beforehand and then you can grill or pan fry it right before serving. Or you could also cook it just before your guests come and keep it warm in the oven until its time to serve. I made this on two separate occasions when I had a friend over for lunch and my friends both loved it. You can pan fry it or broil it in the oven. I have tried both methods and they both are equally good.

This recipe goes well with a salad or any rice or vegetable dish on the side. What you see in this picture is a delicious salad that I made using grated green apples, grated cabbage, avocados and oranges! 

Honey Lemon Salmon(Teriyaki Style Salmon)
Author: 
Recipe type: main course
Cuisine: Fusion, Asian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
 
Salmon marinated in a honey lemon sauce and grilled to get a crispy exterior and a moist, juicy center
Ingredients
  • 3 Salmon steaks, about 5 ounce each
For the marinade:
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger or ginger juice
  • ½ tsp mustard powder (optional)
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • about 1 tbsp coconut oil for frying
Instructions
  1. Wash and remove sales from the skin of the salmon. Pat dry and keep aside.
  2. Mix all marinade ingredients in a bowl. Reserve ¼ cup marinade.
  3. Pour rest of the marinade in a ziplock bag. Add the salmon pieces, close the bag and shake the bag well. Place bag in refrigerator for 30 mins to an hour.
  4. Heat a frying/grill pan. Add the coconut oil. When hot, place the salmon pieces skin side down. Let cook for about 4 mins on medium heat. Flip carefully and cook on other side for another 3-4 mins. Place salmon pieces in a tray and cover with Al foil until serving.
  5. Alternatively, you can cook the salmon in an oven under Broil setting. place in a foil lined tray and place on upper rack and broil for about 7-8 mins on one side. Flip and again broil for about 4-5 mins on the other side.
  6. Just before serving, add the reserved marinade to the same pan and cook for about 1 min. Spoon this thick sauce over the grilled fish while serving.
Notes
For AIP version:Skip cayenne and mustard powder
For a thicker sauce, you can mix ½ tsp of tapioca starch to the reserved marinade before heating

Sweet Potato dumplings with sweetened coconut filling (Sweet Potato Kozhukkatta)

  Its amazing how creative you can get when you are forced to be on a restrictive diet. As a kid, ‘Kozhukkatta’ used to be the occasional sweet treat my mom would make for us. Usually she would make it as an evening snack to be had with tea. I loved these dumplings made with rice flour and filled with a sweetened coconut filling.  These are incredibly delicious and are quite filling at the same time. So these would be a perfect snack for us kids coming back famished from school. I would gobble up like 5 or 6 in one sitting. My mom would also almost always make extra coconut filling and save that for me since I loved to just eat that by itself:)

For a while now I had been thinking of trying to make these Kozhukkatta using sweet potato instead of rice flour. This idea came to my mind because I saw a recipe on instagram where someone had made ravioli using sweet potato.  That was inspiration and I immediately thought of making these sweet dumplings. Finally last week I got to experiment with this and luckily for me the dumplings came out successful!  I used a bit of tapioca starch to help form the dough. And also used Indian sweet potatoes which are less sweet and whitish in color. And of course, I replaced the jaggery with maple syrup.

I offered these to my kiddos as they came home from school not sure if they would appreciate these. Oh boy, I need not have worried – they loved it!  I had made only a small batch of about 12 and pretty soon all three of us were fighting for the last one 🙂

Sweet Potato dumplings with sweetened coconut filling (Sweet Potato Kozhukutta)
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Fusion
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
 
A Paleo version of the traditional rice dumplings from Kerala using sweet potatoes and coconut
Ingredients
  • 2 large sweet potatoes,boiled and peeled (Use indian or japanese white sweet potato)
  • about ¼ cup of tapioca flour (you can use coconut flour or rice flour too)
For the filling:
  • 1 cup grated coconut(if using frozen, thaw it beforehand)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, add the mashed sweet potato and add the tapioca starch (or rice flour) and mix with your hands until you form a smooth dough. Keep aside.
  2. Heat a flat bottomed pan and add the coconut to it. Cook the coconut for about 2-3 minutes stirring frequently. Add the maple syrup and continue cooking it for another 2-3 mins stirring constantly. Add the cardamom powder and turn heat off. Keep aside and let cool for a few mins.
  3. To make the dumplings, take a golf size ball of dough and flatten it with your hands to form a small circle. Place a teaspoon of filling in the center and then pinch the edges towards the center to form a round dumpling. Repeat same process until all dumplings are made.
  4. Steam the dumplings in a steamer basket. You can create your own steamer assembly by heating a large vessel with water and placing a strainer on top. Place the dumplings on the strainer and then cover with a lid. Steam for about 10 mins.
Notes
For AIP version: Skip cardamom powder

 

 

Crispy Fish bites (Paleo, Gluten free)

 I recently started eating Flounder and I love its delicate flavor and its soft, flaky texture.  Since it doesn’t have a strong flavor of its own, it can easily take in the flavor of the marinade the you cook it in. So I have been experimenting cooking it with different spices. It tastes great just pan fried by marinating it lightly with cayenne pepper, salt and turmeric.  A few weeks ago I decided to make these the same way as the ‘Crispy Chicken Bites’ I make with Indian and Asian flavors. Lots of ginger and garlic, along with cayenne and soy sauce (or coconut aminos). Lightly coated with tapioca starch and pan fried to get crispy, spicy fish nuggets!

So glad I decided to experiment – these crispy fish bites are so tasty! They can be perfect as an appetizer or pair it with a salad like I do for a complete meal. My family also loves to just eat it along side our Indian traditional meal of Rice and Dal.

Crispy Fish bites (Paleo, Gluten free)
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer, Main course
Cuisine: Fusion, IndoChinese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
 
Fish filets marinated with the flavors of ginger, garlic and cayenne pepper and coated with tapioca starch and fried to get crispy fish nuggets
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Fish filets, cut into bite size pieces (Use Flounder or any other white fish)
For marinade:
  • 2 tbsp tapioca flour
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder or cayenne pepper( skip for AIP version)
  • 2 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 fish pieces and blot dry using paper towels.
  2. In a small bowl, mix all marinade ingredients and stir using a spoon to form a thick paste.
  3. Add this paste to the bowl with the fish pieces. Mix gently using your hands to coat the fish pieces completely.
  4. Add about 1 tbsp oil at a time in a small frying pan and shallow fry the fish pieces in batches until they are cooked well and crispy on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
Notes
For AIP version, skip cayenne pepper

 

Mango Coconut Lassi (Vegan, Paleo)

Lassi is a traditional North Indian yoghurt drink which is highly refreshing on hot, summery days.  Most common is the plain sweet lassi with only added sugar and no flavor.  The thick sweetened cream on top used to be the best part for me. Yum! Mango lassi is a popular, modern variation of this traditional lassi where fresh or frozen mango pulp is added to give a most delectable combination of yoghurt and sweet ripe mangoes. In the US, Mango lassi can be found in the menus of most Indian restaurants.

Being dairy free, I had been missing my lassi!  But not anymore! Coconut yoghurt to the rescue!  I make coconut yoghurt at home now – I recently posted the recipe for the same. You can also buy coconut yoghurt from most organic supermarket stores.

Since Mangoes have been in season (Oh how I am loving it!), now was my chance to try making a mango lassi with my new found love, ‘coconut yoghurt’!  I decided to add a few frozen mangoes too to give it a nice creamy consistency.  I added a tiny piece of raw turmeric to give it a healthy, anti-inflammatory boost!  Yum!

Happy Memorial Day weekend folks. Maybe you can make this delicious mango lassi this long weekend 🙂

Mango Coconut Lassi (Vegan, Paleo)
Author: 
Recipe type: Drinks, Breakfast
Cuisine: Fusion
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
A delicious smoothie made with fresh mangoes and coconut yoghurt with a tinge of turmeric
Ingredients
  • 1 large ripe mango, peeled and cubed
  • ½ cup frozen mango pieces
  • ½ cup thick coconut yoghurt
  • ¼ cup thick coconut milk
  • ½ inch piece of raw turmeric root or ¼ tsp organic turmeric powder (optional)
For topping:
  • fresh mango pieces
  • dried shredded coconut / coconut flakes
Instructions
  1. Blend everything together in a high powered blender till you get a creamy smoothie. Serve chilled topping with fresh mango slices and shredded coconut!
Notes
If the mango is ripe, you don't need to add additional sweetener. But if you desire, you can add some light maple syrup