Dill is one herb (the only one perhaps) that I took a long time to appreciate. May be because it was not available in western India where I grew up. And Dill being so different from some of the other herbs that I was used to like cilantro and mint, it took a while before I started appreciating its fragrance and flavor. One of my close friends is originally from Iran and she makes a delicious Lima beans Pilaf where Dill flavor is predominant. That was my first exposure to Dill and that first time I wasn’t crazy about it. But over the years I slowly started to like its strong flavor and smell.
I started first appreciating it in pickled cucumbers. I absolutely relish pickles. And now I have grown to be quite fond of it 🙂 I still won’t use it that liberally since it can be too overpowering if you overdo it but every now and then I like to get a fresh bunch and use it sparingly in salads and baked potatoes etc. A few weeks ago I found a large bunch in our local farmer’s market and was tempted to pick it up. At that time I didn’t know what I would make with it but it somehow had such a fresh and refreshing smell that I had to bring it to my kitchen!
And then the next day as I got the Salmon out of the freezer, the idea of making a sauce popped in my head. And knowing me you won’t be surprised that I decided to make a coconut based sauce, kind of like a chutney using coconut, lemon juice and dill. So glad I did! I was thinking of baking the salmon but last minute decided to just do a quick pan fry. The dish was just perfect – the crispy salmon and the creamy coconut dill flavored chutney was like a marriage made in heaven! Mmm…Mmm good!
Pan fried Salmon, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, served with a delicious creamy coconut and dill chutney
2 salmon filets (about 6-8 oz each)
About 2 tbsp Coconut or Olive Oil for pan frying
Marinade for salmon:
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp cayenne pepper pow (I used kashmiri chill powder which is mild)
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp olive oil
For the coconut dill chutney:
½ cup grated coconut or coconut pieces(fresh or frozen)
¼ cup fresh dill
1 green chili (optional)
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp sea salt (or per taste)
¼ cup hot water
Thaw the salmon and remove any scales from the skin side. Pat dry using paper towels.
In a small mixing bowl, mix all the marinade ingredients.
Apply marinade paste to the salmon filets and keep aside for 15-30 mins.
In a food processor, blend all the chutney ingredients until creamy and fine.
Heat a frying pan and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the marinated salmon pieces. Cook for about 2 mins on medium high heat. Flip and cook on the other side for about 2 mins more. Transfer to a dish.
Serve Salmon with coconut dill chutney on top!
For AIP version, skip cayenne pepper and green chili.
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 my paleo 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.
In the raw cakes world, this would be called a vegan cheese cake. But I found that my followers were a little confused when I posted my first vegan cheese cake made with berries and cashews. So I will just call it ‘cashew cake’. Although it has cashews, coconut and dates too. And maple syrup. And some lemon juice and coconut oil. Don’t you love it when you can list all the ingredients in a cake using your 5 or 6 fingers? As opposed to that cake that you get from the supermarket bakery, which has like what close to 50 ingredients some of which you cannot even pronounce forget recognize.
Yes we like it simple. We like it clean. We like it healthy. Since that first time I made my first raw cake (cashew cake), I have made it 2 more times. Once I just kept it plain with vanilla flavor and added strawberries on top! The family loved it. The next time I made it for mother’s day where I made a 2 layer one with strawberry layer on top. And that was super and fabulous and totally delicious! Yes all the moms in our Mother’s day party were impressed. And the kids loved it too. (Btw, to see my day to day posts, please follow me on instagram. You see guys, I cook way more than I can write a blog post on. so I use instagram now to post my day to day recipes!)
So after mixed berries and strawberries, the next one I was dying to make was …yes you guessed it! Mango, of course! Mangoes being my favorite fruit and them being in season it made perfect sense to make a Mango cashew cake. So with some friends visiting us this past long weekend, I had the perfect opportunity to make the ‘Mango cheese cake’ and also showoff my ‘raw cake making’ talents to them 🙂
Btw, I just realized that we could call this cake a ‘pie’ too. Incidentally, Mango pie used to be the most common dessert that I used to make until recently. I have posted my famous Mango pie recipe before. And I still make it for some special occasions. However, in terms of a healthy dessert, this Mango Cashew Pie would be the winner hands-down. Refined sugar free, Dairy free and Gluten free! Eat as much as you like 🙂 Our guests appreciated this cake a lot. It was a beauty. I also made a video of it. Here it is!
A delicious cake(pie) made with cashews, mangoes and coconut.
For the crust:
1 cup finely shredded coconut (desiccated coconut)
2 tbsp coconut oil melted
Pinch sea salt
For the Filling:
2 cups cashew nuts soaked overnight
⅓ cup coconut oil
¼ cup plus 1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp coconut cream(or thick coconut milk)
2 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp sea salt
1 cup chopped fresh ripe mangoes
Soak cashew nuts in warm water and let sit for at least 12-24 hours.
Line the bottom of an 8 inch springform pan with parchment paper.
For making the crust, in a food processor blend all the crust ingredients except the shredded coconut. Then mix this with the shredded coconut in a bowl to form a thick mixture. Press this mixture to the bottom of the pan. Freeze the pan for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling by blending all the filling ingredients except the mangoes to get a thick creamy filling.
Pour ¾ of the this filling mixture onto the pan after the base has set. Then to the rest of the filling mixture, add the mangoes and again blend to get a creamy smooth mixture. Pour this over the top of the white filling layer. Place pan back in freezer for at least 5-6 hours.
Remove pan from freezer about 30 mins before serving the cake. Place pan over warm water for 5 mins to help slide the bottom easily.
For making the crust, I do not blend the shredded coconut with the dates since then the mixture becomes too fine and the crust will become a hard crust. When you have loosely packed crust, it firms up perfectly after freezing.
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.