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

Tapioca Pudding / Parfait (Vegan, Paleo, Gluten Free)

Ever since I went grain free about 9 months ago, tapioca has been my savior! Tapioca has a variety of different names in case you are confused – tapioca, yucca, cassava! Yes they are all the same root vegetable.  The end product also comes in a variety of forms – fresh yucca roots, frozen yucca pieces, tapioca pearls (sabudana in hindi, also called a s sago), cassava flour, tapioca starch or tapioca flour.

And I use each of these different forms to create a multitude of dishes which enables me to not only stick to my grain free diet but also enjoy it! Tapioca pearls are a product made from fresh tapioca/yucca. In India this ingredient called as sabudana is primarily used during religious fasting periods. Sabudana Khichdi is one such popular dish.

Nowadays I have started using sabudana to make sabudaana kheer or pudding where I use coconut milk and coconut. This recipe is a variation of the tapioca pearl pudding recipe where I incorporated fruits to make it a ‘parfait’. So yum. This has become one of my regular items for breakfast now but this could easily be your dessert too!

I am bringing this recipe to the Paleo/AIP recipe roundtable.

For more of my day to day recipes and variations of existing recipes, please follow me on instagram at https://www.instagram.com/indus_international_kitchen/

Tapioca Pudding / Parfait (Vegan, Paleo, Gluten Free)
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, Desserts
Cuisine: Fusion
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1-2
 
A delicious and light parfait made with alternate layers of tapioca coconut pudding and fresh papaya and pomegranate.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup tapioca pearls(sabudana or sago), soaked in water overnight (or at least for 4 hours)
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tbsp grated coconut (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup fresh papaya pieces, chopped
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate arils
Instructions
  1. Drain the tapioca pearls using a strainer. Wash thoroughly in running water while in strainer. Place the tapioca pearls in a medium cooking pot and add all the rest of the ingredients except the fruits.
  2. Cook on medium heat for about 7-8 mins stirring continuously until all the pearls turn translucent. Turn heat off. Let cool for a few mins.
  3. In a tall serving glass, layer this tapioca pudding with the fruits and serve!
Notes
You can use any combination of fruits for this recipe

Chestnut flour Halwa (Singhare ka Halwa) – Grain free, Dairy Free

  Chestnut flour is something that I recently got acquainted with. Thanks to my friend Monika. A few weeks ago when we were at their home for dinner, she told me about this flour which is called as ‘singhare ka atta’ in India and how this flour is used during religious fasting periods called as Vrat. She said that this flour came from water chestnuts and hence it is grain free. Wow, I was so happy to hear this and the next time I was at our local indian grocery store, I picked up a bag of this flour. I couldn’t wait to try this for making parathas as Monika had suggested!

I did make the parathas with aloo(potatoes) in them since that was the only way to make the dough. The parathas were good and now I started browsing more recipes using singhare ka atta. There are all sorts of things that showed up – dosas, samosas, etc and I started to drool looking at all these foods that are forbidden for me on my current grain free diet. I was feeling so excited already  and then I saw the recipe for ‘singhare ka halwa’! Omg! I couldn’t believe my eyes! Halwa has always been my favorite Indian dessert and for the past two years I have not had halwa being dairy free , gluten free and sugar free!  So looking at this recipe, I imagined the possibility of  a halwa in the near future for me. That was incredible! If it came out good, Monika, my friend deserved a treat from me!

And today happened to be the perfect day to try this recipe since it was Janmashtami which is Lord Krishna’s birthday. I started seeing all kinds of Indian traditional sweets recipes posted on instagram and in the afternoon, it was time for me to try making the singhara atta ka halwa.!

Turned out great – satisfied my halwa cravings totally. Even though I used coconut oil instead of ghee and maple syrup instead of sugar. The chestnut flour itself has a nutty taste and aroma so the halwa tastes rich even without any ghee or milk in it.

Chestnut flour Halwa (Singhare ka Halwa) - Grain free, Dairy Free
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, sweets
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
 
A delicious fudge made with chest nut flour and maple syrup flavored with cardamom
Ingredients
  • ½ cup chest nut flour (sing hare ka atta)
  • pinch sea salt
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder
  • cashew nut pieces-5-6
  • shredded coconut- 1 tsp
Instructions
  1. In a kauai (wok style pan), add the chest nut flour and roast it on medium heat stirring continuously. Keep roasting for around 3-4 mins on medium heat until it turns to light brown color.
  2. Now add the coconut oil and again stir to blend it in with the flour.
  3. Once it forms into a sticky mass (about 2-3 mins later) add the water, salt, maple syrup and cardamom powder. Stir continuously till you get a smooth halwa consistency.
  4. Turn heat off and top with cashew nut pieces and shredded coconut.

Blueberry Pie (Vegan, Paleo, AIP)

It has been blueberry season these past few weeks and we have been enjoying it to the fullest! With two farms within a couple miles from our home, we are so fortunate to get the freshest of the freshest every season! This year I made two trips to each of the farms.  The kids being older now…they aren’t as excited about picking as they used to be some years ago. However, I still dragged them with me saying ‘mom cannot carry heavy stuff alone, remember?’. And that is the truth too. Although my RA has been under control now for the past few months with medications and my new diet, I still avoid carrying even moderately heavy stuff lest it stirs up a flare! And the kids know this. So that’s how I got them to go with me 🙂

We picked like about 4 quarts or 6 lbs each time and finished up all of it in a couple weeks! I had got more thinking I will freeze some but the blueberries were so delicious that between just gobbling them up and adding to my morning smoothies they were all gone. And so I was planning for a 3rd visit when my friend Monika happened to mention that she was planning to go that weekend with her kiddos. Rest you can guess …yeah I asked (em..ordered) her to get me another 4 quarts:)

OK so this time, I had to make the blueberry crostata for my children that I make every year and which they had been asking for. So I made that for my son on his birthday and then since I was craving for a pie myself, I made this Paleo version of blueberry pie for myself based on the Blackberry pie recipe by Autoimmune wellness. Since I was making this only for myself, I decided to make two mini pies using my cute tartlet pans. You might remember that I had made another blueberry dessert recently using these pans – Paleo Blueberry tartlets . Yeah what can I say? I am indeed crazy about blueberries 🙂

The pies turned out perfect. Since I was doing a small batch, I had to add a little more coconut flour than what the original recipe stated.  A lot of times in baking, the same proportions of ingredients do not hold when you do a smaller batch. In any case, the crust with the coconut flour was so yummy – almost shortbread like crumbly but very scrumptious! Thank you to Autoimmune Wellness site for this wonderful Paleo crust recipe. I think next time I might make a large batch for the whole family! Healthy and delicious you can’t beat that right?

Blueberry Pie (Vegan, GF, Paleo, AIP)
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Healthy Desserts
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
A healthy and delicious blueberry pie with an absolutely tasty, grain free coconut flour crust!
Ingredients
For the crust:
  • ⅓ rd cup plus 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • ⅓ rd cup arrowroot flour
  • pinch sea salt
  • ¼ cup coconut oil (semi solid)
  • About 1 tsp ice cold water
For the filling:
  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp tapioca flour mixed in 2 tbsp water
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 deg F.
  2. In a medium size mixing bowl, add all the crust ingredients except the water. Mix using your hands and add the water 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 two equal parts.
  3. Line two mini pie pans with parchment paper. 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 10 mins until the crust looks golden brown from top.
  4. While the crust is baking, in a small pot add all the filling ingredients except the tapioca flour. cook for about 5 mins on medium heat. Then slowly add the tapioca flour slurry and stir continuously until you get a thickened filling.
  5. Pour this filling onto the pie pans and bake the pies again at 350 deg F for 5 more mins. Let cool for 10 mins before serving!

Scrambled Fish with coconut (Fish Bhurji)

 As a lover of seafood, I am constantly on the look out for new recipes.  The idea for this recipe came when a fellow blogger, Priya recently posted a recipe for shark fish scramble/puttu on her blog, Indian Kitchen. I instantly looked at her recipe and knew I wanted to try something like that soon.

The opportunity came soon as I took a filet of flounder out of the freezer this past weekend. I usually do a pan fry with red chili, turmeric and salt and that comes out great. But this time, I decided to try the scramble with it. Since I was using a filet and since it was flounder, which is really soft and flaky, I didn’t need to cook/steam the fish separately. I just decided to make it exactly like how I make egg bhurji using lots of onions, ginger, garlic and curry leaves. And also added some grated coconut to make it more of a filling meal for me.  Came out fabulous and so tasty. This is my new ‘go to and easy to make’ recipe! I usually eat it with a salad and or cooked veggies on the side. Such a tasty and healthy meal.

Although I didn’t follow Priya’s exact recipe,the idea of making a fish scramble came from her and so I would like to thank her for that! Hope you try this soon too! Let me know how you like it!

I also made a quick video for this recipe:


Scrambled Fish with coconut (Fish Bhurji)
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, Fusion
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1-2
 
Delicious fish scramble made by sautéing flounder filets with onions, ginger, garlic, cilantro and grated coconut.
Ingredients
  • About 8 oz of fish filets (like flounder or any other white fish)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ of a medium size red onion, chopped finely
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped fine,
  • ½ inch by ½ inch piece of fresh ginger, chopped fine
  • 1 small green chili, chopped very finely
  • 4-5 fresh curry leaves
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp sea salt (or per taste)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Defrost the filets if frozen by placing in a bowl of warm water for a few mins. Then pat dry using paper towels and Cut into pieces and keep aside.
  2. Heat a medium size kadai or a non stick pan and add the coconut oil to it.
  3. When hot, add the mustard seeds. When they start spluttering, add the onions. Saute for about 1 minute and then add the garlic, ginger, green chillies and curry leaves. Stir for 2 mins.
  4. Add the salt and turmeric and stir well.
  5. Now add the fish pieces and stir continuously. As the fish cooks, try to further break the fish into smaller pieces to scramble it. continue doing this until the fish is cooked well and scrambled - Will take about 3-4 mins.Turn heat to low.
  6. Add the fresh cilantro, the coconut and the lemon juice and stir well. Remove from heat. Serve warm.
Notes
If you are using fish with bones in it, I suggest you first lightly cook/steam the fish in a separate pan and then remove all the bones before proceeding with this recipe.For AIP version, skip the green chillies and mustard seeds.