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… More
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!
- 1 cup finely shredded coconut (desiccated coconut)
- 9-10 dates
- 2 tbsp coconut oil melted
- Pinch sea salt
- 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.
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!
- 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)
- 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.
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.
- 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
- 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)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- 4-5 fresh curry leaves
- 1 dry red kashmiri chilli, broken into two pieces
- Pat dry the okra pieces with paper towels (especially if using frozen okra pieces). Sprinkle the salt and turmeric over the pieces.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the fried okra pieces just before serving so that they retain their crispy texture.
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 🙂
- 2 lbs chicken thigh pieces, cleaned and cut into bite size pieces
- 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
- 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
- Marinate the chicken pieces with all the ingredients listed under marinade and let sit for at least 15 mins (up to 30 mins)
- 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.
- Add the onions and sautee for about 8-10 mins on low until onions turn slightly golden and soft(This is very important step)
- 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.
- Add about 2 tbsp of water at this point to avoid burning of the spices.
- Add the marinated chicken pieces and the potato/taro pieces and mix everything well together.
- Cover with the lid and cook on low heat for about 25 mins stirring every 10 mins to stir and avoid scorching.
- Add the fresh cilantro and turn heat off.
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!
- 3 Salmon steaks, about 5 ounce each
- 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
- Wash and remove sales from the skin of the salmon. Pat dry and keep aside.
- Mix all marinade ingredients in a bowl. Reserve ¼ cup marinade.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
For a thicker sauce, you can mix ½ tsp of tapioca starch to the reserved marinade before heating