When folks hear about my grain free and dairy free diet for the first time, they almost always have a look that says ‘ oh you poor thing, feel so bad for you’! But… More
Beef and Potatoes anyone? And what if the beef is cooked in a sauce/curry made from toasted coconut and curry spices like fennel and coriander? Hmm…can you imagine the aromas! This traditional Keralan(Kerala is a coastal state in southern India) Beef Curry is usually slow cooked with either yams or taro root (yes, no potatoes:)) and is one of my favorite recipes for Beef. The other favorite is the spicy beef stir fry with coconut chips that I have posted before. Both these recipes have coconut but in different forms. In this recipe, fresh grated coconut is first toasted slowly in a pan until it turns golden brown. Then this along with some whole spices is ground into a fine paste. This forms the base or the sauce for this curry. Hence the name ‘Varatharacha’ which in Malayalam means ‘fried and ground’. The taro (or yam) when cooked in this sauce additionally makes it creamy and thick. The taro itself tastes wonderful having soaked all the flavors from the beef and the sauce!
OK so I have been making this curry since the last couple times in the Instant Pot. But I would not call this an ‘instant pot recipe’ per se since the frying/toasting of the coconut and the masala paste is a separate step which does not involve the Instant Pot. However, for cooking beef or mutton (goat meat) curry, I recommend using some kind of pressure cooking – either a regular pressure cooker or an electric pressure cooker or an Instant Pot. I am finding the Instant Pot to be increasingly convenient for such traditional recipes which involved using the Pressure Cooker. The main advantage is that you don’t have to be around the kitchen while it is doing its thing! You set the timer up and you can go your merry way instead of waiting for the pressure cooker whistle to go off so you can turn the stove off!
This curry tastes great with rice and that’s how my family has it. I like to eat it with my homemade AIP Chapatis or cassava rotis. Or you could just have a large bowl of it by itself although if you want to do that I will suggest you cut down the quantities of the spices. I am also suggesting in my recipe below how you can turn this recipe into an AIP version. Even though making it AIP compliant would mean cutting down a lot of the important flavors here like fennel and coriander, I still feel this curry is something folks would still enjoy because of the flavor of the toasted coconut and the other spices. Do try this and let me know in the comments below how it turned out!
Bringing this recipe over to the Paleo/AIP Recipe Roundtable hosted by Phoenix Helix.
- 2 lbs grass fed Beef (I prefer Chuck roast) cut into small (about 2 inch by 1 inch pieces)
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 inch each
- 2 tsp ginger garlic paste(see below)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp kashmiri chilli powder (omit for AIP)
- 1 med onion thinly sliced
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup fresh frozen grated coconut (thawed) or organic shredded coconut(unsweetened)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds (omit for AIP)
- 2 tbsp fennel seeds (omit for AIP)
- 4-6 black peppercorns (omit for AIP)
- 3 tbsp coriander seeds or powder (omit for AIP)
- ½ cup warm water
- 2 taro root, peeled and cubed
- 2 tsp garam masala (For AIP, use AIP garam masala as given below)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground mace
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds (omit for AIP)
- 6-8 fresh curry leaves
- Add all ingredients listed under 'For cooking beef', into pressure cooker or the insert pot of instant pot. If regular pressure cooker, cook till 5 whistles and then turn heat off and let pressure release naturally before opening. For Instant Pot, set Pressure cook for 10 mins. Let pressure release naturally.
- While the beef is cooking, heat a frying pan and add the grated coconut or shredded coconut to the pan. Toast the coconut on medium heat stirring frequently (to avoid uneven burning) until all of the coconut is a light brown/ golden brown color and fully toasted (it should feel dry). This will take about 6-8 mins. Now add the other spices if adding and stir fry for another 30 secs and turn heat off. Transfer the coconut and the spices to a food processor jar and add the warm water and blend into a fine paste. Keep aside.
- Once the Instant Pot/ Pressure cooker has released all pressure, open the lid and add this ground masala paste to it. Stir to blend this paste into the curry. Nest add the taro root pieces into this and the garam masala (for AIP, add all the spices listed under AIP Garam Masala) and again close the cooker and cook for 1 more whistle (for regular cooker) OR 3 mins for Instant Pot. Release pressure manually.
- Finally, in a small pan, heat the coconut oil and when hot add the mustard seeds (if adding). When spluttered, add the fresh curry leaves and turn heat off. Add this tempered coconut oil to the curry.
- Serve beef curry with rice or rotis!
Darn, the name gave the secret away 🙂 I was debating what to name it and was thinking of just calling it Paleo and AIP Naan without giving away my secret 🙂 Anyway this naan was the highlight of my week this week. And so without much ado, just as I promised to you in my last post, here is this wonderful grain free Naan recipe that I ended up experimenting with and which turned out to be a great success right in the first experiment!
While I was making my Moroccan Chicken stew in the Instant Pot yesterday, I first thought of making a cauliflower mash to go with it. And then I decided to add some sweet potato to it to give it more of a ‘mashed potato’ kind of richness and texture. And then as I mashed them together, an idea came to my mind just out of the blue. Why not try to make a naan out of this? Brilliant, Indu (Patting self on the back:) )
So long story short, the experimental recipe was a total success. Now the sweet potato is the Indian sweet potato or purple skinned sweet potato with white flesh. These are called as Japanese sweet potato too. They have a different texture than regular yellow sweet potato. Here’s a pic–>
So substituting won’t work. Also make sure the cauliflower does not any water on it when you mash it. That’s why it is very important that you steam it and not boil it.
Loved how this turned out and I don’t even like regular naan! Alright so let’s get down to the recipe!
- In a steamer, steam the cauliflower florets for 6-7 mins or until cooked. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and blot dry with a paper towel. Mash the cauliflower using a masher.
- Add the mashed sweet potato to the bowl too. Add the ¼ cassava flour, the sea salt, the nutritional yeast and the olive oil.
- Mix everything using your hands to form a dough. Add the extra cassava flour if needed 1 tbsp at a time until you get a smooth dough (its ok if it is a bit sticky).
- Divide the dough into 4 balls.
- On a plastic liner(or ziplock bag), place one ball at a time and press using your hands to form a round flat shape like a naan or a roti.
- Heat a griddle or a non stick pan. Add about 1 tsp of oil (or ghee) and spread it over the pan using brush.
- Now take the naan(along with the plastic or ziplock) in your hand and carefully flip it so that the naan side is on your palm and then peel the plastic liner slowly and place the naan onto the pan.
- Cook for 4 mins on medium heat. Brush the top side with some oil and flip the naan and cook on the other side for 3 more mins. Transfer to a plate.
- Repeat the process for the rest of the dough balls.
- Serve naan with your favorite curry.
I have had this exotic cookbook ‘Cafe Morocco’ by Anisa Helou for quite a few years now and every now and then I will take it out of my cookbook shelf and lovingly browse through the recipes. I find something intensely magical and whimsy about Morocco. I can’t put my finger to it…perhaps its the exotic spices, the sand dunes, the historic sites or the beautiful ceramic pottery …they make me want to go and visit there someday! Hopefully that will happen sometime in my lifetime and until then I will have to comfort myself with virtual tours 🙂
There are so many intriguing recipes in this book but the ‘tagines’ caught my attention. I particularly liked the chicken with olives and preserved lemon recipe. Not having a ‘tagine’ did not deter me and I decided to cook this recipe in my instant pot. Oh boy, was I glad that I did! This stew has such wonderful flavors – olives, preserved lemons and saffron. Need I say more? I did not follow Anissa’s recipe exactly – I ended up adding a bit more of the quantities of spices than mentioned in the recipe. Now for AIP, you will have to omit the paprika. The first time I made it, I added the paprika and the next day I ended up having some pain so I wondered if it was the paprika triggering my inflammation since I had not reintroduced this spice yet. So when I made it the second time again, I used Kashmiri chilli powder which i have been able to ‘re-introduce’ without any issues. So I give both options in my recipe below.
I am so glad I tried this recipe using my Instant Pot. Just adds one more great recipe to my Instant Pot collection! Oh and the family just loved it and give it a 2 thumbs up! The first time I made this, I had it with some cauliflower pilaf on the side. But when I made it again the second time, I made a special bread (yes paleo and AIP) to go with it. Keep an eye out for my next post 🙂
Sharing this recipe at the Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable hosted by Phoenix Helix.
- 2 lbs chicken thighs (Retain as large pieces - see notes)
- 2 medium red onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tsp ground ginger (or fresh grated ginger)
- 2 inch piece long cinnamon stick
- 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 tsp ground cumin (omit for AIP)
- 1 tsp paprika or Kashmiri red chilli powder (omit for AIP and nightshade free)
- 1 large preserved lemon, thinly sliced
- ½ cup pitted green olives (rinsed in water to remove the salt )
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 4-6 strands of saffron
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 cups water
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp ghee (omit for AIP)
- Add all the ingredients to the insert pot of the Instant Pot. Stir to mix and place in the IP and close the lid.
- Turn valve to sealing position.
- Press 'Pressure Cook' button and set timer to 8 mins.
- After the timer goes off, let pressure release naturally. Then open the lid and stir carefully. Gently break the large chicken pieces into smaller pieces using a spatula.
- If you like the stew to be thicker, press the 'Saute' button and cook for 5-10 mins on medium heat until the sauce thickens to your desired consistency.
Chapati or Roti, is a staple of Indian cuisine. After all, the delicious creamy curries need a sturdy vehicle to sop them all up! Although rice is more commonly eaten in a typical southern Indian household (as in ours) , whole wheat rotis do have an important place too. Nowadays, for my family I make multigrain parathas a lot as I posted before using a mix of wheat, millet, and flaxseeds etc. I also usually stuff them with vegetables usually some kind of leafy greens to make them truly wholesome.
When I first cut down gluten about 2 and 1/2 years ago, I did not miss my rotis much. That’s because I was eating rice still at that time. So I could still enjoy my curries! But when I started on AIP a year and a half ago,I had to cut off rice too and that’s when I really began to crave for some kind of vehicle to sop up the curries. It was no fun always just eating the curries like a soup. Was relieved when I soon came across cassava flour and quickly learnt how to make cassava tortillas/rotis which brought back Indian food back into my life!
Initially I was only too pleased to be able to have some kind of rotis back on my plate. But later on I began to experiment a little bit. I tried adding water chestnut flour to the cassava flour once and I liked the texture of the rotis better. So I continued to experiment with different proportions of the flours and finally I have come up with this recipe which gives me a really good textured roti. Soft and pliable but yet sturdy enough so that it does not get too soggy when eating curries.! They taste great both with wet curries as well as dry sabzis (sautéed vegetables). Some of my favorite curries to eat this with are ‘Mixed vegetables in coconut sauce’, vegetable korma and Chicken curry. This past week I gave myself a treat – since mangoes have been showing up, I made mango puree too as a side for a sumptuous indian meal with cabbage thoran, mixed vegetable curry and mango puree! Yum!
Some things to keep in mind while making this chapati / roti:
- The water used for mixing the dough should be very hot – basically I let the water come to a boil and then turn the heat off and within the next minute use that hot water.
- These rotis taste best and have the best texture when you make them fresh i.e. just before eating. However , what I do usually is make a double batch of the dough(as given in this recipe below) and then refrigerate the dough. Then you can use the same dough within the next 2 days to make another batch of rotis. This is better than storing made rotis in the refrigerator.
- The rotis get a nice soft texture when you apply some ghee on top. Ghee is of course an AIP reintro so if you are not able to use it, you can just skip this step and the rotis will still be good!
So without much ado, here is the recipe. Do try it and let me know how you like it! And here is a video of this recipe too!
Bringing this recipe over to the Paleo/AIP Recipe Roundtable hosted by Phoenix Helix.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the cassava flour, water chest nut flour, salt and the oil.
- Place a kettle filled with water on the stove to heat. Let it come to boil and then turn heat off.
- Immediately measure 1 cup of this hot water and pour it into the bowl carefully. Use a spatula to mix the hot water into the flour mixture. After a few seconds of mixing, test how hot the mixture is by slowly placing a finger into the bowl. Once the mixture is cool enough to be handled (should be still warm), use your hands to knead the dough and make a smooth dough. Add the additional 1-2 tbsp of olive oil as needed to make the dough smooth (should not be sticky). Divide the dough into small balls (about 10)
- Flatten each dough ball and then using a rolling pin flatten this ball to make a round (about 3 inches dia).
- Heat a cast iron (or non stick) skillet or pan and when hot turn heat to medium.
- Place the rolled chapati onto the hot pan. Let cook for 1 min and flip to the other side. Now press the chapati with a flat spatula and as you press it , it will start puffing up from all sides. Let cook for 1 more min and then transfer to a tray. If using ghee, apply a small dollop of ghee over the top of the chapati.
- Repeat the process for making more rotis as needed. (You can refrigerate the remaining dough for up to 2 days)
Batata Vada or Spicy Potato fritters is the type of food that teases your taste buds! Mashed potatoes are mixed with green chillies, cilantro and some spices and then dipped in batter and deep fried! How can anyone say no to that right? And especially when you grew up in a region where these fritters were a common street food! These crispy, delicious vadas constitute the ‘burger’ inside the Mumbai Potato Burger – the Vada Paav !
So yes potatoes are my weakness and when I started on AIP, I avoided them for 3 months. That was it! I needed to reintroduce them fast and along with spices, potatoes were one of my earliest reintroductions. No surprises there ! However I am still not quite sure if I am entirely insensitive to them because every once in a while when I eat them, I feel like I end up with some flatulence. So I just reserve them for that occasional treat – like french fries when we dine outside and an occasional batata vada when one of our friends make it for our get togethers:)
So how did I come up with this variation of the batata vada? Now that was actually easy. I had been thinking of making tostones with green plantains and then once as I was looking at a tostone recipe, I suddenly remembered the ‘kela vada’ – the green plantain fritter! Our Gujrati neighbor used to make these when we were kids. Oh those used to be so scrumptious! She used to serve them with a fresh cilantro chutney. Thinking about those had me drooling and I had to make these vadas at the earliest. Traditionally chickpea flour is used in making vadas and I decided to use a mix of cassava flour and water chest nut flour. I added the water chestnut flour to give the coating a crispness. You can try this recipe using just cassava flour too but the coating may not be as crispy.
I used a shallow pan to fry them which uses less oil. If you like sweet and spicy, you can add a tad bit of sweetener(maple syrup or honey) to the dough for the balls. Do try these and let me know how you like them!
- 1 large green plantain (very green and unripe)
- ½ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
- ½ inch by ½ inch piece of fresh ginger
- 1 green chilli (omit for AIP)
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp turmeric
- Cook the green plantain in an instant pot or a regular cooking pot.
- Cut the plantain in half (do not remove skin.Place both pieces on top of trivet in the insert pot and add 1 cup of water into the insert. Close lid and turn valve to sealing position. Press 'Pressure Cook' and change to 10 mins. Let pressure release naturally for 10 mins. Then carefully release remaining pressure and open the pot.
- In a medium size cooking pot, place the green plantain (cut in half or 3 pieces) with skin on. Add enough water to submerge the pieces completely. Cover with a lid placing it slightly ajar and cook on medium heat for about 15 mins.
- Remove the skin from the cooked plantains and place the plantains in a bowl. While hot mash them coarsely using a potato masher. Leave it aside.
- In a food processor, add all the rest of the 'vada' ingredients and process it for 30 seconds till you get a coarse paste. Now add the mashed plantains to this mix and quickly pulse for 10 secs 2-3 times until you get a dough like consistency (DO NOT OVERMIX since then the balls will become hard)
- Transfer dough back to a bowl and divide into 7-8 balls.
- Mix all batter ingredients except the water in a bowl and then add the water slowly to form a thick pasty mixture.
- In a small frying pan, add the coconut oil and heat for 2-3 mins on medium heat until hot. Now dip each ball into the batter to coat it completely and then place balls one by one in the oil to fry