Shrimp and Spinach Pizza (Paleo, AIP)

 

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 slowly as they get to know me and my diet better, they are really surprised to see how well I eat!  This pizza is one such dish that evoked ‘Wow ! mom, that looks amazing!’ from my son who came home from school just as I got my ‘pizza’ out of the oven! So as I have always been saying, I will say it once more – ‘You do not have to feel deprived while doing an elimination diet! There are tons of possibilities – imagine them and turn them into reality!’. If you want inspiration, check out the weekly recipe round up hosted by Phoenix Helix to see tons of innovative and delicious recipes that are all AIP compliant too!

As for this pizza, the base is very simple using cassava flour. It is very similar to the AIP flatbread recipe that I have posted before. Only I baked this for a tad longer to get a crispier texture. Plus I added some nutritional yeast for flavor. The crust itself is pretty good and I was going to vegetables for toppings but then last minute I decided to add some shrimp too.

Paleo, AIP Shrimp PizzaBoy, was I glad I did that! Shrimp and greens go very well together and here I have them mixed together with garlic and scallions too. Absolutely delicious! I also threw in some sliced olives to the topping (yeah I am crazy about olives :))Also made an avocado sauce to further add good fats to this combination and make this a really well-balanced meal.  So so good…I ate almost the entire thing by myself …he he I ended up sharing a piece with my son and he absolutely loved it 🙂

Sharing this recipe at the weekly Paleo/AIP recipe RoundTable hosted by Phoenix Helix.

Shrimp and Spinach Pizza (Paleo, AIP)
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Fusion
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Delicious gluten free and grain free pizza with a shrimp and greens topping drizzled with an avocado cilantro sauce
Ingredients
For making the dough:
  • 1 cup cassava flour
  • pinch or ⅛ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional; if not using, add ¼ tsp salt above)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup hot water (that has been boiling)
  • About 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil additionally
For the topping:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
  • ½ of a medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups chopped spinach (or kale or mix)
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic (about 2 large cloves)
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp kashmiri chilli powder (omit for AIP)
  • 6-8 large size shrimp, thawed, deskilled and deveined
  • thinly sliced olives (optional)
For the avocado cilantro sauce:
  • ½ of a ripe avocado
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1 small clove of garlic (optional)
  • 1 small serrano chilli pepper (omit for AIP)
  • 1 tbsp lemon/lime juice
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch or ⅛ tsp sea salt
Instructions
  1. Pre heat oven to 425 deg F.
  2. Take a large mixing bowl and add the cassava flour, the salt and oil to it. Then add half of the hot water and stir using a spatula to wet the flour. Then add all the rest of the hot water and the extra olive oil. Knead using your hands to form a smooth dough (Dough will be oily but smooth).
  3. Line a baking tray with Al foil and brush liberally with the olive oil. Place the dough on this tray and flatten it using your fingers to form a rectangle / flatbread like shape. Pierce lightly everywhere with a fork.
  4. Place tray in the oven and bake at 425 F for about 15 mins until the bottom is golden.
  5. While the crust is baking, in a pan, add the oil and when hot add the onions. Saute for 2 mins until soft and then add the spinach, scallions and the garlic. Stir fry and cook for about 2 mins on medium heat. Add the salt and the chilli powder (if adding) and cook for another 1 min. Add the shrimp and mix for 1 min and then turn heat off.
  6. After the crust has cooked for 15 mins, take the tray out of the oven, spread the shrimp and spinach mixture on top of it. Spread the sliced olives too on top (if using)
  7. Place tray back in the oven and bake for 3-4 mins or until the shrimp is fully cooked and opaque.
For the sauce:
  1. Add all sauce ingredients to food processor or blender and blend till smooth and creamy. Check for salt and add more as needed.
  2. Serve pizza with avocado sauce on top.
Notes
The thinner you make the crust, the crispier and tastier it will be!

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eBook Review: ‘Let’s do Lunch’ – AIP Lunches made easy!

Are you doing the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) diet? Or are you considering doing this diet but really wondering how hard it might be to put meals together? Well, let me assure you that there are tons of resources now available to help support you. Sarah Ballantyne, founder of ‘The Paleo Mom’, has a complete repository of all AIP related information. She also presents a list of ‘recommended resources for AIP’ over at her website.  The Autoimmune wellness website run by Mickey Trescott and Angie Alt has a plethora of resources available too – From meal plans to shopping guides to Batch Cooking classes, they have you covered!. The ‘Phoenix Helix’ website by Eileen Lard is also a terrific resource with plenty of ebooks and guides on AIP to provide enough support to AIP beginners.

One of the biggest challenges when you go on an elimination diet like AIP is that you need to make sure you plan your meals in advance. And lunch times are usually the hardest especially when you are working a full time job.  When I started AIP 18 months ago now, that was indeed my toughest challenge. It was doubly harder for me because I had to cook regular meals for the rest of my family (including making lunches for my kids) while trying to cook AIP for myself. Luckily for me, shortly after starting on AIP I decided to quit my full-time job. That definitely made it easier for me to then plan my afternoon lunches for those first 6 months of strict AIP. However, considering that this may not be an option for everyone, simple and quick lunch options would most definitely be a game changer for a lot of folks first trying to be on AIP. Thus when Jo Romero of Comfort Bites recently came out with her new ebook ‘Let’s do Lunch’ packed with AIP lunches, I was keen to take a look at it!  I was so pleased to see that ‘Let’s do Lunch’ is a book filled with simple, delicious AIP Lunch recipes that is going to soon become one of the many important AIP recipe resources! And she has you covered for a whole month!  She not only gives recipes but has also created ingredient lists for you by week so you don’t have to do that work yourself! Plus, her recipes are all very simple and would not be intimidating even to the most novice cook.  However simple does not mean boring that’s for sure!  Jo’s recipes are delicious and all perfectly pass the AIP ‘nutrient dense’ meals requirements! She has thoughtfully created recipes that include a variety of nutrient dense foods in every meal.

How does ‘Herby lamb chops with mint dip and pomegranate’ sound? Vietnamese meatballs with fresh and fragrant herbs will lift up your mood and perk you up!  Some other innovative and interesting meals are sweet potato sandwiches, Salmon with broccoli rice and beef with chimichurri! All of these sound delicious right?

So what are you waiting for? Head over to Jo’s website and get this ebook today! And head over to my Instagram page to enter my giveaway for a chance to win this ebook free!

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Instant Pot Tom Yum Gai || Thai Hot and Sour Chicken Soup (Paleo, AIP)

I love Thai food and it is really one of my favorite cuisines because the food is hot, spicy and tangy – the lemongrass smell is so therapeutic for me and there is nothing like a Tom Yum chicken soup when you are feeling a little under the weather.  Slurp this delicious soup when its steaming hot and all your ailments will go away ! Believe me, this hot and sour soup will really make you feel better by clearing your sinuses if you have a cold.

I first had this soup about 15 years ago now – my first experience of Thai food. This place was really a very nondescript joint in a plaza close to our apartment complex and my husband and I had once bumped into it by chance during one of our evening strolls. But that first experience of having that steaming hot and spicy soup served in a huge pot , is something that I can still distinctly remember.  As I had the soup, I just instantly fell in love with that flavor of lemongrass and kaffir lime although I did not know at that time what those were.  So thus began my foray into the world of Thai food and over the years I have had this soup in numerous places but I still feel that the one served in that small joint was really the best :).  I have tried over the years to create this soup at home and have been making a decent version now for the last few years.  Sadly, that joint went out of business many years ago or I would surely have gone back to get the recipe from the owner!

Before I used to use ready made Tom Yum paste which has sugar and tamarind both of which I avoid now. So now , I have created a Paleo and AIP version which is still equally delicious if not more!  Check the recipe to see what I use as a substitute for tomatoes!  The Kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass in this recipe are what really gives this soup the distinct aromatic flavors. Making this now in the Instant Pot has made it super easy! Everyone in my house loves it –  Tom Yum is just Yum!

Sharing this recipe at the Paleo/AIP Recipe Roundtable hosted by Phoenix Helix.

Tom Yum Chicken soup || Thai Hot and sour soup (Paleo, AIP)
Author: 
Recipe type: Soups
Cuisine: Thai, Fusion
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Hot and sour Thai chicken soup with flavors of kaffir lime leaves and lemon grass. This tomato free version uses cranberries to give it the tanginess!
Ingredients
  • 1.5 lbs chicken thighs
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • ½ cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 by 2 inch fresh ginger, chopped
  • 2 tsp galangal pow
  • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 serrano chillies, chopped ( optional; omit for AIP)
  • ½ cup chopped lemongrass (you can also use canned )
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • ¼ cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup water (optional)
  • fresh Cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 Scallions chopped
Instructions
  1. Add all the ingredients till water to the insert pot of the Instant Pot.
  2. Close the lid and turn valve to sealing position.
  3. Press 'Pressure cook' button and change time to 10 mins.
  4. After 10 mins is done, let pressure release naturally and then open the lid.
  5. Take the chicken pieces out using a ladle and place in a bowl. Add the ½ cup water to it so it becomes cold enough to handle. Shred the chicken and add back into the pot along with the cilantro and scallions. Serve hot!

 

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Beef in toasted coconut curry || Kerala Varatharacha Beef Curry (Paleo, AIP Adaptable)

Kerala Beef Curry(Varatharacha Beef Curry)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!

Kerala Beef StewOK 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!

Indian Beef Stew (Paleo, AIP)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. 

Beef in toasted coconut curry || Kerala Varatharacha Beef Curry (Instant Pot)
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Kerala, Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This traditional Keralan Beef Stew is made using toasted coconut, fennel, coriander and some other spices. The addition of root vegetables like taro makes this creamy, comforting and delicious!
Ingredients
For cooking Beef:
  • 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
For the masala paste:
  • 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)
For AIP Garam Masala:
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground mace
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
For tempering:
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds (omit for AIP)
  • 6-8 fresh curry leaves
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Serve beef curry with rice or rotis!

Kerala Beef Curry(Varatharacha Beef Curry)

 

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Cauliflower Naan || Paleo and AIP Naan

 

 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!

Cauliflower Naan || Paleo and AIP Naan
Author: 
Recipe type: Main course, Breads
Cuisine: Indian, Fusion
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets (1½ cups after steamed and mashed)
  • ½ cup mashed white sweet potato
  • ¼ cup cassava flour plus 1-2 tbsp more as needed
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • About 2 tbsp coconut oil or ghee for frying (use coconut oil for AIP)
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. Add the mashed sweet potato to the bowl too. Add the ¼ cassava flour, the sea salt, the nutritional yeast and the olive oil.
  3. 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).
  4. Divide the dough into 4 balls.
  5. 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.
  6. Heat a griddle or a non stick pan. Add about 1 tsp of oil (or ghee) and spread it over the pan using brush.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Repeat the process for the rest of the dough balls.
  10. Serve naan with your favorite curry.
Notes
I have tried this recipe only using Japanese sweet potato. The texture of this sweet potato is much firmer than other regular sweet potato or yams so I highly recommend this variety for this recipe.

 

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