Chocolate Halwa || Chocolate Singhare ka Halwa || Chocolate Water Chestnut Flour Fudge(Paleo, AIP, Vegan)

This weekend is Sankranti, which is a festival celebrated all over India, albeit in different ways. This festival marks the sun’s transit into the Makara (Capricorn), marking the end of the month with the winter solstice and the start of longer days.  As with all festivals, various feasts are prepared for Sankranti too. In western India where I grew up, families make a sweet called as Til ladoo or Til Chikki using sesame seeds and jaggery and these are shared with neighbors and friends.

So being Sankranti and all, I decided to make a sweet dish too today. I decided to just call it Chocolate Halwa! I struggle to name my creations since they are usually some kind of fusion dish. Most of the times they are based on some original Indian dish where I then have to come up with variations in order to make them compliant with my diet.  And if this is not the first time you have come to my blog, then you will surely know what my diet is – I am grain free, dairy free, egg free, refined sugar free and night shade free! I am basically on an AIP diet with some ‘reintros’, mainly spices and cashew nuts. Thank you for your sympathies. Usually that is the reaction of most people when I tell them about my diet. They feel sorry for me. But you don’t need to. Seriously, I am doing quite well. And most importantly, it has been helping me to keep my inflammation levels down. And then of course my passion for cooking and baking comes in handy since I somehow manage to come up with dishes that I can continue to enjoy even on this diet 🙂

Today’s recipe is also a similar creation. Water chest nut flour (called as singhare ka atta)  is a prime ingredient in my pantry now. I make parathas with it and also make sweet potato pancakes with it.  I regularly also make singhare ka halwa, which is a traditional indian sweet dish usually eaten during religious fasting periods since it is made from water chest nut flour (singhare ka atta) which is grain free.  I make a dairy free and refined sugar free version of it and enjoy it often. It helps me with my cravings for indian desserts! The thing about most indian desserts (at least the ones I love) are the ones that are served warm – like payasam/kheer or puddings, gulab jamun, halwa and jalebi.  Gosh, just talking about all these is making me drool 🙂

For all of these I have now a version that is paleo and AIP – sweet potato gulab jamun, tapioca pudding, papaya halwa and singhare ka halwa!  So life is good! And then today I added another one to my repertoire – where I decided to make a ‘chocolate’ halwa!  I am not sure if fudge is the right word to use for halwa but I couldn’t think of any other dessert in the western world that could compare to this dessert. Halwa is usually made from wheat flour, with a lot of sugar, ghee and milk and in most cases also topped with nuts. The consistency of halwa is somewhere between a fudge and a pudding. It is a little softer than a fudge and a little more firm than a pudding.  And when had warm, it is simply delicious!

So going back to my chocolate halwa, all I did was add some carob(you can add cocoa too) to my water chestnut fudge recipe. And then I decided to set it in a pan by refrigerating it so that I could cut into fudge like squares. My plan worked out perfectly and the chocolate halwa squares were super delicious!

Watch a quick video of this recipe:

Sharing this recipe at this week’s Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable hosted by Phoenix Helix.

Chocolate Halwa || Chocolate Singhare ka Halwa || Chocolate Water Chestnut Flour Fudge(Paleo, AIP, Vegan)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4

A delicious, warm indian dessert made from water chest nut flour with chocolate flavor that is grain free, dairy free, and refined sugar free!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a kadai (wok style pan) or a broad bottom pan, add the water 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 salt, the carob (or cocoa) and the coconut oil or the palm shortening 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 hot water, salt, maple syrup(or honey). Stir continuously till you get a smooth halwa consistency.
  4. Turn heat off and top with cashew nut pieces (if adding) and shredded coconut.
https://indusinternationalkitchen.com/2018/01/chocolate-halwa-chocolate-singhare-ka-halwa-chocolate-water-chestnut-flour-fudgepaleo-aip-vegan.html
 

‘Fruits and Veggies’ Smoothie Bowl || Healthy Berry and Banana Smoothie ( Paleo, AIP)

Come again? A smoothie bowl? What’s that? Don’t worry, its nothing too complicated. In fact it’s the easiest way to add more fruits and vegetables into your diet! My earlier post on smoothies really talks about why smoothies are good for you and also gives you plenty of ideas to create your own smoothies. With so much variety in fruits, vegetables and super foods, sky is really the limit when it comes to creating your unique blend of smoothie! Just be bold and give different combinations a try. You may like some more than others but I guarantee you that you can never really hate any combination!

A smoothie bowl gets even better. Because now you make a large portion of smoothie, pour it into a bowl and then add various textural elements to it like – fresh or frozen fruit, nuts, dried fruit, shredded coconut etc. That way it feels like a complete breakfast or a meal. These days I have also been adding collagen peptides to my smoothies. Collagen is a great supplement that provides joint support and reduces inflammation in our body. Collagen is also great for gut health, which in turn is responsible for proper functioning of our immune systems. So for all folks who have autoimmune conditions like RA, hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s, Crohn’s etc, consuming collagen regularly can have a positive impact on their condition.  Since I have RA, I have collagen daily – mostly in my smoothies or in my chicory latte. And the other great plus about adding collagen peptides is that it gives a real creamy and fluffy texture to the smoothie. Love that!

This recipe is a very simple smoothie bowl with a mix of fresh and frozen fruits with some hidden veggies! Yes I really love adding veggies into smoothies since you cut down on the sugar content (yes, some of us cannot tolerate even fruit sugars in higher amounts sadly, me included!). And my kids finish the smoothie without even guessing that so many vegetables went into them! This particular one is the one that I make most often! You cannot go wrong with berries and bananas! The predominant flavors being of berries and bananas, its really convenient to sneak in a couple veggies here! My favorites to add in smoothies are celery, zucchini and cauliflower.  Have you ever tasted raw zucchini? It is so yum!

As I avoid most nuts being on an AIP diet, I have not added nuts here. But if you are not on AIP, you could add walnuts or almonds for a crunch factor! I add those when I make these bowls for my kids.

Thus smoothie bowls are my ‘ go to’ for breakfast, snack or dessert because of these five reasons:

  1. They are quick to make – you need just a blender!
  2. They are nutrient dense – you can add a variety of vegetables and fruits
  3. They are delicious – they almost feel like dessert!
  4. They do not have any added sugars
  5. They are satisfying yet they are light on the stomach

Bringing this healthy and delicious smoothie bowl to the Paleo AIP Recipe roundtable this week hosted by Phoenix Helix.

'Fruits and Veggies' Smoothie Bowl || Healthy Berry and Banana Smoothie ( Paleo, AIP)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 1-2

A delicious, creamy and 'nutrient dense' smoothie bowl filled with the goodness of bananas, mixed berries and vegetables like celery and zucchini

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe banana, peeled, sliced and frozen
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries and / blackberries) thawed
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1/2 cup zucchini chopped
  • 1 apple, peeled and sliced
  • 1 ripe kiwi, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 scoop collagen peptides
    For toppings:
  • fresh banana slices
  • apple sliced thinly
  • kiwi slices
  • frozen mixed berries

Instructions

  1. Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend on medium speed till creamy and fluffy - about 1 minute.
  2. Pour smoothie into a large bowl and decorate with toppings!
https://indusinternationalkitchen.com/2018/01/fruits-veggies-smoothie-bowl-healthy-berry-banana-smoothie-paleo-aip.html

DISCLOSURE: This post may contain one or more affiliate links. Sometimes when you click a product link on this blog , it’s an affiliate link. This means that if you decide to buy it, I get a small commission. Your price stays the same, but your purchase helps to support this blog at the same time.

Harissa Shrimp and ‘Noodles’ (Gluten free, Paleo, Whole30)

When you have limited options, your brain tries to make the best out of those.  Something like that is what happened with this recipe.  If you are on a grain free diet, you must have definitely come across spaghetti squash.  If not, you are in the right place. I will show you how to cook spaghetti squash the easiest way and I will also show you how to make this fancy schmancy noodle dish! The flavors in this dish are so amazing!

So I got spaghetti squash from the grocers last week and cooked it in my Instant Pot. Yes, that’s the easiest way to cook spaghetti squash I think! I divided the spaghetti ‘noodles’ into 4 ziplock bags and kept them in the refrigerator. If you are not planning to use them within a week, you should freeze them. As for me, I made stir fries with it a couple times – asian style, adding some ginger, garlic and coconut aminos and some chicken or shrimp for protein. Easy peasy!

Then a couple days ago for lunch, I was again going to do something like that when I saw an Instagram post for a spicy shrimp recipe. Now that got me excited. You see that’s my Indian genes… I can’t help it! 🙂 The thought of spicy shrimp had me drooling and then somehow my brain reminded me of my ‘harissa shrimp‘, where I marinate shrimp in a harissa marinade and grill them.  More drooling!

So that’s how this recipe was born. Nothing too complicated. I just quickly threw in some red chillies along with some garlic and cumin into the food processor to come up with the ‘harissa’ paste.  (I reduced the quantity of red chillies considerably from the authentic harissa recipe since I try to limit the amount of heat in my diet) So this modified harissa paste is a ‘toned down’ version of harissa where the heat is less but the flavors are still there! Ok so the shrimp got a nice, generous coating of this paste and then were quickly pan fried.  Into the same oil, I added a bit more of harissa and stir fried some veggies – cauliflower and broccoli. Finally added the spaghetti squash (aka noodles) and voila! Harissa shrimp and noodles ready!  The plate was wiped clean in 5 mins! The spaghetti squash noodles were so so tasty with the shrimp and harissa flavors infused into them! Yum!

To see how to cook spaghetti squash in an Instant Pot, read  this excellent post by Nom Nom Paleo.  Basically, I cut the spaghetti squash in half cross-wise.  Placed them in the insert pot on top of the steamer rack and then pressure cooked for 7 mins.  Then released the pressure quickly to prevent overcooking.  This method gives out perfectly textured ‘noodles’!

Harissa Shrimp and ‘noodles’ (Gluten free, Paleo, Whole30)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 1-2

A tasty, flavorful and spicy dish of shrimp and spaghetti squash noodles using a North African spicy marinade called as 'Harissa'

Ingredients

    For the harissa paste:
  • 1 Kashmiri dry red chilli, soaked in hot water
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds (Ajwain)
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    For the shrimp stir fry:
  • 10-12 medium shrimp, deveined and de-shelled
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
    For the noodle stir fry:
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 cup cauliflower and broccoli florets
  • 2 cups cooked spaghetti squash 'noodles'

Instructions

  1. For making the harissa paste, in a food processor jar add the red chill along with 2 tbsp of the soaked water and all the other ingredients listed under 'for the harissa marinade'. Blend into a fine paste.
  2. Take the shrimp in a mixing bowl and add about 2 tbsp of the harissa paste to it. (You can add more or less depending upon your preference). Let sit for 5 mins.
  3. Meanwhile heat a frying pan and add the 2 tbsp coconut oil to it. When hot, add the marinated shrimp to it and cook for about 2 mins on medium heat and then flip and cook for 1 more min. Transfer shrimp to a dish.
  4. To the same pan(which will have the harissa from the shrimp), add the 1 tbsp coconut oil and add about 1 tsp more of the harissa paste and then add the cauliflower and broccoli florets. Stir fry to mix and cover and cook on medium heat for 3-4 mins or until the veggies are cooked through. Finally add the spaghetti squash noodles and the shrimp and do a quick stir / mix to coat the noodles with the spicy oil. Turn heat off and transfer to a plate. Enjoy hot!

Notes

The harissa paste I made for this recipe is a little different from the authentic North African recipe. You can check out my Harissa Grilled Shrimp recipe for the authentic Harissa recipe. You may have extra harissa paste remaining depending upon how much you use in this recipe. You can store the extra paste in the refrigerator for up to a month.

https://indusinternationalkitchen.com/2018/01/harissa-shrimp-noodles-gluten-free-paleo-whole30.html

 

Chicory Latte (Caffeine free, Dairy free, Paleo, AIP)

Living in the New England area has its own charms.  And the severe winter is not one of them. Having transplanted ourselves to the US all the way from India two decades ago now, one would think we would be well-seasoned and ‘conditioned’ to the harsh weather.  Not me.  The only thing I like about the winter is staying indoors and watching the snow fall.  While drinking a warm, luxurious coffee latte sitting close to the fireplace 🙂

And for about an entire year, spanning two winters, I was deprived of this comfort.  My naturopath who had recommended the AIP diet to me to bring the inflammation in my body down had strongly suggested that I avoid caffeine.  Not that I was a huge coffee drinker. Just a small coffee with a dash of cream and sugar was my thing and I needed that mid-morning every day.  I used to look forward to that ritual every morning! And now I couldn’t have that anymore. I felt deprived …especially on days like today when the temperature outside was in the single digits!  Yikes!

So how did I survive two winters that way? Don’t ask – just lots of hot green tea and herbal teas. They gave me the warmth my body needed but could not satisfy my ‘latte’ craving.  And then I heard about chicory. Somewhere on one of the social media sites, someone talked about chicory tea and how it was quite similar to coffee. I did some quick research online and found out that chicory root did not have the harmful effects of coffee.  Instead it has a lot of benefits. Chicory is beneficial in reducing stress and anxiety, boosts immune  and digestive systems and also provides relief from arthritis pain1.

I thought why not give chicory a try! Within two days my Amazon prime delivery had chicory in it. And then a few experiments later, I discovered my craving quenching, soul-satisfying latte! This was a latte to beat all lattes!  And you could make it in the comfort of your home!  So the first time I made this , I used coconut milk for the ‘cream’ part.  After enjoying this latte for several weeks, one day I decided to be a barista and used my hand blender to froth it up. Oh babe, now you got me hooked completely!  Who needs the $5 latte when you can make yourself one in 10 mins! And then one day I decided to add some carob to it to impart a ‘chocolatey’ flavor.  And that took it over the top! Carob gives it a richness and although I love it, I don’t like to always add it. But that was an option for days when I needed that something extra special!

Of late, I have begun substituting collagen creamer sometimes for coconut milk.  Since I mostly use homemade coconut milk, I sometimes run out of it and so I like this option of using a collagen creamer. Vital proteins’ coconut collagen creamer or their vanilla collagen creamer are both wonderful options and they provide a creamy texture and a robust, rich flavor to the latte. And I love the fact that I can bring a pack of creamer with me when I am traveling – that occasional cup of coffee that I have at airports or at a hotel can become better tasting and also a little nourishing when mixed with some collagen protein 🙂

You could also just use collagen peptides instead of collagen creamer although I recommend adding the coconut milk too in that case to give it the coconut flavor. Don’t you love it when you have options? Take my word – do try this latte recipe. You will thank me for it!  Have a wonderful, nourishing new year!

Sharing this delicious AIP latte at the Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable this week hosted by Phoenix Helix. 

Chicory Latte (Caffeine free, Dairy free, Paleo, AIP)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 1

A delicious, creamy and comforting latte using chicory and coconut milk that is caffeine free and dairy free

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Pour water into the coffee maker and brew the chicory brew - For every 1 cup of water, add 1 tsp of chicory granules into the coffee filter. Alternately, you can add the chicory to boiling water and let steep for a couple mins and then strain.
  2. In a large cooking pot, pour about 3/4 cup of chicory brew and place on heat. Add the coconut milk or the collagen creamer or if using collagen peptides, add both coconut milk and the collagen. Add the maple syrup and the carob, if adding. Heat for about 1 minute and turn heat off. Using a hand immersion blender or a regular blender, blend the mixture till frothy. Enjoy hot.

Notes

You can make this latte using only coconut milk, or collagen creamer or both coconut milk and collagen peptides. Although I have stated maple syrup as optional, I strongly recommend adding it as it makes the latte so delectable! This latte tastes best with homemade coconut milk or use a good quality canned milk like thisFor instructions on how to make your own homemade coconut milk, check out this post

https://indusinternationalkitchen.com/2018/01/chicory-latte-caffeine-free-dairy-free-paleo-aip.html

 

DISCLOSURE: This post may contain one or more affiliate links. Sometimes when you click a product link on this blog , it’s an affiliate link. This means that if you decide to buy it, I get a small commission. Your price stays the same, but your purchase helps to support this blog at the same time.

 

Tuna Salad with Chaat Masala || Mediterranean Tuna Salad with Chaat Masala (Paleo, Whole30, AIP adaptable)

 Chaat masala? What the heck is that?Don’t worry this is not a complicated curry recipe! Chaat Masala is just a blend of different spices with a prominent tangy taste and a slight touch of heat from black peppers. Trust me when I tell you…It is ‘freaking finger-licking’ good! I think I won’t be wrong if I said ‘Chaat Masala’ to an Indian is what ‘grated parmesan cheese’ is to an Italian -‘Bring it on! And sprinkle it over every dish! ‘ It is very aptly named too since ‘chaat’ means  ‘to lick’ 🙂 And ‘Chaat’ is also a term for an entire category of street foods like pani poori, bhel puri, samosas etc where crispy fried snacks are doused generously with a variety of spicy, sweet and tangy chutneys and yes, of course, finished with a generous sprinkling of chaat masala on top!

What exactly are the different spices in this mix? Actually, I don’t really know – I get my Chaat masala ready-made from the Indian store and have never attempted to make it. It’s honestly so good as it is that I have not yet felt the need to recreate it.  When my husband and I first moved to the US, we knew some other Indian folks who found typical western fare at restaurants to be too bland and therefore would carry a small pack of chaat masala with them at all times. A little sprinkling of this magic mix and everything turned delicious! 🙂 :)Ha ha…So now with this introduction, I think you can appreciate this recipe better !  And also understand why I would feel the need to ‘dress up’ canned tuna!

I have been making this salad so often now – once or twice every week!  This salad kind of evolved over the past year. Since Tuna fish is rich in omega 3 fatty acids which provide excellent anti-inflammatory benefits, I have been trying to eat more of it.  So I started getting canned tuna and tried to make a salad of it.  I also make tuna masala cakes or cutlets which I posted a few weeks back.  As for this salad, I started adding new things to this every time I made it and this recipe is the final one which is simply fabulous!  I call it the ‘Mediterranean salad’ because I add olives and artichokes to it.  Then it has other healthy fats like avocados.  And of course, don’t forget the generous helping of chaat masala on top which just takes this salad ‘over the top’!  If you have never tried tuna before, do try this salad. And if you have never tried chaat masala before, still do try this salad 🙂

You can purchase ‘Chaat masala’ online or you can get it  at any Indian grocers.

Chaat masala has many different spices and so is not AIP.  However the main flavors here are from dry Mango powder called as Amchoor, dry ginger powder and rock salt.  So if you are strict AIP, you can still blend these together  to get an AIP compliant chaat masala. I have mentioned this in my recipe below. What I best like about this salad is how quickly you can put this together! If you try this, do let me know how you like it!

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

Tuna Salad with Chaat Masala || Mediterranean Tuna Salad with Chaat Masala (Paleo, Whole30)

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 1-2

A scrumptious salad that is a medley of indian and mediterranean flavors! Tuna dressed up in chaat masala and tossed with olives, artichokes and avocados!

Ingredients

  • One 5 oz canned tuna
  • 1 tbsp chaat masala - (For AIP, see note below and AIP Chaat masala ingredients below)
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced fresh cucumber
  • 4-5 slices of pickled cucumber, chopped up
  • 6-8 pitted green or kalamata olives, chopped or whole
  • 3-4 pieces of artichoke hearts, diced
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
  • 3-4 fresh romaine lettuce leaves, chopped up
  • fresh parsley or cilantro leaves, chopped (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large salad bowl, add the canned tuna (draining out water or oil from the can). Sprinkle half of the chaat masala on top of the tuna and mix well using a fork.
  2. Next add all the other salad ingredients to the bowl.Sprinkle the rest of the chaat masala on top.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, add all the dressing ingredients and mix using a fork to blend the salt in.
  4. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to mix well.
    For AIP chaat masala:
  1. Add all ingredients listed under AIP Chaat masala to a small bowl and mix well using a fork. Substitute this for 'chaat masala' in the above recipe

Notes

To make this recipe AIP compliant, you will need to omit the regular chaat masala and instead make 'AIP Chaat masala' as mentioned in the recipe. You can of course skip the chaat masala altogether and the salad would still taste good except it won't be my chaat salad!

https://indusinternationalkitchen.com/2017/12/tuna-salad-with-chaat-masala-mediterranean-tuna-salad-with-chaat-masala-paleo-whole30.html