Hey its Thanksgiving, people!. Cranberries need to be on the menu! Honestly speaking, cranberry sauce has never been my thing. I think all that sugar that goes in it is what puts me off. Because I really love cranberries – I really do! And like to use them in a lot of my curries! I make cranberry rasam often. And for the past two years, I became even more close to cranberries since I have been avoiding tomatoes. I find cranberries to be a perfect substitute for tomatoes in my indian curries and stews. In fact it is a perfect substitute for tamarind also which is another pantry item that I have stopped using now. So cranberries have been my ‘go to’ and pretty reliable friend 🙂
Now this cranberry and cherry sauce has been on my mind for the longest of times. I have been wanting to make a sugar free cranberry sauce and once when I was making a smoothie with cherries, this thought came to mind. I thought of combining it with cherries to balance the tartness with the sweetness of the cherries. And that did seem like a wonderful idea considering both cranberries and cherries are so high on nutrients. The nutrients in cranberries have been linked to a lower risk of urinary tract infections, prevention of certain types of cancer, improved immune function, and decreased blood pressure 1. And cherries are not far behind with their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and cancer prevention properties2.
So my idea of combining cranberries and cherries seems like a perfect marriage made in heaven right? Well, my inclinations were certainly right. The combined flavor is a perfect balance of tart and sweet and the Indian in me couldn’t resist adding cayenne pepper and garlic for an additional kick:) I started by roasting the berries and the garlic and throwing them in a blender to make a smooth sauce. Then just a little bit simmering with some cayenne and fresh herbs – cilantro and curry. And a final tempering of mustard seeds in coconut oil! Yum!
It tastes fabulous as is and I can only imagine how good it would taste with roast chicken or turkey! I cannot wait to bring it to our Thanksgiving dinner! This will be a great dip for crackers and plenty of other savory stuff!.
Cranberry and Cherry Sauce || Cranberry and Cherry Chutney (Paleo, Vegan, AIP)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
A smooth, sweet and tangy sauce made with cranberries and cherries and infused with cayenne and fresh herbs like cilantro and curry leaves!
1 1/2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup cherries (fresh or frozen)
2 large cloves of garlic with skin on
About 3/4 cup water
About 3/4 tsp sea salt or per taste
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or kashmiri chilli powder (per heat level desired; omit for AIP)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves chopped
4-5 fresh curry leaves
For the tempering (omit for AIP):
2 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
Preheat oven to 400 deg F (200 deg C).
Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place the cranberries, cherries and the whole garlic cloves with skin on it. Bake at 400 deg F (200 C) for about 13-15 mins until the berries are roasted - dark skin on top. Peel the skin of the garlic away.
In a food processor or blender, blend the cranberries, cherries and the garlic cloves with some amount of water to form a thick smooth paste. Then add the rest of the water and blend again. Pour this blend into a cooking pot.
Place pot on low heat and add the salt, cayenne (if adding) and stir well. Let simmer for 5 mins on low.
Then add the fresh cilantro and curry leaves and let simmer for another couple mins and turn heat off.
For the tempering, in a small pan, add the coconut oil. When hot, add the mustard seeds. When they splutter add the fenugreek seeds. Continue heating on low until the fenugreek seeds all turn brown and turn heat off. Pour this oil garnish on top of the cranberry cherry sauce.
The other night at our dinner table the conversation turned to next week’s Thanksgiving Dinner menu. We always celebrate Thanksgiving with a few of our close friends and we divvy up the dishes between ourselves. The conversation went something like this:
My Husband: So tell me again what’s on the menu?
Me: I am making pumpkin soup, roasting a chicken, and making apple pie. And then there is going to be one more roast chicken, a couple of vegetable dishes, a salad, etc etc. by the others.
My son: Mashed potatoes! We are having mashed potatoes right? We gotta have that!
My daughter: I don’t like mashed potatoes.
My son and me both looking shocked and in unison: What? How is that possible? How can anyone not like mashed potatoes! Ruch, what’s wrong with you???
Ruchi just shrugged her shoulders in her newly acquired 11 yr old, ‘almost teenage’ like attitude.
My son and I continued staring at her and at each other shaking our heads in disbelief. My husband didn’t have an opinion in either direction so he continued eating. But I think at that very instant, my son and I somehow bonded a bit more close to each other than we already were, sharing our love for mashed potatoes and expressing disgust and shock at anyone who were not in the ‘mashed potatoes camp’ like us!
Finally I assured my son that yes, someone was bringing mashed potatoes. He gave a sigh of relief!
But this conversation reminded me to add mashed potatoes to my list too since that way I could make a version that I could eat – one that was dairy free. That is exactly the reason why I chose the 3 dishes I did for myself. Since that way I could make sure I would be able to eat an entire 3 course meal. That’s a trick I have been doing since the past two years ever since I started with my new Paleo lifestyle. For all our social gatherings, I volunteer making 2-3 dishes and I always make those in accordance with my diet. That way I can always be sure that I won’t go hungry! Plus its also a chance to introduce others to my healthy recipes which in most cases everyone ends up enjoying. So that’s a win-win for everyone!
Speaking of mashed potatoes, potatoes aren’t paleo. However, I love potatoes and so every now and then I indulge myself. Thankfully, unlike some other non-paleo foods, potatoes don’t seem to bring out a reaction in me and so I don’t feel too guilty when I eat them. However, dairy is not something that I can tolerate and so I have been experimenting with different recipes for making ‘mashed potatoes’ in my kitchen lately. And this version is I think the best! Going back to my Indian roots, this mashed potato is inspired by ‘potato masala’ or ‘Aloo ki sabzi’ where boiled potatoes are mashed and then sautéed with mustard seeds, cumin, onion, ginger, green chillies, turmeric and fresh curry and cilantro leaves. I have tried this recipe with ‘taro root’ too and it came out equally good! To make it a little more creamy and to give it some ‘richness’, I added some coconut milk too. That made it just perfect!
So this is what I will be bringing for myself. I guess I better plan to make extra because I have a feeling that others would wanna taste this 🙂
A delicious Indian take on mashed potatoes by adding flavors of turmeric, ginger and curry leaves
4 medium size potatoes or 8-10 taro root (Use taro root for Paleo/AIP version)
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds (skip for AIP)
1 tsp cumin seeds (skip for AIP)
1 medium red onion, chopped fine
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
2 serrano chillies, chopped fine (optional, skip for AIP)
5-6 fresh curry leaves
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp sea salt
½ cup coconut milk, unsweetened, homemade or canned (Optional)
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped fine
If using potatoes, boil the potatoes in a pot with lots of water until cooked throughly. Let cool and peel them. Mash using a masher and keep aside.
If using taro root, peel the taro root and place in a pot of water to boil for about 10 mins or until cooked.Drain all the water and mash using a masher and keep aside.
In a wok style pan or a skillet, heat the coconut oil. Add the mustard seeds and when they begin to splutter, turn heat to low and add the cumin.(Skip this step for AIP version) As the cumin starts to brown, add the chopped onions and saute for about 2-3 mins.
Add the ginger, green chillies (if adding) and fresh curry leaves. Saute for another min.
Then add the turmeric and sea salt. Stir fry for another 30 secs.
Now add the mashed potatoes or mashed taro and stir well to mix the onion and spices well into it.
Finally add the coconut milk (if adding) and stir for 1 more min until well incorporated.
Turn heat off and add the fresh cilantro and mix well.
I can’t believe I am going to be completing one year on Paleo in another two weeks! When I first started on Paleo and that too with AIP in December of last year, I was very apprehensive about how long I could last without eating rice. Rice had been a staple for me – at least one meal a day for all my life! Considering my initial trepidation, I guess I did great! I was on strict AIP for only 4 weeks and after that I slowly started reintroducing spices. The ‘Indian’ in me was learning to live without rice but she definitely needed her spice! With my vast repertoire of Indian curries that use spices in varying proportions, with each blend having its own distinctive flavor, how could I stay away?
I however use very less quantity of spices than what a traditional indian curry might call for. But I definitely needed them! And as long as I could go back to my curries, albeit less spiced versions of them, I was good. And then began a quest for making some kind of bread with which I could sop up all the delicious curries! Cassava flour to the rescue and I started making cassava rotis/parathas/tortillas and was one happy mama!
Now only one thing remained. I needed something substantial for breakfast since I do not like to eat meat for breakfast. I don’t know why …perhaps just because I never did that before. And since eggs and oats were out too, I was left with very slim options. So even large bowls of smoothies couldn’t satisfy my appetite for breakfast. And that’s when I started making lots of other sides to go with the smoothies – plantains – boiled and pan fried, boiled sweet potato, mashed sweet potato, yucca mash etc etc. And then I rediscovered tapioca pearls and started making tapioca pearl pudding, tapioca sweet potato savory hash etc etc. If you check my instagram page, you can see all my creations there!
And finally last month I came up with this sweet potato and tapioca pearls pancake. In India, there is a similar recipe for a savory pancake where potatoes are used instead of sweet potatoes. So I decided to swap the potato with the sweet potato and tried different variations of the recipe to come up with something that was absolutely perfect for me. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. A slight drizzle of maple syrup or honey is all you need to make your breakfast perfect!
This pancake recipe is unlike other regular pancakes where you have a flowing batter. Here you get a dough and then you need to pat the dough carefully between plastic or parchment sheets to make a pancake shape. I have attached step wise pics so you can see the consistency of the dough as well as the detailed steps. Believe me, its not too hard once you get the hang of it. I make it literally every other day! This recipe below makes 5-6 pancakes which is like 2 servings.
Hope you try this and let me know how you like it!
If you like Indian food and like chicken then I can bet that you would have definitely tasted Tandoori Chicken:) If not, then you need to immediately rectify that! Tandoori Chicken probably helped popularize Indian cuisine in the rest of the world. And Chicken tikka masala where this tandoor baked chicken is dunked in a delicious creamy tomato gravy is every ‘curry’ and ‘chicken lovers’ dream curry.
I have made Tandoori style chicken numerous times over the years although I had never posted a recipe until now. I did post a Nepalese version of Tandoori Chicken sometime back which has tomato in the marinade. Usually I would just make Tandoori chicken by making a marinade in yoghurt with ginger, garlic, some coriander, cumin, cayenne and garam masala. I believe cumin and the ginger-garlic paste is what gives a Tandoori chicken its unique flavor. The chicken is nice and slightly crispy on the outside while really really moist and succulent on the inside. And it is just oozing with flavor!
Of late since I avoid dairy on my Paleo diet, I have been omitting yoghurt. And I have been using lemon juice instead to impart acidity to tenderize the meat. That works pretty great too. So last week as I was making a new batch, I remembered to take the pics and note down ingredients so I could post this recipe! The longer you marinate the chicken, the tastier your tandoori chicken will be! Also, tandoori chicken has a special flavor because it is baked in a tandoor (clay oven). So in my version, I tried to get a smokey flavor by broiling the chicken for a couple mins in the end.
The tandoori chicken tastes great with some plain white rice and dal (lentil curry). That’s how my family enjoys them. I either eat them with a salad on the side or make Chicken tacos using my homemade cassava tortillas. So so yum!
Tandoori Chicken || Indian Style Baked Chicken (Paleo)
Author: Indira Shyju
Recipe type: Main course, Appetizer
Chicken thigh pieces marinated in lemon juice and a blend of indian spices like cumin and garam masala and baked in an oven to get delicious baked chicken bursting with flavor
1½ lb chicken thigh pieces
For the marinade:
5 large garlic cloves
2 inch by 1 inch long piece of ginger
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
¼ cup lemon juice
1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp olive oil
Extra Olive Oil for brushing on top
Clean the chicken pieces and cut into large pieces. Dab the chicken pieces using paper towels to remove moisture. Make light gashes on the chicken pieces so that the marinade can seep in.
Mix all marinade ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Add the chicken pieces to the marinade and using your hands coat each piece generously with the marinade. Let the chicken pieces sit in marinade for at least 1 hour. Or up to 8-10 hours. (Transfer chicken to fridge if marinating for more than 1 hour)
When ready to bake the chicken, pre heat oven to 450 deg F (220 deg C).
Line a baking tray with Al foil and brush with oil. Lay the chicken pieces on the baking sheet. Bake at 450 F for 25 mins.
Take out tray and brush with oil and flip the chicken pieces and bake for another 15-20 mins until both sides are well cooked.
Remove tray from oven and turn oven to broil setting. Now place tray on top rack for 2-3 mins until there are slightly blackened smoked spots on each of the chicken pieces.
Take tray out of the oven and cover the tray with Al foil until serving.
Serve tandoori chicken with lemon wedges and sliced red onions!
I use Kashmiri chilli powder since it is mild as well as it gives great color. You could also substitute smoked paprika to get a good color! You could also grill this chicken on an outdoor grill. If you add charcoal that would give them a really good flavor!
I wonder who discovered brownies and whether it was an accidental discovery? Was it a cake batter not rising adequately or a cookie batter becoming a bit runny? Well, we will never know for sure. But when I googled this question, it seems that in 1906, a cookbook author, Fanny Farmer adapted her chocolate cookie recipe to a bar cookie baked in a rectangular pan and this was published in the Boston Cooking School Cookbook1. Well, whoever discovered this cross between a cookie and a cake, definitely raised the bar (pun intended 🙂 ) on ‘snacking’ ! Can you imagine what kids’ school events, bake sales, other fund raising events and office parties would be without the ‘much coveted brownies’ ?
When I see folks going for the boxed brownie mix, it really saddens me! Ugh! I have a funny recipe related to this. So my very first month at work here in the US (many many moons ago :)), our departmental assistant baked these delicious brownies that were so perfect – a bit dense from outside but when you bit into it they were really gooey and so chocolatey. I was impressed. That was my first time eating a brownie ever! (yeah since in the late 1990s until I left India, brownies were not available there, alas!). Since I loved baking, I immediately asked this assistant if she would share her recipe with me. She just looked at me and said ‘Oh I just add 3 eggs instead of two’. I felt a little surprised by that response but more than that I felt embarrassed in front of my other colleagues that I wasn’t even aware of the general brownie recipe which everyone seemed to know about! Well, it was only later that a friend told me that most folks generally use a boxed mix! what a tragedy! What is funny is that I don’t even think that using the boxed mix saves any time! So why add a few dozen chemicals into your body unnecessarily?
Anyways, sorry for that detour there! Getting back to homemade brownies, I have a few recipes that I have regularly used in the past. And then in the past couple years, I have been trying to bake healthier versions of brownies. One of them is the Black Bean Brownies. My kids absolutely love this one. So of late I have been meaning to try paleo brownies and I had pinned a few recipes. Finally this past weekend I got a chance as we were having a get together with our friends and I had signed up to bring dessert! So I chose a recipe that used coconut flour instead of almond flour since one of the kids was allergic to nuts. As I began ready to bake, I realized that I was out of maple syrup and so I replaced maple syrup with coconut sugar. And then as I was wondering if the consistency of the brownie would get affected because of this change, my oven timer went off and I realized that I had just finished roasting a pumpkin. So you can guess what happened next! Yes, some pumpkin puree went into my brownie batter 🙂
Pleased to report that four kids cleaned up this batch in a matter of minutes! And since I knew what went in these delicious and moist brownies, I did not mind it all 🙂
A delicious and moist brownie made with coconut flour, cocoa and pumpkin puree and topped with dairy free chocolate chips
½ cup minus 2 tbsp coconut flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
½ cup cocoa powder
½ cup plus 2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
3 eggs, at room temperature
½ cup coconut sugar
¼ cup thick pumpkin puree, packed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ cup dairy free chocolate chips(optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 deg F (180 deg C) and grease a 8 by 8 in baking dish using coconut oil. Line with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and beat using a hand-held electric blender. (You could use a stand mixer too).
Add the coconut flour, cocoa, coconut sugar and the melted coconut oil. Continue mixing and then add the pumpkin puree, vanilla, salt and baking soda. Mix till well blended. The mix will be a bit thick and not too runny which is ok.
Dump mixture into the baking dish. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top if adding. Bake for about 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes before cutting into squares.
Check for doneness beginning at 18 mins since you don't want to overbake them.
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