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!
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!
Cook the green plantain in an instant pot or a regular cooking pot.
For cooking in Instant 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.
For cooking in regular 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.
Making the balls:
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.
To make the batter:
Mix all batter ingredients except the water in a bowl and then add the water slowly to form a thick pasty mixture.
Frying the balls:
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
You can deep fry the balls or shallow pan fry them as I did. To shallow fry use a small pan and fill oil up to 1 inch. then just turn balls every 2 mins on all sides to get fried evenly.
Have you ever gone into a mental paralysis? The kind that especially seems to strike when you have plenty of things on your ‘To do’ list! Yikes! Last year when I quit my job, I was quite jubilant that I will really have the time to do all the things I really really love. Like cooking and baking. Ok I need to be specific there. Cooking and Baking regular meals for my family and cooking and baking Paleo and AIP meals for myself. And of course the soccer mom part – driving the kids to and from all their activities! OK after that comes blogging. And instagramming. And recording youtube videos. And watching gardening videos on youtube (yes that has been my craze all winter) ! All this was fine and the days moved exactly as I had planned them to be – lazy and leisurely! Until I decided to add one more ‘thing’ – the NTC program to my list! Yeah, I started the Nutritional Therapy Consultant course earlier this year thinking it should be a breeze, after all, I have 3 Master’s degrees to my credit, two of them being in the health sciences. Right? Wrong!
I have soooo much work every week now that all my food related activities – like food photography, recipe capture, writing a blog post etc etc have taken a back seat. Of course feeding my family and myself healthy meals has to be somehow squeezed in! OK so what’s my point? Well, I wasn’t really trying to make a point….just looking for solutions I guess since I absolutely love the program and cannot wait to complete all the Modules!. I just need to get more organized I guess and plan my days in advance. But wasn’t that the reason I quit my job ? Because I did not like deadlines? And because deadlines=stress? 🙂 Anyways, I absolutely need some planning in my life right now. So if you have any ideas, please let me know!
Meanwhile here’s an awesome recipe that I have made several times over the past several weeks but because of my lack of planning, I couldn’t post this until now 🙁 I really really like this since it is so simple and easy to make but is packed with so much flavor! I love the addition of cashew nuts in this – boy, am I glad to have cashew nuts back in my life! But for those of you who still cannot tolerate any nuts, this recipe is still fabulous because the addition of saffron makes this a special dish. Raisins are also normally added to pilafs in general but I avoid them since I am very sensitive to dried fruit and cannot do much of it.
I wanted to call this pilaf ‘Shahi Pilaf’ since Shahi in Urdu means ‘meant for royalty’. Yes, eating this simple dish indeed makes you feel very special and very loved. Hey, now don’t we all deserve some love folks?
Sharing this delicious paleo pilaf (pulao) recipe at the weekly Paleo AIP recipe Roundtable hosted by Phoenix Helix.
Using a food processor, make cauliflower rice using fresh cauliflower florets. (I use this inexpensive chopper which works really well for this). keep aside.
Heat a medium size sauce pan and add the coconut oil (or ghee). When hot, turn heat to medium and add the cashew nuts (if adding). Saute these for a couple mins until the cashews turn golden brown. Add the cumin next (if adding) along with bay leaf and the cinnamon. Stir for 30 secs and then add the cauliflower rice. Add the salt and turmeric and stir to mix everything well. Cover the sauce pan with a tight fitting lid and cook on low heat for 3-4 mins until the cauliflower rice is well-cooked and soft. Turn heat off. Add the saffron strands and cilantro and mix well.
You can add raisins too and the combination of sweet and salty tastes great.
I have posted a recipe for Quinoa dosa before. However, that recipe included rice flour. Now I make a version which has only quinoa and I like this version better because it makes more crispy dosas! Since I cannot tolerate much rice, I find this version to be agreeable to me overall as I don’t end up getting any side-effects of eating rice. (Yes sadly, eating rice causes my knees to get inflamed.)
Since many folks tolerate quinoa better than rice, I think this recipe will fly well with most folks who cannot tolerate grains. Quinoa has been shown to heal the gut because it contains prebiotic fibers that help the probiotic or beneficial bacteria to grow. It has many other benefits the most important one being that it is a complete protein source having all the 10 essential amino acids that the body does not produce on its own. But we need to make sure to cook quinoa properly. Quinoa always should be cooked by first pre-soaking it for a few hours to breakdown the phytic acid coating which acts as an anti-nutrient. According to Weston A. Price foundation, quinoa should not only be rinsed, but also soaked, germinated and fermented prior to cooking to eliminate the majority of the phytic acid.
I have recently re-introduced quinoa back into my diet after being on AIP for more than a year. I am glad that i seem to be tolerating it well. In this recipe, I soak the quinoa for around 24 plus hours for this recipe and so it gets fermented too. This makes it even more healthy and nutritious. You can also add nutritional yeast to give it a sour/cheesy flavor. The traditional Indian dosa batter using rice and lentils is fermented to get a sour tasting batter so this one closely mimics that!
Crispy quinoa crepes filled with a delicious potato stuffing!
Quinoa, 1 cup
Water, 1 cup
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
¼ tsp sea salt (less if using nutritional yeast since that is salty)
Wash the quinoa thoroughly and rinse. Then Soak it for at least 12 hours (up to 24 hours is recommended)
Blend the soaked quinoa with about ½ of the soaked water till creamy and you get a very fine consistency. Add the nutritional yeast if adding and the salt and blend again. The batter should be of the consistency of dosa batter (or pancake batter). Add more water if needed to get the desired consistency.
For making the dosas, heat a griddle to high heat. Then lower it to medium high. Keep a wet paper towel or were dish cloth handy and wipe the surface of the griddle with that. Immediately pour one ladle full of batter on the middle of the griddle and by moving your hands in a circular fashion make a round dosa (crepe). With a teaspoon, drizzle olive oil on the sides of the dosa. Let it cook for 3-4 mins or until the bottom turns golden brown and crispy. Do not flip. Transfer the dosa onto a serving plate. Finish making all the dosas in this same way.
One of the wonderful elements of Indian cuisine is the presence of pickles, relishes and chutneys! Having any of these on your plate can elevate even the simplest of all meals into something extraordinary! Indian pickles are quite different from their western counterpart in that these are sour and spicy in addition to being salty. One small tiny speck of it on your tongue can send all your taste buds in a dancing frenzy and you are fully ready to enjoy your meal. Now pickles take a long time to make and then you need to also give them additional time for them to really ferment. Except for some instant pickles like the Instant lemon pickle that I posted a few months back.
Now chutneys offer the same culinary experience as pickles plus the sky is the limit when it comes to combining different ingredients. Different parts of India have their own unique varieties of chutneys based on whatever vegetable or fruit is in abundance and in season. Raw (green) mango is a favorite and one of my all time favorite chutneys is the green mango coconut chutney. which is very popular in kerala in the summer months when green mangoes appear everywhere.
This past week I decided to replace the mangoes with cranberries as I was making chutney for idlis. Turned out so good! It was actually quite similar in taste to the mango coconut chutney. I am so glad I tried this combination since cranberries are so good for you! They are rich in phytonutrients which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They are also rich in antioxidants, Vitamin C and other nutrients like manganese1.
On my Paleo/AIP diet, I love to use chutneys as a sauce when I grill fish or chicken. Chutneys are also so easy to make. All you need is some imagination and a food processor 🙂 This cranberry coconut chutney paired with grilled salmon makes a particularly tasty and satisfying dish. You can also serve this chutney as a dip with some multi grain or yuccan (for paleo) crackers!
A lip smacking tangy and spicy chutney made with coconut and with the deliciousness of cranberries!
1 cup freshly grated coconut (or frozen grated coconut that has been thawed or shredded coconut)
½ cup fresh or frozen cranberries
½ inch by ½ inch piece of fresh ginger
½ tsp kashmiri chilli powder (omit for AIP)
¼ tsp sea salt
½ cup warm water
1 tsp coconut oil
¼ tsp mustard seeds (omit for AIP)
4-6 fresh curry leaves
Blend all the ingredients for the chutney in a blender or food processor until you get a fine textured paste. Check for seasoning and add more salt if needed.
In a small seasoning pan , heat the coconut oil and add the mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the curry leaves and stir for 30 secs. Turn heat off. Pour this seasoned oil on top of the chutney.
For a strict AIP version, skip the red chilli powder and the mustard seeds. If using shredded coconut instead of fresh or frozen coconut, use hot water for blending instead of warm water. But make sure you use a large blender or food processor jar and exercise caution since hot liquids tend to cause an explosion in the food processor!