Chicken Tikka Masala (Paleo, Dairy Free, Night Shade free)

It feels funny writing a recipe post on Tikka Masala. That is because I had never been a fan of ‘Tikka masala’ that is typically found in Indian restaurants across the US and in India. The main reason for my disinterest was the abundance of cream in those curries. Even when I was not ‘dairy free’, I never used to like cream in a curry because of the heaviness it imparted which subsequently tended to just ‘sit’ in my stomach for the next 24 hours!

So why am I now into Tikka masala suddenly? Well, this is what happened. ¬†I have recently started teaching ‘Indian Cooking’ lessons and in almost every cooking session that I have had thus far, there are at least one or more folks asking me if I can teach them how to make ‘tikka masala’ ūüôā That’s when I realized the popularity of tikka masala among the ‘non-indian’ community. And it also struck me why folks love it so much. It is after all curry without all the spiciness or heat!. Adding cream definitely lightens up things for people who like the indian flavors but cannot handle the heat. That does make a lot of sense.

OK so ever since that revelation, my mind was bent on coming up with a ‘paleo’ version of chicken tikka masala. ¬†And so finally I did come up with this delicious version that uses cashew nuts for the creaminess and I also made it night shade free since I avoid tomatoes too on my ‘AIP with reintro’ diet. Talking about ‘reintros’, I am so glad I can tolerate cashew nuts. I reintroduced them a couple months ago and so glad I am not sensitive to them. I mostly however, use them soaked beforehand. That way they are more digestible.

This Chicken tikka masala was a big hit with my family too. They love it with rotis and I like to have this with my cassava parathas/rotis. Btw, I made this curry twice already in the past month and I also made a video of it the second time around. Attaching the video below. Hope you like it! Please leave me a feedback below in the comments section or on my youtube channel!


5.0 from 1 reviews
Chicken Tikka Masala (Paleo, Dairy Free, Night Shade free)
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, Fusion
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Marinated Chicken pieces grilled and cooked in a delicious, creamy, cashew nut based finger-licking curry flavored with a blend of aromatic spices. Completely Dairy free and Night shade free!
Ingredients
  • 1⅕ lbs of Chicken thigh pieces, cut into bite size pieces
For marination:
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (use less for mild or more for hot)
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste (see note below)
  • 2 tbsp coconut yoghurt (you can skip if you don't have this)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
For the sauce:
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp kasoori methi / dried fenugreek (optional)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp kashmiri chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp garam masala
  • ¼ tsp cumin powder
  • 10-12 cranberries fresh or frozen (thawed by soaking in hot water if frozen)
  • 15 whole cashew nuts soaked in hot water for 1 hour
  • About 1 to 1½ cups of water
  • fresh cilantro, finely chopped for garnish
Instructions
To make ginger garlic paste:
  1. Grind equal quantity of fresh ginger and garlic cloves with extra virgin olive oil to make a thick paste. You can keep this in the refrigerator for about a week.
Marinating the chicken pieces:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, add the chicken pieces and add all the marinade ingredients. Mix using your hands to coat the chicken pieces well with the spice mixture. Keep aside for 1-8 hours. If keeping for more than 1 hour, keep the marinated chicken inside the refrigerator.
Cooking the Chicken:
  1. Pre heat oven to broil. Line a baking tray with Al foil to catch the drippings. Place the chicken pieces on skewers. Brush with oil and place under the broiler (about 2 inches away) and cook for about 10 mins. Flip them half way that is after 5 mins to make sure they are evenly cooked.
  2. Keep broiled chicken pieces aside.
Cooking the curry base:
  1. Heat a large bottom pan with the olive oil. Turn heat to medium and add the cumin seeds and the dried fenugreek(kasoori methi) leaves. Stir for 30 secs and then add the chopped onions. Stir fry and cook the onions for about 4-5 mins until soft. Next add the ginger garlic paste and cook for about 30 secs. Next add all the spices one by one and stir for another 30 secs to 1 min.
  2. Next add the cranberries along with a little bit of water. Stir and cook for about 1 min. Then cover and cook for about 2-3 mins until the cranberries are really soft. Turn heat off.
  3. Transfer this onion mixture to a food processor. Add the soaked cashew nuts along with a little bit of water. Grind to a fine paste.
  4. Pour this paste back to the pan. Add some more water about 1 cup to get the curry to a thick gravy like consistency.
  5. Now add the grilled chicken pieces to the curry and cover and cook for about 5 mins on low heat.
  6. Turn heat off and add fresh cilantro leaves.
  7. Serve the curry with warm cassava rotis/tortillas.

 

 

Paleo Chicken Tikka Masala

Olives and Cranberries Stuffed Flatbread with Avocado Spinach Basil Pesto(Paleo, Vegan, AIP)

¬†I sometimes wonder if I could indeed have completed one year on Paleo/AIP if I had not come across cassava flour! Although I have embraced many different types of foods and cuisines in the last twenty years since moving to the United States, one thing that I can still not have enough of is ‘curry’! Yes I need my curry, ma’m and I need something to dunk into that curry you know? Rice and curry or Rotis and curry! ¬†Gosh that first couple months on AIp was tough when I just ate a lot of steamed / boiled yuca. ¬†Was finally so glad to come across Cassava flour via Instagram. And even more thrilled when I realized I could make tortillas aka rotis aka parathas with them!

Yes, once I got a handle on that, there has been no looking back! ¬†Cassava rotis, Cassava parathas stuffed with veggies, cassava tortillas for any kind of tacos. Agreed that it is some amount of work to make these but since I was so used to making the Indian whole wheat rotis on a regular basis for my family that making a few cassava ones additionally didn’t amount to too much work. Besides, I make the dough for a batch of 8-10 tortillas/rotis. And then cook them on an ‘as needed’ basis. The dough stays in the fridge for 3-4 days without any issues.

And lately I noticed a couple AIP flatbread recipes by some AIP bloggers. ¬†One of them was for Flatbread Pizza by The Unskilled Cavewoman. ¬†Ever since coming across this recipe, I was thinking of trying a version for myself. ¬†Last week I had some left over dough that I had made for making cassava rotis/tortillas. ¬†Now this is a dough I make every week. Here’s my video for making the cassava rotis/tortillas.

I make it slightly differently than the recipe by ‘The Unskilled Woman‘. ¬†One of these days I will try her recipe too. ¬†But anyways, since I had the dough left, I had an intense desire to try making a flatbread with it. ¬†I decided to first just add some red onions and olives to it since they are my favorite toppings for pizza. I just spread the dough flat on a baking tray and added the toppings. The flatbread came out awesome. I just had it with some herbed extra virgin olive oil.

And then I made it again for the second time this week!. As I started making it, I thought of adding a few cranberries too! ¬†And then while it was baking in the oven, I decided to whip up a sauce to spread on top. I was thinking something ‘pesto like’. But then I saw the avocado and decided it would be ‘creamy avocado and basil’. Then I thought of throwing in spinach too since I always try to incorporate as many vegetables as possible into every meal!

The flatbread came out so delicious – loved biting into the cranberries and olives. ¬†And don’t forget the red onions. They are the star! You cannot skip them! ¬†And the pesto cum sauce complemented it perfectly.! ¬†I cleaned up everything in like 5 mins! ¬†I did not even want to waste time taking too many pics ūüôā

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

Olives and Cranberries Stuffed Flatbread with Avocado Spinach Basil Pesto(Paleo, Vegan, AIP)

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

A tasty grain free flatbread made with cassava flour and stuffed with olives and cranberries

Ingredients

    For making the dough:
  • 1/2 cup cassava flour
  • pinch or 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup hot water (that has been boiling)
  • About 2-3 tsp extra virgin olive oil additionally
    For the toppings:
  • 1/2 cup chopped olives
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped cranberries
    For the pesto sauce:
  • 1/2 of a ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1 small clove of garlic (optional)
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch or 1/8 tsp sea salt
    For herbed dipping oil:
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp dried parsley
  • pinch 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 water and the extra olive oil. Knead using your hands to form a smooth dough.
  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 with a fork.
  4. Place the toppings on top and again press to get them inside the dough.
  5. Place tray in the oven and bake at 425 F for about 10-12 mins until the bottom is crispy. Take out and brush again with olive oil on top and bake again for another 3-4 mins.
    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 if needed.
    For the herbed dipping oil:
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Notes

I use Anthony's Goods Cassava flour. If you use a different brand, then the dough consistency and consequently the consistency of the flatbread may come out different.

https://indusinternationalkitchen.com/2017/11/olives-cranberries-stuffed-flatbread-avocado-spinach-basil-pestopaleo-vegan-aip.html

 

Cranberry and Cherry Sauce || Cranberry and Cherry Chutney (Paleo, Vegan, AIP)

¬†¬†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 ūüôā

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!.

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

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!

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg F (200 deg C).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Place pot on low heat and add the salt, cayenne (if adding) and stir well. Let simmer for 5 mins on low.
  5. Then add the fresh cilantro and curry leaves and let simmer for another couple mins and turn heat off.
  6. 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.
  7. Store in a refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
https://indusinternationalkitchen.com/2017/11/cranberry-and-cherry-sauce-cranberry-and-cherry-chutney-paleo-vegan-aip.html

Turmeric ‘Mashed Potatoes’ || Turmeric Mashed Taroroot || (Whole30, Paleo, AIP)

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 saut√©ed 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 ūüôā

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

Turmeric 'Mashed Potatoes' || Turmeric Mashed Taroroot || (Paleo, AIP)
Author: 
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Fusion
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
 
A delicious Indian take on mashed potatoes by adding flavors of turmeric, ginger and curry leaves
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Add the ginger, green chillies (if adding) and fresh curry leaves. Saute for another min.
  5. Then add the turmeric and sea salt. Stir fry for another 30 secs.
  6. Now add the mashed potatoes or mashed taro and stir well to mix the onion and spices well into it.
  7. Finally add the coconut milk (if adding) and stir for 1 more min until well incorporated.
  8. Turn heat off and add the fresh cilantro and mix well.

 

 

Pumpkin Coconut Soup || Instant Pot Pumpkin Coconut Soup (Paleo, Vegan, Whole30, AIP)

 

DISCLOSURE:¬†This recipe 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 the product, I get a small commission. Your price stays the same, but your purchase helps to support this blog.

 

Rush Offer!: I made this soup in my new Instant Pot. Instant Pot Duo Plus 6 Qt is now available at amazon for $74.95 for a limited time!

Fall always brings a sense of contentment in me. The vibrant colors makes you want to go for leisurely walks trying to soak in all that beauty. The change in weather makes me want to snuggle in blankets all day long and plan for the imminent holiday season. This year has been a particularly relaxing year for me after I decided to quit my job early in January.  I took this hard decision with careful thought and reasoning and my desire to get my RA under control was the influencing factor in this decision. Stress is a trigger and an aggravator for most autoimmune diseases and I am fairly convinced that the stressful work environment that I was in for the last few years was one of the factors responsible for the sudden onset of my RA two years ago.

So it was time to take care of myself after being 100% focused on only the needs of the children and the family for the past 18 years. And let me tell you – this was long, long overdue. A lot of times, we, especially women become such ‘busy’ beings that we don’t even realize that we have become machines, working like clock work. I didn’t realize when I made the decision to quit that it would have such a profound impact on my health and well being. I quit because I felt I could not do both the things – do the job as well as take care of myself. Now I feel…. ‘liberated’. I am so thankful to God for being able to take this break. I can indeed vouch for the fact that lifestyle changes can have a profound impact on your disease and well being. I am not sure when and if I will ever get back to my previous professional life. But for now its all about taking a step back and rejoicing in all the positive things that has happened this year. I am just lazing around, enjoying the beauty and doing what I enjoy the most – cooking all day! For the past two weeks, its about warm and comforting soups and this pumpkin coconut soup is one such comforting bowl of deliciousness that makes you relax, unwind and be thankful.

Last week I roasted two large pumpkins and froze them in ziplock bags. That is what I used for this soup. To see how to roast a pumpkin, check this post of mine from before. I made this soup in the Instant Pot. I find it convenient to use the Instant Pot for soups since you can put it on and do your stuff without having to wait around. Plus it keeps the soup warm until you are ready to eat! Instant Pot Duo Plus 6 Qt is available at amazon for $74.95 for a limited time!

Bringing this delicious bowl of soup to the AIP Recipe Roundtable hosted by Phoenix Helix this week.

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Pumpkin Coconut Soup (Paleo, Vegan, AIP)
Author: 
Recipe type: Soups
Cuisine: Fusion, Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-5
 
A delicious and comforting soup made from roasted pumpkin and coconut milk mildly spiced with Indian spices like turmeric and cumin
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 medium size onion, chopped fine
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
  • 4-5 fresh curry leaves
  • 2 serrano chillies, chopped fine (optional, skip for AIP)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree (homemade or canned)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup coconut milk (organic canned or fresh home made)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder (skip for AIP)
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Instructions
Instant Pot method:
  1. Put Instant Pot on saute mode. Add the coconut oil and then add the onions and celery. Stir on high for 1 minute. Then add the garlic and ginger and curry leaves and chillies (if adding) stir on low for 1 minute.
  2. Next add turmeric, salt and cranberries. Stir for 30 secs. And add the pumpkin puree and water. Close the lid on the Instant Pot and set valve to sealing. Set pressure cook time to 10 mins. Release steam carefully, open the lid and add the coconut milk. Add cumin (if adding) and again pressure cook for 5 more mins. let pressure release naturally.
  3. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup (or use a blender/food processor to blend)
  4. Add fresh cilantro leaves and serve warm.
Regular Pot Method:
  1. Follow the same exact steps as above increasing initial cooking time to 20 mins.
Conventional Pressure Cooker:
  1. Follow the same exact steps as Instant Pot.
Notes
Cranberries provide a nice flavor and tartness to this soup. I use them as a substitute for tomatoes so do not skip them.
For making homemade coconut milk, check my recipe post 'How to make homemade coconut milk, coconut flour and coconut yoghurt'