Happy Holiday season to all of you! By mid-december, everyone around here (at least in our neck of woods here in Connecticut ) seem to get into the holiday mood! Folks are taking days off from work just so that they can finish up their christmas shopping or just so they can hang out at home and take it easy. I feel so happy that I don’t need to take days off from work like other folks – you see I have been ‘off-work’ since when i quit my job earlier this year 🙂 . And what a wonderful and relaxing 11 months it has been! To tell you the truth, I have been in a ‘holiday’ mood through out the past year 🙂 I am loving every minute of it as well as am thankful to God for being able to enjoy this luxury.
Now ever since having gone paleo, warm oatmeal had gone out of my life too! I missed it a lot! Especially now in this cold, cold new england winter weather, I really started craving for something warm that I could slurp lazily in the mornings. And thus in desperation I created this recipe which I honestly didn’t need to try very hard.! Since I used to make tapioca coconut pudding regularly, this recipe was only a slight extension of that one where I decided to add tiger nut flour additionally. I was so glad I did. Addition of tiger nut flour tastes the texture of the pudding considerably. Before where it used to be a huge lumpy mass, now we have a coarse, gritty and more ‘porridge like’ texture! Plus the tiger nut flavor imparts it a delicious nutty flavor!
You may have the question ‘What is a tigernut?’. Well, it isn’t a nut, as the name implies. It is a small root vegetable that grows in Northern Africa and the Mediterranean. Tigernut flour is naturally gluten free and Paleo. And it offers those allergic to nuts an option for adding protein when baking and cooking. High in fiber, iron, potassium, protein, magnesium, zinc and vitamins E and C, tiger nuts were the primary food of our ancient ancestors who lived in East Africa between 2.4 million and 1.4 million years ago, according to a 2014 Oxford University study. One ounce of these crunchy root vegetables contains 40 percent of the recommended daily fiber intake1.
Wash the pre-soaked tapioca pearls thoroughly in water and drain the water. Repeat this 2-3 times until the water runs clear.
Add the washed tapioca pearls to a small cooking pot. Add the coconut milk and the water and the sea salt. Heat on medium heat until the mixture starts to boil. Then turn heat to low and cover and cook for 2-3 mins.
Open the pot and stir once.
Now add the tiger nut flour to the mixture and stir continuously on low heat until a porridge like consistency is obtained (about 1-2 mins)
Turn heat off and serve porridge warm topping with fresh or frozen berries/fruits and / shredded coconut.
After soaking the tapioca pearls should measure to almost 1 cup since they bloom/swell on soaking.
For toppings, you can use fresh or frozen berries or any other fruits!
Ooh..its December! I cannot believe it. How did we roll into December suddenly? Weren’t we enjoying summer just a few weeks back! Well at least it seemed like a few weeks back! And wait, it just seems like a few months ago that we welcomed 2017! And now you are telling me that we are ready to usher in 2018? The fact that 2017 went by so quickly seems especially strange to me since I quit my job in Feb 2017 and at that time (very naively I guess) thought that the year will pass by relatively slowly now that I did not need to juggle 101 things on one day! I guess I was wrong about that one! I mean I still ended up juggling 101 things -Hmm..maybe not 101 but 99 for sure 🙂
Oh boy, and that brings us into wintery world with cold, icy spells, snowy blizzards and worst of all ‘darkness at 4’ evenings to look forward to!. I hate that the most. I mean why do they have to pull back the clock? At least give us 1 more hour of brightness during the day! Is that so much to ask for!
OK OK …So all this only means one thing. There will be lots and lots of soup nights in the K household! Having the Instant Pot makes it even easier! Since you put everything that you fancy into the pot, start the timer and go your merry way…which for me means straight back under my blanket 🙂 And when the Mr and kiddos are ready, we will unplug the Pot and have our dinner. Some ‘deli bought’ fresh dinner rolls for them while I dive into a double large bowl for myself! My grain free diet is a good enough excuse for me to indulge shamelessly!
And one of our all time favorite soups is ‘Chicken noodle’. The ultimate in comfort food! And now finally I have a Paleo version of this soup! Dried Sweet Potato noodles to the rescue – TADA! If you read my post on Korean Style sweet potato noodles you will be familiar with these noodles. These are made from sweet potato starch and when you cook them they appear translucent and glassy. They are a little slimier than your regular flour noodles but they taste great. And I am really fortunate that my kids love them too. So I substitute these noodles for the flour noodles, add lots of veggies, some ginger, lots of sea salt, hardly any spices and you get this bowl of comfort that you do not want to share with anybody else!
Last time when I made this, I threw in a whole bunch of spinach towards the end and so we ended up having a green chicken noodle soup! No one cared or complained about the color. They were too busy slurping away! Seriously, guys this soup was so delicious and there are no spices in it! 100% AIP Compliant!
Set the Instant Pot to Saute mode. Add the oil. Let heat for 1 min and then add the onions, celery, and carrots. Stir fry for 2 mins. Then add the salt, ginger and garlic (if adding). Stir for another 30 secs. Then add the chicken pieces and the water. Close the lid on the Instant Pot and set vale to sealing position. Press Pressure Cook button and set time to 10 mins. Release steam carefully and once the valve goes all the way down, open the lid. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken pieces into a bowl. Let cool for a few mins and then shred the chicken pieces using your hands.
Add the chicken pieces back into the Instant Pot along with the noodles and the spinach and the parsley (if adding). Place lid and pressure cook again for 2 mins. Release pressure carefully and open the pot. Stir to mix spinach well into the soup, add freshly ground pepper(if adding) as needed and check for seasoning and serve soup warm!
Heat a large cooking pot with the oil. Let heat for 1 min and then add the onions, celery, and carrots. Stir fry for 2 mins. Then add the salt, ginger and garlic (if adding). Stir for another 30 secs. Then add the chicken pieces and the water. Cover the pot (leaving a small vent open) on low heat for 20 mins.
Turn heat off and open pot and transfer chicken pieces to a bowl. Keep aside to cool and then shred the chicken pieces.
Meanwhile, heat another large cooking pot with water. When it starts boiling, add the noodles to it and let cook for about 4 mins on medium heat. Then drain the noodles carefully using a large strainer. Rinse the noodles once with cold water.
Add the noodles to the soup pot along with the shredded chicken pieces and the spinach and the parsley (if adding). Cook on low simmer uncovered for 2 mins until the spinach gets cooked. Turn heat off and add freshly ground pepper (if adding)as needed and check for seasoning. Serve warm!
I have suggested using between 3/4 lbs to 1 lbs of chicken since the quantity of chicken is flexible - if you want more protein in your soup, you can add more chicken and vice-versa. This soup is really very forgiving - whatever way you do it, it will come out good!
While cooking on stove top, I recommend cooking the noodles separately since that is the best way to cook them - Rinsing once with cold water makes them a little less slimy.
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 🙂
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.
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.
Place the toppings on top and again press to get them inside the dough.
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:
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:
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.
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.
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.