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.
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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!
A delicious and comforting soup made from roasted pumpkin and coconut milk mildly spiced with Indian spices like turmeric and cumin
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
Instant Pot method:
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.
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.
Using an immersion blender, puree the soup (or use a blender/food processor to blend)
Add fresh cilantro leaves and serve warm.
Regular Pot Method:
Follow the same exact steps as above increasing initial cooking time to 20 mins.
Conventional Pressure Cooker:
Follow the same exact steps as Instant Pot.
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'
In Kerala cuisine, shrimp/prawns are very popular. Especially in the areas closer to the sea like Kochi. My mom having grown up in Kochi, would add shrimp to most vegetable side dishes along with shredded coconut. Tiny shrimp were mostly reserved for such vegetable dishes where a handful of them were enough to impart lots of flavor to an otherwise boring vegetable dish 🙂 No wonder growing up, we sisters never fussed about eating our veggies!
So I have been continuing with my mom’s tradition of adding shrimp to veggies here in my US kitchen too. And the kids have been eating their veggies without any complaints 🙂 This past week I was cooking Ivy gourd. I had added a few shrimp to the water while cooking the ivy gourd. I, however, inadvertently added more water than what was needed for the vegetable to cook so I needed to drain the stock in order to end up with a ‘dry’ vegetable side dish. I obviously reserved the stock thinking I would use it in some soup. But as I quickly tasted a spoonful of the stock, the idea of this seafood and vegetable soup was born in my mind.
And the very next day, I had to make this! I added lots of other veggies in addition to the ivy gourd. All possible veggies that were available to me in my refrigerator went into the pot – daikon radish, taro root and spinach!. For flavor, I added turmeric and ginger. And also some dried seaweed (dulse). The soup as you can imagine turned out to be so so flavorful and takes less than 30 mins to put together!
I had this entire batch – about two bowls full of soup for lunch along with a small salad. Bringing this delicious and flavorful soup to the AIP recipe roundtable hosted by Phoenix Helix.
A delicious seafood soup made with vegetables and shrimp, flavored with turmeric and ginger and topped with seaweed
8-10 medium size shrimp, peeled and deveined leaving tails intact
½ cup ivy gourd, cut into long thin pieces
½ cup Daikon radish, cut into thin slices
2 medium taro root, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
3 cups water
1 inch by 1 inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and cut into thick round slices
½ tsp organic turmeric powder
¼ tsp sea salt
1 cup spinach and or bok choy leaves
3-4 pieces of kombu/dried seaweed
In a medium cooking pot, add the shrimp, the vegetables, ginger, turmeric and salt. Heat pot on stove and when the water starts to boil, turn heat to low and cover and cook for 6-7 mins or until the taro pieces are well cooked.
Add the spinach/bok choy and cook for 1 more minute. Turn heat off.
Transfer to 2 serving bowls. Add the combo/dried seaweed pieces on top. Serve warm.
You can use any combination of vegetables. Make sure to modify cooking time based on what vegetables you use.
In Kerala cuisine, Pachadi is a side dish which is made using yoghurt. I have posted recipe for ash gourd pachadi or kumabalanga pachadi and beetroot pachadi before. Pachadi can be made using different vegetables and sometimes even fruits like pineapple are used. Although I make okra coconut milk curry often, I had never tried to make vendakka (okra) pachadi before since my amma never made it at home.
These days being on a Paleo diet, I usually like to have the curries as soup. Now that I make my coconut yoghurt at home, I have more options for curries. And so I thought of making this vendakka pachadi where you add fried okra pieces to a coconut and yoghurt base. Since the soup base is made by blending coconut meat and coconut yoghurt, it is really creamy and filling and of course , super delicious! I fried extra okra pieces so I could just have those on the side along with this wonderfully healthy and satisfying soup. Traditionally, regular yoghurt preferably slightly soured is used for pachadi. But I used coconut yoghurt instead of regular yoghurt to keep it dairy free. And I added a dash of lemon juice since my coconut yoghurt was not tangy enough.
A delicious soup made with coconut and coconut yoghurt blended with cumin and curry leaves with fried okra on top.
About 2 cups Okra (Bhindi), cut into ½ inch rounds (you can use fresh or frozen okra)
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp turmeric
2 tbsp coconut oil
¾ cup grated coconut (freshly grated or frozen that has been thawed)
2 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp turmeric powder (optional)
2-3 fresh curry leaves
½ cup warm water
1 tsp sea salt
¾ cup plain yoghurt (use coconut yoghurt for vegan/paleo)
2 tsp lemon juice (optional to give tanginess)
1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
4-5 fresh curry leaves
1 dry red kashmiri chilli, broken into two pieces
Pat dry the okra pieces with paper towels (especially if using frozen okra pieces). Sprinkle the salt and turmeric over the pieces.
Heat the 2 tbsp coconut oil in a small frying pan and shallow fry the okra pieces in batches until they turn crispy. Keep aside.
Ina food processor, add all the ingredients listed under 'For grinding' except the yoghurt and blend well until you get a fine paste. Then add the yoghurt and lemon juice and blend again for about 30 secs.
In a small kadai or a wok shaped pan, add the 1 tbsp coconut oil. When hot, add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and the kashmiri chillies and stir for 30 secs.
Add the ground coconut and yoghurt mixture into the pan and turn heat to low. As soon as the mixture starts to bubble (about 1 min or so), turn heat off. Check for salt.
Add the fried okra pieces just before serving so that they retain their crispy texture.
For AIP recipe, skip mustard seeds, cumin and chillies
I am sure you will agree that there is no food more comforting than a warm bowl of soup. In my house they are welcome on any nights but especially on cold, wintery nights. Although spring is here, last weekend ended up being chilly. As I was wondering what to cook for dinner on sunday night, I noticed that there were a lot of different vegetables leftover in the refrigerator. So what better meal than a soup to be able to use all of them?
I make this ‘fridge clean up’ soup quite a lot. And usually it is on sunday nights. Best part about soups is that you can create variations by just changing the combination of vegetables and the spices used. Before I went paleo, I used to make Minestrone soup all the time where I would add vegetables to the beans and use tomatoes to make the typical Italian favorite. So now I decided to make some changes – since I wasn’t going to add the beans, I decided to add in more of the starchy vegetables like turnip and taro root. And I used my favorite substitute for tomatoes – cranberries! The soup turned out fabulous. The family ate it with some whole grain bread while I had mine with a small piece of boiled yucca on the side. Yes and that’s how I got the idea of adding the grated yucca on top! I couldn’t resist – the grated yucca looked so much like grated mozzarella! But tasted so much better 🙂 Yum!