Korean Style Sweet Potato Noodles with chicken and vegetables || (Paleo, AIP)

It is amazing how many new foods you come across when you are on a restricted diet.!  Starting on a grain free diet 10 months ago, I was a little apprehensive on how long I would be able to stick to it. But believe me, I have come across so many new grain free options that staying on the diet is not only possible but is also exciting and compelling!

I had come across ‘Korean sweet potato noodles’ a couple years ago at a potluck at work. It was absolutely delicious and I had learnt from the Korean co-worker who had made them that these were made from dried sweet potato noodles and that they were gluten free and grain free. At that time, even though I wasn’t looking for a grain free option, this dish had come across as incredibly novel and tasty and I had made a note to visit the Korean grocers sometime soon so I could pick these noodles.! She told me this dish was called as ‘Jap Chae’

Unfortunately I never got a chance to go to the Korean grocery store and I forgot all about these noodles. Until I went to a local Korean ‘Pick and Mix’ restaurant.  I love their Bibimbap with vegetables and chicken or beef. My entire family loves this place now and we get take outs from here regularly 🙂

A few months ago, a fellow Paleo blogger posted a sweet potato noodle dish on instagram. I asked her where she got her noodles from and imagine my happiness when she told me she got it from ‘Amazon’ 🙂 How incredibly wonderful I thought and this time I did not waste any time ordering a pack for myself!

I now regularly make these noodles adding a ton of vegetables along with chicken or shrimp or beef.  These noodles have so much flavor that the whole dish turns out be incredibly flavorful even without much spices or condiments. I only use a little bit of chilli peppers, fresh ginger and garlic and coconut aminos (soy sauce).  Yum O!  Thank Goodness for sweet potato noodles – staying grain free is not only easy but also delicious 🙂

Sharing this noodle dish at the AIP Recipe Roundtable this week hosted by Phoenix Helix. 

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Korean Style Sweet Potato Noodles with chicken and vegetables || (Paleo, AIP)

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 2-3

Korean Style Sweet Potato Noodles with chicken and vegetables || (Paleo, AIP)

An incredibly delicious, sweet and spicy dish made with grain free sweet potato noodles, lots of sautéed vegetables and shredded chicken

Ingredients

    For cooking chicken:
  • 2 -3 pieces of chicken thighs (about 3/4 lbs)
  • 6-8 whole black peppercorns, crushed (For AIP omit)
  • 1 inch by 1 inch of fresh ginger, chopped fine
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup water
    For sauteeing:
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets (or mix of cauliflower and broccoli)
  • 1 cup zucchini cubes
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 2 large cloves of garlic chopped fine
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes or cayenne pepper powder(omit for AIP)
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos

Instructions

  1. In a large cooking pot , fill upto about 3/4 th with water and bring to a boil. Add the noodles into the pot and heat for about 5 minutes until the noodles our soft. Drain the noodles using a colander and wash it further with cold water and strain again. Keep these noodles aside.
  2. In a medium size cooking pot, add the chicken pieces along with the ginger, garlic, black pepper and sea salt. Add the water and cook for about 15 mins on medium heat until the chicken is well cooked. Let cool and then shred the chicken into small pieces. Strain the chicken stock and reserve.
  3. In a large wok style pan, add the coconut oil. When hot add the vegetables and the garlic. Stir fry for about 1 minute. Then add the red chili flakes (or powder) and coconut aminos (or soy/tamari) and cover and cook for about 3-4 mins until the veggies are all cooked.
  4. Now add the chicken pieces and the noodles to the wok and also add the reserved chicken stock. Stir to mix everything well. Check for seasoning and add salt or pepper as needed. Serve warm or cold!

Notes

You can use any combination of vegetables - some examples, broccoli,mushroom, cabbage etc Since coconut aminos is sweet, I don't feel the need to add additional sweetener but you could a bit of honey too if you like a sweeter sauce

https://indusinternationalkitchen.com/2017/09/korean-style-sweet-potato-noodles-chicken-vegetables-paleo-gluten-free.html

 

Lentil and vegetable curry (Sambhaar)

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Sambhaar is a spicy and tangy curry (soup) made of lentils and vegetables.  This is a curry that is typical ‘South Indian’ cuisine and each of the four southern states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala have their slightly different versions of sambhaar. Sambhaar is eaten with rice but most commonly it is an accompaniment to Idlis and Dosas

Here I am sharing the recipe for Kerala Sambhaar.  The taste of the sambhaar to a large extent depends on the different vegetables that go into it.  Traditionally in Kerala, a lot of different vegetables are added to sambhaar. These include green plantain, winter melon, green beans, carrots, taro-root(chembu) etc. In addition,  sometimes eggplant, okra or radish are added too. The ‘sambhar masala’ is made by browning coconut and then grinding it to a paste with a blend of different roasted lentils and spices.   If you want to skip this long version, then you can just use store-bought sambhaar masala instead.  Most of the times I use the store bought masala but once in a while for a change I cook the longer version too.  Here I am giving details of bot versions.

For the most basic sambhaar that I often make I add Dhoodhi (smooth gourd) or winter melon and green pepper (capsicum).  Sometimes I only use eggplant or okra.  All versions have their slightly different flavors but all of them are delicious nevertheless (as long as it is made with a lot of love!) Drumstick for instance gives sambhaar a very unique flavor and that is another popular version in my house.

I recently also did a video for this recipe. Check it out:

Lentil and vegetable curry (Kerala Style Sambhaar)

  • Servings: About 3-4 as a side dish with rice
  • Time: about 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

3/4  cup toor dal (yellow split lentils)
3 cups water
1/2 med onion
2 small tomatoes, cubed
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red chilli
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 green chilli (optional)
1/2 cup smooth gourd
1/2 med capsicum, cubed
2 cups any other vegetables,chopped like taro root pieces,
green beans, carrots, drumsticks
1 cup water

1 inch dia ball of tamarind soaked in 1/2 cup water
2 tbsp sambhaar powder (store bought) or use
home-made sambhaar masala as shown below*
1 tsp coriander pow
1/2 tsp red chilli(if your sambhar masala is already hot,
then you can avoid adding more red chili)
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 cup water

For tempering/garnish:
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp methi seeds
pinch of asafetida (hing)
4/5 curry leaves

For homemade sambhaar masala:
1/4 cup coconut
1 tsp urad dal
1 tbsp chana dal
1 tsp cumin seeds
4-5 black pepper
1 clove garlic
2 dry red chillies

Method:

1. Wash the lentils 3-4 times under running water until water runs clear. Then add the 3 cups water and add the onions ,tomatoes along with the salt, turmeric, red chilli powder and green chilli and pressure cook for 3 whistles on medium heat. (If not using a pressure cooker, cook in  a large pot covered with a lid adding more water until the lentils are soft and well-cooked. ) Keep aside.

2. In a separate small pot, cook the vegetables in about 1 cup water. (If using many different vegetables,  add the harder vegetables first followed by the softer vegetables in order to avoid overcooking). Add the cooked vegetables into the pot with the cooked lentils.

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3. Now mix the sambhar masala, red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder in the 1/2 cup water and then mix with the tamarind pulp.  Add this mixture to the lentils and vegetables mixture and place this back on the heat on medium flame.  Add more water if needed to get a soup like consistency.  Let simmer for about 4-5 minutes on low heat.  Adjust salt.

4. Lastly, take a small tadka pan (or small frying pan and heat the coconut oil in it. When hot, add the mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the cumin seeds and methi seeds and stir for about 30 seconds till the methi seeds turn brown. Then add the hing, the dry red chillies and the curry leaves and stir for about 30 seconds more and turn the heat off. Add this tempering to the lentil and vegetable mixture and cover with a lid for about 5 minutes before serving (to make sure the methi seeds get cooked).

For making home made sambhaar masala:

Take a shallow frying pan and heat it on the stove, To this add the grated coconut and roast on medium flame for about 5-7 minutes stirring frequently to avoid uniform toasting and to avoid any scorching or burning of the coconut.  When all the coconut is all browned and toasty, add the black pepper corns, dry red chilies ,garlic and cumin seeds and stir for a few more seconds and then transfer to a food processor.  Now to the same pan add the urad dal and toast till golden brown and transfer this into the food processor as well. Next fry the chana dal until golden brown and put that in the food processor and grind everything using  about 1/2 cup warm water.

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Sambhar (Lentil and vegetable curry)

Notes:

1. If using egg plant or okra, you need to saute them in a little oil until they are cooked and then add to the lentils mixture.

2. Amount of tamarind to use differs depending upon personal tastes – some prefer the tangy sambhaar while some prefer it less tangy. So I recommend you start by adding less of the tamarind pulp as that will allow you to adjust.

3. If using ready made sambhaar masala, different brands have slightly different levels of heat. So again i would recommend starting with less quantity first and then adding more if needed.

Tangy Mixed Vegetable soup (Paav Bhaaji)

Tangy Mixed Vegetable soup
Tangy Mixed Vegetable soup

Sunday nights are usually soup and bread nights in our house and usually I will also make some fresh bread to go with the soup.  Today I made a soup that is a slight variation of the Indian spicy vegetable dish – “Paav bhaji”. What that means is Bread(paav) and bhaji (spicy vegetable curry).  My kids love paav bhaaji and hence its a good way to get them to eat their veggies. So today I decided to bake some fresh bread rolls and make a ‘paav bhaaji’ flavored vegetable soup to go with them.  You can use any mix of the different vegetables I have used but the flavor of this soup is mainly due to the blended combination of these different vegetables. I have used ‘Paav bhaaji masala’ which you will find in Indian grocery stores. This masala is a blend of many different spices and lends a spicy and tangy taste to the soup. But even without it , the soup will still taste good if you add enough lime juice to make it tangy.

This recipe will make about 4 servings of soup.
Ingredients:
2 cup chopped cauliflower
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/4 cup chopped green beans
1/4 cup chopped peas
1/2 cup chopped yellow squash or pumpkin
1/4 cup green pepper chopped
1 medium size potato, peeled and chopped
1 medium size tomato chopped(about 1/2 cup)
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (or cayenne pepper powder)
(Use 1/4 tsp if you want it mild and not too hot)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
3 cups water
1/2 of a medium size onion chopped finely
1 tbsp fresh ginger finely chopped (or grated) or ginger paste
1 tbsp fresh garlic finely chopped or garlic paste
1 tsp salt (or per taste)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tomato paste (or tomato puree)
1 tsp Paav bhaaji masala (optional)
1 tsp fresh lime juice
For garnish
lime pieces
fresh cilantro chopped

Method:

Take all the vegetables, tomatoes, the red chilli powder, the turmeric powder, coriander powder, salt and add the water and cook either in a pressure cooker (3 whistles) or on medium heat covered till the vegetables are all soft and well-cooked.

Next take a medium size cooking pot and add the olive oil.  Then add the onions and saute on medium heat for about 2 minutes till translucent. Then add the ginger and the garlic and again saute for about 1 minute.  Then add the paav bhaji masala (if using) and roast for about 30 seconds and then add the tomato paste and saute for about 1 minute.  Now add the cooked vegetables to this and mix well. Cook for about another 2-3 minutes adding more water to get the soup to your desired consistency.   If you want a smooth pureed soup, you can blend this in a blender.  I just used a potato masher to mash all the vegetables and get a chunky soup.

Garnish with cilantro leaves and a lime wedges and serve hot with fresh bread rolls.

Moru Kootan (Yoghurt and coconut curry)

Moru kootan is a very typical Kerala dish which is a yoghurt coconut curry where usually a vegetable like  green(raw) plantain or chembu (taro root) is cooked in a yoghurt /buttermilk (moru in malayalam) and coconut sauce.  ‘Kootan’ means any ‘curry’ that can be had with rice.

When I first started cooking kerala dishes in the US after my marriage, I could never get the ‘moru kootan’ right.  I would call amma long distance and tell her how my ‘moru kootan’ did not taste like her’s at all.  Then when my parents visited us , I watched her cook it and of course she succeeded in making a great ‘moru kootan’ even with the store bought yoghurt that would not turn sour in the winter weather. !  She added a tiny piece of tamarind to get the sourness and it worked splendidly!

So here I am sharing not just her recipe but her tips and tricks too for a perfect ‘moru kootan’ everytime.  You can make moru kootan using chembu (arabi in hindi and taro root in English) or green plantain or white pumpkin or even raw/green mango.  The method that I show below will remain the same except for the cooking time initially needed to cook the vegetable.

This curry keeps well for 3-4 days and is really very comforting food especially when you feel like having something light. Nothing like some plain rice, moru kootan and a piece of mango pickle!

Watch my video on how to make this curry:


Moru Kootan (Yoghurt and coconut curry)
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, Kerala
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
A delicious tangy yoghurt coconut curry mildly spiced with turmeric, cumin and fenugreek seeds
Ingredients
  • Chembu(arabi in hindi or taro root in english) or
  • green plantain or white pumpkin - cut into 1 inch cubes , about 1 cup
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tiny piece (about a ¼ inch ball) of tamarind
  • ¾ cup grated coconut (fresh or fresh frozen that
  • has been thawed to room temperature)
  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 cup plain Dahi or yoghurt (thick)
  • coconut oil 1 tbsp
  • mustard seeds 1 tsp
  • methi (fenugreek )seeds 1 tsp
  • fresh curry leaves - 1 sprig
  • 2 medium size dry red chills, broken into halves
Instructions
  1. Take the cut vegetable in a pot and add about 1 cup water. (You may need to adjust this quantity depending upon the vegetable you are using for the moru kootan. -For chembu(arabi) and green plantain, about 1 cup is needed , for white pumpkin, you will need less since it cooks faster)
  2. Take the cut vegetable in a pot and add about 1 cup water. (You may need to adjust this quantity depending upon the vegetable you are using for the moru kootan. -For chembu(arabi) and green plantain, about 1 cup is needed , for white pumpkin, you will need less since it cooks faster)
  3. Next take the coconut in a blender (or food processor) and add the cumin seeds to it and the ¼ tsp turmeric powder (note I have noted turmeric twice in the ingredients list for this reason as I am using it twice). Take 1 cup of warm water and blend the coconut and cumin mixture till it is nice and fine. (about 2-3 minutes on high for a regular blender).
  4. Then add the 1 cup of yoghurt and again blend it once more for about 30 seconds.
  5. Next pour the mixture into the pot with the cooked vegetable and stir. Now put the stove back on low to medium heat till you see a few (about 3-4 bubbles) coming up. This should take about a minute or so and immediately turn the heat off. ( This is a very important step otherwise your yoghurt will curdle)
  6. Finally, for the tadka, heat coconut oil in a tadka (small pan) pan. Add the mustard seeds and when they splutter, add the methi (fenugreek) seeds and heat for about a minute on low flame until the methi seeds change color to golden brown. Next add the curry leaves and the dry red chillies and put the heat off immediately. Pour this garnish oil into the pot with the sauce and stir.

 

 

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Moru Kootan(Yoghurt curry)