Nom Nom Paleo

Thai Curry Chicken

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Thai Curry Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I’ve got a recipe that’s quicker, healthier, and tastier than ordering takeout from your neighborhood Thai joint.  Just grab some chicken (or whatever quick-cooking protein on hand) add some frozen and leftover vegetables, and stir in some curry paste and coconut milk. After a few minutes on the stove, you’ll have a fragrant, flavorful curry. Instead of tipping the delivery guy, you can give yourself a pat on the back instead.

My PSA of the day: Make sure your pantry is stocked with a few Thai curry pastes. My favorite brands are Aroy-D and Mae Ploy and I like yellow, red, and green. You can buy these pastes at most Asian markets, but choose the ones that only contain herbs and spices. Read your labels, folks.

Thai Curry Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Ingredients (Serves 4 people):

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or fat of choice
  • 1 small onion, chopped medium
  • 1-2 tablespoons Thai curry paste (whichever color you prefer)
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 10 ounces frozen vegetables
  • 2 cups leftover roasted kabocha squash
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice (optional)
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

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Pressure Cooker Indian Curry Lamb Spareribs

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I got the inspiration for this dish after tasting my buddy Noopur’s bright and fresh-tasting curried mutton the other day. She’s a fellow CrossFitting foodie who obsesses about what’s she’s going to eat all the time — just like me. Noopur told me the secret to her recipe is to use lots of lemon juice and chopped cilantro.  Here’s a simplified (and bastardized) American version of her phenomenal recipe.

Ingredients (Serves 2-3 people)

For the lamb

For the sauce

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 pound ripe tomatoes
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (I use Maharajah Style Curry Powder)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, divided
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced

Toss the spare ribs with 2 teaspoons salt…

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…and 1 tablespoon curry powder.

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Use your hands to thoroughly coat the ribs.

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Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of four hours and up to a day.

When you’re ready to cook off the ribs, melt the coconut oil over medium heat in a 6-qt pressure cooker.

Brown the spare ribs in two batches…

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…and remove them to a plate when they’re done.

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While the ribs are sizzling, grab the onion and tomatoes…

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…throw them in a blender

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…and blitz until smooth.

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Once the spare ribs are seared…

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…add the minced garlic to the empty pot off the heat.

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I take the pot off the heat so the garlic doesn’t burn — that’ll add a yucky metallic taste and it’ll ruin your curry.

Stir the garlic until fragrant (30 seconds) before adding the tomato and onion puree.

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Put the pot back on a burner set at medium heat.

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Add curry powder, salt, 1 cup chopped cilantro, and lemon juice.

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Bring to a boil…image

 …and add the lamb back in.

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Mix the spareribs to coat with curry sauce.

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Lock on the pressure cooker lid and increase heat to high to bring up to high pressure. Once high pressure is reached, decrease the heat to low to maintain high pressure for 20 minutes.

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Let the pressure release naturally (10-15 minutes).

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Taste for seasoning and stir in scallions and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro.

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Curried Beef, Broccoli Slaw, & Mushroom Frittata Muffins

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It’s no secret that I love frittatas. They’re even better in mini form ‘cause you can serve them as finger food at a party or store them in the fridge for a quick snack or breakfast on the go. I threw this recipe together this morning for the inaugural CrossFit Palo Alto Whole9 Nutrition Guide Orientation. Luckily, they turned out okay or I would’ve had egg on my face. (Ha!)

Mini frittata muffins can be made with whatever you have lying around, just like regular sized frittatas. Just fill up the muffin tins with filling and you can estimate the amount of eggs you need to make the batter with this ratio: for every two muffins, you need one egg in the batter (e.g. 12 muffins = 6 eggs). If you don’t want your mini frittatas to be too moist (i.e. soggy), add a few tablespoons of coconut flour. (For 15 muffins, I’ll put in 3 level tablespoons of coconut flour).

Here’s what I assembled to make 36 muffins:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1 pound of mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 bag of broccoli slaw from Trader Joe’s
  • 1 pound of grass fed ground beef
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of curry powder 
  • coconut oil spray
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 20 large eggs
  • 5-6 tablespoons of coconut flour (optional, see note above)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Here’s how I made them:

I preheated the oven to 375 F and I started chopping and slicing my veggies.

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I heated up the coconut oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once the pan was hot, I threw in the onions with some salt and pepper and sauteed them until they were soft and translucent.

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Next, I added the mushrooms (with some more S&P) and cooked them until the liquid had evaporated.

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I tossed in the ground beef and cooked it until it was no longer pink. I seasoned the meat mixture with the curry powder and added more salt and pepper to taste. Then, I added the bag of broccoli slaw…

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…and stirred that around until the slaw was softened.

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In the meantime, I had my two boys help me put cupcake liners in my cupcake tins.

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Once the liners were in the tins, I sprayed them with coconut oil spray. If you coat the liners with oil, the muffins won’t stick as much to the paper. (Or you can skip this part and use silicone baking cups.)

Next, I divided the filling into each muffin liner.

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I cracked the eggs into a large bowl and whisked in the coconut milk and a healthy sprinkle of salt and pepper.

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I know this might sound gross, but I tasted the raw egg mixture to make sure there was enough seasoning. Yes, CrossFit Palo Alto members, I risked salmonella poisoning for you guys.

I ladled the egg mixture into the muffin tins, making sure the liquid only reached 3/4 of the way to the top. The muffins puff up during cooking so you don’t want to fill them to the brim.

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I popped the trays into the oven for 15 minutes and then I rotated the trays and baked them for 6 additional minutes. You know the muffins are done when they rise up to the top and they are springy to the touch when you pat the surface. I let the muffins sit in the pan for a few minutes and then I cooled them on a wire rack.

These muffins can be served warm, room temperature, or cold right out of the fridge. I know I’m beating a dead horse, but frittatas really are awesome.

[UPDATED: I’ve since made these frittatas using silicone baking cups, and it’s a GAME-CHANGER — I’m not going back to paper cupcake liners!]

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

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I love cauliflower ‘cause it’s such a versatile vegetable. You can roast it with bacon, make “fried rice,” or transform it into pseudo-mashed potatoes. Here’s yet another way I like to cook it: Roast the florets with a generous dusting of specialty curry powder.

I first came across this recipe on super brainiac/foodie Darya Pino’s awesome website, Summer Tomato. She calls this dish “Roasted Curried Cauliflower to Die For,” and I have to admit I’d gladly impale myself on a rusty sword for some. I make this recipe all the time, but with some slight modifications: I use avocado oil in place of olive oil, and I add a squirt of lemon juice and a shower of chopped cilantro at the end.

Here’s what I assembled (serves 2-3):

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into uniform florets
  • A generous glug of avocado oil, melted coconut oil, or ghee
  • 2-4 tablespoons of curry powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro leaves

Here’s how I made this dish:

After preheating my oven to 450 F and putting the rack in the lower middle of the oven, I threw the florets in a bowl and tossed them with a generous amount of fat (~2 tablespoons), curry powder, salt, and pepper.

My favorite curry powder is from Singapore. My co-worker bought some during a recent visit, and he gave me a jar.

He has penmanship like a doctor: It’s effing terrible.

I poured the seasoned florets on a foil-lined baking sheet and covered it tightly with another sheet of foil. I put the tray in the oven for 15 minutes and then I removed the top layer of foil. I roasted the cauliflower for 20 more minutes, flipping the florets every 8 minutes or so until they were softened and browned in parts.

After I plated the dish, I finished it by squeezing on the juice of half a lemon and sprinkling on some cilantro. 

Easy and yummy. Next time, I’m gonna try making Melicious’s awesome-looking cocoa-toasted cauliflower dish.