Deconstructed Samosa (Spiced Keema)

Pin It

In early 1996, Henry and I spent part of the blustery winter in London. We’d just graduated from college, and to celebrate, his parents had treated us to a trip. From our little Curzon Street apartment in Mayfair (right in Shepherd Market), we ventured around the city. Besides playing tourist, Henry wanted to catch the world premiere of Trainspotting (and drink beer in the theater) and stock up on Doc Martens in Camden. (It was the mid-90s, after all.) Me? Ever the gastro-tourist, I was there for the food. And you know what they say: when in London, eat Indian food.

Deconstructed Samosa (Spiced Keema) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Authentic Indian cuisine wasn’t new to me. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, with its large and vibrant Indian and Pakistani communities, I can’t remember a time I didn’t crave great Indian grub: spicy curries, meat and vegetable stews, and rich, fragrant daal—all served with a variety of breads like brick-oven-baked naan, deep-fried bhatura or pan-cooked chapati flatbread. 

But the Indian food in London was revelatory, and we ate copious amounts of it. When we spent a weekend in Paris, I got sick and holed up in the hotel; my only directions to Henry were to bring me back macarons and—of all things to eat in Paris—Indian samosas. I was hooked.

Deconstructed Samosa (Spiced Keema) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

You’re a samosa fan, too, right? These fried pastry pockets can be stuffed with spicy vegetables or meat, though these days, I prefer the latter. After all, the meat filling—keema—is the perfect emergency protein: it’s simple to make with pantry and fridge staples, and it’s great with everything from cauliflower rice and sweet potato hash to hearty omelets and crisp lettuce wraps.

Deconstructed Samosa (Spiced Keema) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

For my deconstructed samosa dish, I adapted a recipe for sookha keema (dry-cooked spicy ground meat) from one of my favorite cookbooks of all time, Julie Sahni’s Classic Indian Cooking. The jacket is torn and tattered (and held together with tape), the text-only pages are dog-eared and splattered with curry sauce, but my first-edition copy of Classic Indian Cooking is still my go-to for authentic Indian recipes.

Deconstructed Samosa (Spiced Keema) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

If you’re on a Whole30, you can serve the spiced meat in lettuce cups. Otherwise, you should buy this recipe from Tara Grant of Primal Girl and fry up some Paleo-friendly flatbread for this recipe. (And no, I wasn’t asked or paid to mention Tara’s recipe—I didn’t even sign up to be an affiliate, because I’m not looking to make money off of it. I bought the recipe myself after reading some rave reviews online, and I think it’s well worth the $3.95 price tag. I mean, we spend more on a big cuppa coffee, right?)

Read more

I’m A Panda

Pin It

Remember the bestselling grammar book Eats, Shoots & Leaves? I sometimes think the title describes my visits to restaurants.

image

Other times, I whisper to myself: “Eat it, don’t tweet it.” (I’m proud of the fact that we ate many awesome meals in Sonoma County this past weekend, and the DSLR stayed in the camera bag. Mostly.)

But as evidenced by my Instagram feed, I’m afraid I often ignore the little voice in my head. At least my iPhone’s less obtrusive than my hulking Nikon, right?

Diana Rodgers’ Lamb “Dosa” Purses with Coconut Crème

Pin It

Diana Rodgers' Lamb "Dosa" Purses with Coconut Crème by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

A couple of years ago, I showed up at the inaugural Ancestral Health Symposium at UCLA exhausted and grouchy. After just coming off a week of graveyard shifts, driving 300 miles to Los Angeles, and staying up late eating various animal parts with new friends, I was a mess. I was slumped over in a folding chair, staring into my iPhone, when a woman came up to introduce herself. I stayed planted in my seat, and mumbled something back before she left.

Diana Rodgers' Lamb "Dosa" Purses with Coconut Crème by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Henry, who was a few feet away, walked over to chide me. “Whoa. I know you’re tired, but you know that you were incredibly rude to that person, right?” (He actually used a stronger adjective than “rude,” but this is a family-friendly blog, so I paraphrased.)

He was right. I felt awful, and my stomach knotted up. I bolted from my seat and scanned the room, desperate to find the person I’d just blown off so I could apologize. But I failed. For months afterwards, every time I met someone new, I reminded myself to not act like a complete…rude person.

Flash-forward one year. Henry and I headed down to the first PaleoFX conference in Austin, and decided to stay in a house with a number of other Paleo blogging friends, including Diane Sanfilippo, George Bryant, Bill Staley and Hayley Mason, Liz Wolfe, and others. Diane’s roommate at the house was Diana Rodgers.

Diana Rodgers' Lamb "Dosa" Purses with Coconut Crème by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Diana and I hit it off right away. While the rest of the house headed out for a morning CrossFit beat-down, Diana and I went on a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood and chatted. As moms of two young kids, we bonded over stories and jokes, and it became immediately evident that we both share an acerbic, sharp-edged sense of humor. When Diana learned that I’d be attending AHS in Boston, she invited our entire clan to stay with her on her family’s farm in Carlisle. I accepted on the spot.

But it wasn’t until that evening that it suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks: Diana was the person I’d rudely blown off at AHS.

"IT’S YOU!" I exclaimed. Diana smiled and nodded.

It’s a testament to Diana that she was willing to stay in a house with me despite the way I’d acted. And Diana didn’t just tolerate me; she was warm and generous, and quickly became a close friend. Since then, we’ve stayed with her family in Massachusetts, playing on the farm, hanging out at the beach, chowing on good grub, and generally having a rollicking good time. (I’m pretty sure Diana even forgave me for almost burning down her house.) We shared a house in Texas again this year, and I’m excited that we’re going to hang out twice more this month in two different states.

Best of all: our kids love her kids.

Diana Rodgers' Lamb "Dosa" Purses with Coconut Crème by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

That said, even if I knew nothing at all about Diana, I can honestly tell you that I absolutely adore her new cookbook, Paleo Lunches and Breakfasts on the Go.

When transitioning to a Paleo lifestyle, a lot of people are stymied by the perceived lack of breakfast and lunch options. “What am I supposed to eat if I can’t have cereal or waffles or sandwiches?” My standard response has been “EAT DINNER FOR BREAKFAST” or something along those lines, but Diana’s gone the extra mile. The pages of her book are jam-packed with all sorts of quick, flavorful, Paleo-friendly meals—and not just for finicky children, but for adults with more grown-up palates, too.

Diana Rodgers' Lamb "Dosa" Purses with Coconut Crème by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Read more

More Recipes for Your August Whole30®!

Pin It

So: who’s doing the August Whole30® starting Thursday?

More Recipes for Your August Whole30®! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

If your hand is raised, you’re not alone. Tons of folks are cleaning out their pantries of all the bad stuff and getting ready for a month of clean, whole, nutrient-dense foods. No matter if you’re doing it for the first time or the twelfth, this month will give you an improved sense of how different foods affect the way you feel.

More Recipes for Your August Whole30®! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Read more

Mango + Avocado Salsa on Pan-Seared Salmon

Pin It

Mango and Avocado Salsa by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

As the defiant second child growing up in a multigenerational household, I made it a point to assert my contrariness whenever I could.

You want me to wear a coat because it’s 30°F outside and the windows are frosted over? No way! I’m wearing a TANK TOP. And the reason my teeth are chattering is ‘cause I’m sooo HOT.

The power struggles spilled over to the kitchen table, too. My parents and grandparents loved tropical fruit—papaya, guava, durian—but I would cross my arms and turn my nose up in disgust. I don’t want to try that mango. Papaya and durian? YUCK. I despise tropical fruit! Blech! [Insert gagging, retching noises here.]

I hate to admit it, but I should’ve listened to my elders. Especially about mango—I crave that fragrant, tender fruit now, especially the golden Ataufo variety from Mexico, which is similar to the Manila mango (a.k.a. champagne mango).

(I still can’t stand papaya and durian, though. Gross.)

Mango and Avocado Salsa by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

One of my favorite summer dishes is pan-seared salmon topped with a tangy and refreshing mango and avocado salsa—it’s quick, simple, and delicious. It’s easy on the eyes, too.

Mango and Avocado Salsa by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Read more

Forky Friday: 7/19/13

Pin It

Forky Friday 7/19/13 by Michelle Tam of http://nomnompaleo.com

How can summer be half over already? My kids return to school in less than a month, and I haven’t even cracked the spine of a single novel while laying out at the beach. Who am I kidding? I don’t read novels—I just scour the Internet for cool links to share on Forky Friday. Oh, and cookbooks. I’m all about those.

In this week’s edition: vegetables, meat, and Ryan Gosling—all the key ingredients for a perfect weekend.

A Whole30 August

Are you embarking on a Whole30 on August 1st? Hooray! Although it might seem like a daunting task, eating delicious, nutrient-dense food for a month is 100% doable. And besides, you owe it to yourself to eat nourishing food, right?

If you’re looking for help, you’ll get lots of free support on the Whole30 forums, and you can always refer to my Whole30 Rundown for tips and tricks for staying on track. Good luck, and get cooking!

Forky Friday 7/19/13 by Michelle Tam of http://nomnompaleo.com

Back Away Slowly From The Bagged Lettuce

Okay, I’ve definitely bought more than my fair share of bagged, pre-washed salad greens. It can be super convenient, especially when I’m pressed for time or just too lazy to do any vegetable prep. But after reading The Truth About Bagged Lettuce in Mother Jones, I think I’ll just spend a few extra minutes bonding with my salad spinner and a fresh head of lettuce.

Forky Friday 7/19/13 by Michelle Tam of http://nomnompaleo.com

What The %$*@ Is In My CSA Box?

Thankfully, I don’t often have to resort to bagged lettuce. I’ve been a member of my vegetable CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for almost ten years, so I’m treated to wonderfully farm-fresh lettuce and other greens every week.

Forky Friday 7/19/13 by Michelle Tam of http://nomnompaleo.com

I love my CSA and the fantastic assortment of veggies that come in my weekly box, but I still occasionally get a few items that leave me wondering how I’m going to prepare them. Lucky for me, Buzzfeed has a great post on 31 Things To Do With Confusing Vegetables.

Read more

Throw a Paleo Summer Shindig!

Pin It

My week of graveyard shifts ends on Wednesday morning—just in time for me to kick back with my family on July 4th. [Insert fist pump here.]

Because the Fourth of July lands midweek this year, something tells me you haven’t had a lot of time to plan the menu for your Independence Day bash. Never fear: I’ve got tons of ideas for your own Paleo-friendly party!

Paleo Summer Party! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Read more

Listen Up! I’m on The Balanced Bites Podcast!

Pin It

Yo, peeps! After fueling up with bone broth and bacon for breakfast, I spent a good chunk of the morning chatting with my buddy Diane Sanfilippo of Balanced Bites on her podcast. Diane’s site is one of my favorite resources for practical advice about implementing a Paleo lifestyle, and her podcast (with Liz Wolfe of CaveGirl Eats) is a must-listen. Liz wasn’t able to join us today, but I had a fun time answering reader questions and shootin’ the breeze with Diane. For almost 90 minutes, we talked about how and what my kids eat, my new iPad app, meal planning (or lack thereof), and much, much more. Balanced Bites was one of the sites that inspired me to launch Nom Nom Paleo back in the day, so it was an honor to be invited to crash the party.

Wanna listen in on the podcast? Then head over to Balanced Bites to check it out!

And by the way, if you haven’t yet pre-ordered Diane’s upcoming book, Practical Paleo, do it already! I got a sneak peek a while back, and judging from what I saw, this beautiful tome’s gonna knock your socks off.

Slow Cooker Roast Chicken And Gravy

Pin It

In the past, I’ve always had crappy results when I’ve tried to cook a whole chicken in the slow cooker. The bird would always be overcooked, stringy, mushy, and dry. Super icky. Last night, I cooked a whole chicken in my slow cooker and it was AMAZING! I‘ll never prepare a whole chicken any other way again. Yes, that was a hyperbolic statement but I’m sticking with it.

The method I followed was a mash-up between Sarah Fragoso’s Spice Rub Crock Pot Chicken and the chicken in a pot recipe from Slow Cooker Revolution.  I heart both, so how could I fail? 

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 pound organic kosher chicken (I prefer the taste of the salt-washed bird)
  • 2 tablespoons of ghee
  • 2 onions, chopped medium (or 2 cups of your favorite alliums)
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste (you can use up to a tablespoon to add more umami)
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • ¼ cup white wine (replace with 1/4 cup extra chicken stock if on Whole30)
  • Sunny Paris seasoning (or your favorite seasoning)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Here’s what you do:

Gather and chop up your veggies…

image

…and melt the ghee in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onions and garlic (I threw in some scallions, too)…

image

…and add the tomato paste.

image

The aromatics should be softened and lightly browned after 8-10 minutes. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste.

image

Then, deglaze the pan with the wine and/or chicken stock, and transfer everything to your slow cooker. Dry off the bird and season it well — inside and out — with salt, pepper, and your favorite poultry seasoning. (I like Sunny Paris seasoning from Penzeys Spices.)

image

Place the chicken breast side down in the slow cooker, put on the cover, and set it to cook on low for 4-6 hours.

image

This bird was close to 4 pounds, so I aimed for about 4.5 hours of simmering.

When the chicken’s finished cooking…

image

…take it out of the slow cooker and let it rest for 20 minutes.

image

De-fat the braising sauce…

image

…check for seasoning, and blend it with an immersion blender

image

… to make a delicious gravy.

image

This gravy is kickass!

Rip up the chicken up with your hands like a true cavegirl or caveguy…

image

…and serve it with the gravy.

image

My favorite thing about this recipe is the breast stays moist! Love it! Don’t ever cook chicken longer than 6 hours on low!

And DON’T FORGET TO SAVE THE GRAVY! It’s pretty much incredible on everything.