Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chicken Tikka Masala - Primal Version Baby!

As of late, us NorCo CrossFit girls have had an obsession with Taj Mahal - the best Indian food this side of, well, India.  One of our favorite dishes is the Chicken Tikka Masala.  I decided to have a go at it Paleo-style, as I always suffer a terrible food-hangover after we dine at our favorite little location.  It turned out fantabulous.  And while there is a long list of ingredients, it is actually very easy to make.  So...TRY IT!

Chicken Tikka Masala


Masala Marinade:
1 cup coconut milk (from the can - use Thai Kitchen brand WITH the fat)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP fresh ginger, grated (I was out of ginger root, so subbed 1 tsp ground ginger spice)
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground tumeric
Sea Salt and Pepper

2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (can use breasts too, but thighs are cheaper)
Sea salt and pepper
3 TBSP olive oil
1/4 cup blanched almonds, whole
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 1/2 TBSP garam masala
1 1/2 tsp chile powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 - 35 oz can peeled tomatoes, finely chopped, juices reserved
1 cup coconut milk (from can)


Combine marinade ingredients in large tupperware container.  Make a few shallow slashes in each piece of chicken, add to marinade, turn to coat, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to broil and position rack about 8 inches from heat.  Remove chicken from marinade and scrape off as much marinade as possible.  Season chicken with sea salt and pepper. Line baking sheet with foil and spread chicken pieces on baking sheet.  Broil chicken, turning once or twice, until just cooked through and browned in spots...about 12 minutes.  Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 2 inch pieces.

Heat 1 tsp olive oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add almonds and stir constantly until golden...about 5 minutes.  Transfer almonds to plate and allow to cool completely.  Once cooled, place in food processor and pulse until finely ground.

In large casserole dish (preferably cast iron), heat remaining olive oil.  Add onion, garlic, and ginger and saute until tender and golden...about 8 minutes.  Add the garam masala, chile powder, and cayenne and cook for an additional minute.  Add tomatoes and juices, salt and pepper.  Cover partially and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened...about 20 minutes.  Add coconut milk and ground almonds and cook over low heat for about 10 additional minutes.  Stir in chicken, simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Serve with Curry "Rice"

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Vanilla Custard

This turned out fairly well. I'm sure it could be tweaked to be better, but I honestly have no idea how to tweak it.  It was a shot in the dark to begin with!  If you like custard, it is a good, non-dairy custard.

Vanilla Custard


1 can coconut milk (Thai Kitchen brand is best)
2 eggs
1 TBSP raw honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp arrowroot powder
Cinnamon (to taste)


Preheat oven to 350 F.

Combine all ingredients in food processor or large bowl with electric mixer.

Pour into ramekins or oven-safe dishes. Mine split well between four 1 cup ramekins.

Bake for 35 minutes.

Remove from oven, sprinkle with cinnamon, and place in refrigerator.  Cool before eating.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

They Call It...GUMBO!

in the spirit of mardi gras, i decided to make a paleo gumbo.  it turned out phenomenal.  served over cauliflower rice, you would never know it's a paleo dish! 

2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic
2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 pound okra, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 pound chicken thighs
1 pound andouille sausage links
2 cups water
6 cups chicken broth
2 pounds fresh shrimp, peeled and
1 sprig fresh thyme
3 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (e.g.
1/2 teaspoon file powder (optional)
1.Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, bell pepper, celery and okra; cook and stir until golden brown. Remove from the skillet, and set aside.
2.Brown the sausage in the skillet over medium heat. Remove from the pan to drain on paper towels. Drain the sausage fat from the skillet, and pour in the vegetable oil to heat. Place the chicken in the skillet, and cook for about 20 minutes, turning frequently. Remove chicken from the pan, and place on paper towels to drain, leaving the oil in the pan.
3.Reduce the heat to low, and stir in the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until the roux reaches a deep brown color. This should take about 30 minutes.

Roux when ready.  Starts as an off-white mixture.

4.Stir 2 cups of water into the roux, and add the onion, garlic and peppers. Set the heat to medium, and bring to a boil. Stir in the chicken broth, and simmer over low heat. Cut the chicken into cubes, and add to the broth along with the sausage. Simmer for about 1 hour.
5.Meanwhile, prepare cauliflower rice. Click here for recipe. I chose not to add the curry powder for this recipe.
6.Add the shrimp to the gumbo, and season with thyme, parsley, salt, cayenne pepper, and hot pepper sauce. Cook for another 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in the file powder.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Swimming Rama

I love Thai food and Swimming Rama is one of my favorite dishes. I looked up a couple of different recipes and found this to be an easy conversion to Paleo.  I have now made it twice: once with spinach (as the traditional Thai dish calls for) and once with cabbage in place of the spinach - was great both ways.

Swimming Rama


1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 tsp sesame oil (olive oil is fine if you don't have sesame oil)
1 can (14 oz) coconut milk (I prefer Thai Kitchen brand)
2 TBSP SunButter Organic (all other SunButter variations have sugar added)
3-4 tsp red curry paste
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 TBSP fish sauce
1/2 cup chopped almonds, raw, unsalted
1 1/2 pounds spinach leaves, chopped (or 1 head of green cabbage)


Wash and drain fresh spinach or defrost frozen spinach and drain well.

Slice chicken in 1/4 inch wide by 2" long strips.

Stir fry the chicken in oil over medium heat to quickly to seal in the juices. Just until no longer pink. Remove the chicken and set aside.

Add the red curry paste and garlic to the thick part of the coconut milk in hot wok or pan. Fry until fragrant and the oil begins to separate. Add the almonds, on medium heat, stirring frequently uncovered for 8 - 10 minutes. Add the spinach, and then the chicken. Stir and heat for another few minutes.

*If using cabbage, I recommend pre-cooking the cabbage until slightly soft before adding to the sauce.