Thai food is my second favorite cuisine (next to Indian, for obvious reasons). The dishes have complex layers of flavors that are packed with heat, saltiness, tanginess and subtle sweetness.
Luckily, not all of this complexity needs to be made from scratch. A lot of the ingredients used in a traditional green curry paste are rare and hard to find. This is why I will be sharing ready made, all natural sauces and pastes that you can “cheat” with.
- Heat up some coconut cream (about 1/4 th cup). The coconut cream naturally floats to the top of the can if you don’t shake it
- Blend the chilies, garlic and ginger into a fine paste
- Once the milk starts to boil, add in the green curry paste and the chili paste from step #2
Once it cooks in, the oil starts floating to the top. At this point, add in the chicken
Cook until opaque. Then add in the rest of the coconut milk
Boil for a bit, now add in the soy sauce and the sweet basil chili paste. The soy sauce makes a great substitute for the salt, so you don’t need to add any additionally
Add in the quartered thai eggplants
Cook for a few mins, and add in the fish sauce. This is up to your taste, but it gives the curry such a great flavor so I tend to go overboard with it. I use up to 4 or 5 tbsp, but you can use less if you prefer
Serve with thai basil leaves as a finishing touch. This is rather hard to find, especially when it’s out of season. I used cilantro as a substitute and sprinkled some lime juice for additional flavor!
Pro Tip: When you cook the jasmine rice, throw in about 2 tbsp of butter and a sprinkle of salt. I promise it makes all the difference 🙂
Leave comments and share please…
Pasta can be flavorful… and healthy
This spicy, garlic pesto shrimp pasta is packed with mouth-watering flavors. Its still creamy from the pesto yet light without all the heavy cream that is typical of pasta dishes. The charred broccoli in the dish brings a great crunch to complement the shrimp. This dish is truly the best of both worlds… flavor and health.
I used an orecchiette pasta from Italy for this dish, but feel free to incorporate your favorite type of pasta. I have tried this recipe in the past with angel hair pasta and spaghetti.
- Garlic (A TON, around 10 cloves)
- Parsley (a handful)
- Shrimp (1 lb)
- 1/4 th cup pesto ( used this pre-made italian version which can be found here )
- dash of black pepper
- 1 jalapeno
- dash of dried basil
- dash of dried oregano
- dash of red pepper flakes
- Broccolli florets ( I used broccolli, but this would also go great with mushrooms, asparagus, or zucchini)
- 1 lime
- Parmesan grated (for topping)
- Pasta ( of your choice, I used orecchiette )
- Grind the garlic, parsley and jalapeno into a paste
2. Heat olive oil in low heat, and add the parsley pesto blend (from step #1) into the pan
Add in the shrimp to this mix
Cook on low heat for a few mins. Add the lime, salt, and black pepper at this point. You want to heavily coat the shrimp with the black pepper.
After cooking for 5-7 mins, add the broccoli florets, pesto, and all other spices. Stir in and cover for 5-10 mins.
Once the flavors are cooked into the shrimp and the veggies, it will form a gravy. At this point you can add in the pasta.and stir. You can avoid overcooking the shrimp by turning off the heat before the shrimp start to form into circular rings.
Top with a heaping spoonful of Parmesan, and serve! Voila!
1 Green smoothie a day (probably) keeps the doctor away!
Okay, fine, maybe not… but it sure keeps the caffeine intake at bay. Green smoothies every morning give me the energy to cut down on coffee. Smoothies are not only easy to make, but you can put your Ninja or Vitamix to great use by making this healthy recipe!
Personally, I was never a smoothie junkie until I started working at Whole Foods. A lot of my smoothies/juices were inspired from the juice bar we had in the store. Unfortunately, a smoothie a day can really add up when you’re purchasing from the juice bar; so, I invested in the Vitamix (which I ABSOLUTELY adore, Vitamix recipes to come…). This was one of the best decisions I made this year. Not only do you have the convenience of making top-notch smoothies/juices at home at a fraction of the cost, BUT, since you’re blending vs. cold-pressing, the smoothie ends up being more nutrient dense than a cold pressed juice.
This smoothie was inspired by my lovely friend who loves incorporating greens with a variety of fruits and soymilk in her smoothies. This ends up being a healthy green smoothie that is also flavorful and creamy.
Ingredients (for 4 servings):
- Kiwi (2)
- Bananas (1)
- Spinach (2 handfuls)
- ginger ( 1 inch)
- parsley (small handful)
- Silk Soymilk ( 2 cups)
- Using your Ninja or Vitamix, add all of the above ingredients
- Optional: Add a scoop of protein powder to make this a complete meal
As always, would love your feedback if you tried a recipe and loved it. Otherwise, share how you made the recipe yours 🙂
There’s nothing more delicious and satisfying than a spicy red chilli chicken gravy. There are so many different varieties within chilli chicken. There is the Chinese chilli chicken which is more savory from the soy sauce/oyster sauce and there’s the Indian Chilli Chicken that focuses predominantly on spice and heat. Then, there’s variations with both; you can make chilli chicken gravy or you can make it dry. You can also make chilli chicken deep fried or make your chilli chicken recipe with no frying at all. How you personalize is based on your preference.
My personal recipe preference is based on how easy it is to make, and how healthy I can make it. This cuts the deep frying out of the equation, WITHOUT compromising taste. Since I can’t choose between Indian Chilli Chicken or Chinese Chilli Chicken, my blend is the IndoChinese chilli chicken and it truly offers the best of both worlds.
- chicken ( I prefer dark meat like chicken thighs for this) 2-3 lbs
- Ginger Garlic paste ( you will need 3-4 spoons)
- Chilli Chicken masala (Highly recommend this brand, has all natural ingredients without the food coloring and high sodium)
- vegetable oil around 1/3 rd cup
- red chili powder (5 tbsp)
- red bell pepper (1 chopped in 1 inch pieces)
- thai green chilies (handful)
- vinegar (1 tbsp)
- yogurt (2 cups)
- cilantro (handful)
- soy sauce (1 -2 tbsp)
- oyster sauce (1 tbsp)
- Limes (1)
- 1 onion
- 1 small tomato finely chopped
- Marinate the chicken with red chilli powder, yogurt, vinegar, chili chicken masala, and ginger garlic paste.
2. Heat the oil in a pan and add the marinated chicken
3. Add in the onions and bell pepper
4. Add in the soy sauce and oyster sauce
5. Add in the chopped tomato
6. At this point the chicken is going to be sauteing with the vegetables, scrape the bottom consistently to avoid sticking
7. Cook for about 25 mins
8. Garnish with lime and cilantro
9. Serve with naan and some fresh onions marinated with salt and lime
Chunky and flavorful guacamole made with all-natural and fresh ingredients
Guacamole is one of my favorite snacks in the world. It’s healthy – full of great fats and tons of health benefits. It’s versatile – snack on it with some chips or use it as a topping for nearly any dish (eggs, toast, sandwich, burger, etc), and it is DELICIOUS as a party appetizer. There has never been a time I served it and didn’t get asked for the recipe.
For the record, I never shared the recipe… until now…
That said, for this top-secret recipe, you will need :
- 1 large avocado
- 1/2 small, red onion
- 1/2 lime
- 1/2 tomato de-seeded
- 4 Thai chilies or 1-2 jalapenos (depending on how spicy you like it!)
- cilantro (handful)
- sea salt (key words: SEA salt)
- 1 garlic clove
- Chop the garlic and chilies in really fine pieces, The finer the better. Most recipes would tell you to de-seed your peppers, but not I. That’s where the kick comes in
- Chop your onion, in fine cubes. Wear your goggles if you need to
- Chop the tomato. Its important to remove the seeds so the guac isn’t too runny
- Add the avocado. Here’s a cool trick on how to cut it like a pro
- Add the sea salt. I normally add around 1 tbsp, but taste test it as always
- Add in the lime juice and chopped cilantro last
- Stir! If you have a mortar & pestle, that’s even better
I first became obsessed with Chicken Biryani when I first visited Hyderabad in the summer of 2014.
The spices, the aroma, the flavors… were incomparable to anything I expected or tasted in the US. I vividly remember my first thoughts being – if I were to be trapped on a deserted island for the rest of my life, I might be okay if I had an endless supply of this delicious biryani.
After that out of the world experience, I did everything in my power to recreate the taste at home. After visiting endless biryani restaurants including: Paradise Biryani, Biryani Pot, Asiana’s, etc, and after countless trial and errors with various recipes; I believe I have mastered the art of biryani.
Now, to the recipe…
- 2 Onions
- 10-20 Chillies (thai chillies work best)
- Shan – Ginger Garlic Paste – 26 oz (use about 1/4th of bottle)
- 1-2 Tomatoes
- Basmati Rice (Long grain) (4 cups)
- Chicken (I prefer dark meat, bone-in) (3 lbs)
- Shan, Mix Seasoning Biryani Masala, 1.75-Ounce (Pack of 4) (Use 1/2 of 1 box)
- cloves (5)
- cardomom (3-4)
- bay leaf (1-2)
- anise (1-2)
- black cardomom (3)
- mase (1 tbsp)
- red chilli powder (4-5 tbsp)
- garam masala (4-5 tbsp)
- saffron (7-8 strands)
- shah jeera (1 tbsp)
- cumin seeds (1tbsp)
- cinnamon sticks (3)
* You will also need a large tray for baking the biryani
- Marinate chicken overnight with yogurt, salt, lemon, and red chilli powder
- Slice onions thin and length-wise. Fry in oil until brown and crispy. Remove and set aside by soaking in paper towels
- Use the remainder oil to add the following spices: (cloves, cardomom, bay leaf, anise, black cardomom, mase, shah jeera, cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks)
- Once fragrant, add in the tomatoes, chillies and girnger/garlic paste
- Now, add in the garam masala
- After stirring a few mins, add in the marinated chicken
- Now, add in the Shan Biryani Masala
- Stir and cover with a lid over medium-low heat. This will need to cook for an hr or so. The longer it cooks, the more tender the meat will be
- Soak the basmati rice in cool water after flushing about 3-4 times
- Boil around 6 cups of water for the 4 cups of rice, Add in the rice. Heat uncovered until the first boil appears within the first 10-15 mins.
- Use the tray and line the first layer with gravy and chicken from earlier. Now add a layer on top with the semi- cooked rice. Top with garnish of mint and the fried onion from earlier
- Continue with step 11 until the tray is full
- Soak the saffron layers in warm milk for a couple mins. Garnish this dilution over the top of the biryani
- Cover the tray with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 mins.
I know what you’re thinking. This is a lot of work. BUT trust me when I say it is WORTH IT!!!
Andddd, it will last you atleast a week (assuming you can stop inhaling this delicious goodness :P)