Chicken Tenders, Chicken Fingers, Chicken Strips, Chicken McNuggets. Normally we think of these things as breaded, deep-fried (and possibly mechanically-separated, chemical-filled) parcels of junk food.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Using almond meal and some other seasonings, you can create your own, healthy almond-crusted chicken tenders.
1 cup almond flour
Sea Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
Other seasonings of choice (I throw in about a heaped teaspoon each of onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and oregano. Feel free to add cayenne, parsley, cajun spice blend or anything you like.)
2 large chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, cut in tender-size strips
1) Pour a cup of almond flour into a zip lock bag (or a dish with high sides that can be shaken around a bit)
2) Add salt, pepper and other seasonings until it smells good to you – we use A LOT.
3) Dip all white meat chicken tender strips into a beaten egg, then lightly coat in flour/seasoning mixture.
4) Broil (or outside of the US, use the “grill” setting on your oven) on high for 10 minutes, then flip and broil for another 5-8 minutes.
5) They are ready when the coating starts to turn brown on both sides. Serve with mustard or Slow Carb and Paleo friendly condiments.
Check out our post to learn to make your own Slow Carb and Paleo friendly mayo and ketchup.
Pro Tip:Just about any type of meat you’d normally coat with breadcrumbs can be done with almond meal or any other nut meal. Let your imagination run wild. Fish fillets, pork chops, even an Italian classic chicken parma. Check out our recipe for Walnut Crusted Pork Chops if you’re looking for inspiration.
The weekend’s almost here, which means it’s the perfect time to fool-proof your ability to stick to the plan next week. There’s one way that’s almost guaranteed to help get you results every time:
The Boy Scout motto notwithstanding, being prepared is easily the best way to keep yourself from slipping up. Think about the last few times you’ve had difficulty. I’d bet that most of them were due to needing to make game-time decisions or not thinking about your plan well enough ahead of time.
The easiest way to prepare for the week ahead is to get as much of the work as possible done ahead. Let’s look at several different ways you can work ahead.
Here are my three Ps:
Plan your attack
The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but a few beforehand.
– Sun Tzu, The Art Of War
Don’t think that you will always be successful by winging it. Maybe sometimes you will, but most of the time you won’t.
The best tip I can ever give anyone who is trying to follow a new diet is to plan your meals in advance. When I have the best success, I know what I’m going to eat all week. It takes the thinking out of things, and the less I have to think about eating right, the more likely I am to do it.
So the first thing I want you to do is to make a menu for yourself for the coming week. Plan in snacks if you want to, but make sure you know exactly what you’ll eat.
Pro tip: this will also save money because you can always make extra at night and have the leftovers for lunch.
When the circulars for the grocery stores in your area come around this weekend, get them all and figure out where the best place to get things is. Then use your menu to make a list and separate it by store. Now you not only know what you’ll eat, you also know where you’ll get it from and roughly what your budget will be.
Procure the goods
The next tip I have for you is to buy in bulk. Most sales are usually better in bulk anyway (the big honkin’ tray of meat is usually cheaper per-pound than the one- or two-serving sized one).
If you’ve got one nearby, a bulk store like Costco or Sam’s Club will be your friend. My wife and I shop once a month and get enough almost for the whole month, with the exception of the fresh veggies (I like to get those
once a week). We save a lot of money that way.
Buying beans and lentils dry is far cheaper than buying canned too and are not hard to make. I’ve got a couple recipes linked for you towards the end.
You may be saying to me now, “I can’t possibly eat fast enough for it not to spoil.” That’s OK. There are ways to handle consumption in bulk. Use reheatable containers and freeze what you know you won’t get to for a few days. They’ll feel just like frozen dinners, only you wont be eating crap.
Prepare the bounty
Once you’ve got your food at home, it’s time to fix it up so you don’t spend hours each day cooking. There are many different small things you can do to make meal prep a lot easier on you.
Chop up things like onions, garlic, peppers, and other veggies you know you’ll use a lot. Use tupperware containers to store them in. Then when it’s time to use them, just toss a bunch in your pan.
Separate your meat right away. Cut larger chicken breasts in half. Slice a large hunk of beef into steaks or pork roast into chops. Store them in separate containers so you only have to thaw one serving at at time.
When you prepare ahead of time, you make it almost silly not to follow your plan. There are left no excuses because your food is already there. You just have to eat it.
Recipes that work well in bulk
One of the best ways to prepare ahead of time is to actually cook in bulk. If you find a really nice roast on sale, cook it all at once in a slow-cooker, and you’ll be all set to portion it out for the week.
When you take some time to think about what you’re going to do and then take some action ahead of time, you’ll go a really long way towards having a foolproof lifestyle change. Then, once you’re used to your new diet, it’ll become a habit and you’ll be living a healthier lifestyle before you realize it.
Let’s hear from you: what’s your favorite way to foolproof your fitness?
How does your kitchen match up to the needs of a slow-carb diet?
Here at The Slow Carb Foodie, we’re committed to helping you become the best slow-carb chef you can be. Part of becoming that chef is working with the right tools. Today I’m continuing my series on building the perfect kitchen by talking about the different tools you’ll need.
You might have a lot of them, but I bet there are a couple pieces you don’t have. The idea is not to have a ton of gadgets (MED principles still apply in your kitchen) but to have a collection of the best things for your purposes.
This short list of tools will allow you to make a good 90% of everything you’ll see on this site or find in any cookbook.
We need to start our day off right, and to do that you need a french press. You may already have a fine coffee maker, but I’m telling you you’ll never get a cup of coffee as delicious as one made in a press. Not even a Keurig makes coffee like my french press can, and I use both regularly.
They’re inexpensive and you’ll thank me for it later.
Bonus: I’ll cover a “that’ll do” gadget later, but I’d also recommend a coffee grinder (burr preferably). They can double as a spice grinder, and frankly there’s nothing like the taste of freshly ground beans steeped for 3 minutes in hot water to get a guy or gal going in the morning.
This tool will prepare more of your slow-carb meals than you realized. The best thing about the slow cooker is that you can prepare ahead of time, cook while you’re not home, and almost effortlessly have dinner, lunch, and second dinner ready when you get home from work.
Cast iron skillet(s)
They just don’t make things like they used to.
Teflon is OK for a little while. I have a Pampered Chef saute pan that held together for a while and was easily my favorite pan. But even it is starting to become useless.
The best pan you’ll ever use – ever – is the cast iron skillet your grandmother had. It’s so seasoned, nothing will stick to it and it cooks the best food ever. They heat wonderfully evenly, and a good seasoned pan will last literally forever. If your grandmother hasn’t given you one, start one for your grandkids.
Great set of knives
Faberware just doesn’t cut it anymore. I promise I didn’t intend for that pun to be there, but I’m leaving it!
Get yourselves a nice set of knives that cut well. My favorite knives are Wusthof. They don’t need to be $400 Japanese ginsu knives, but they should cost more than $20.
With all this preparing ahead and bulk operations you’ll be doing to save yourself time, money, and energy, you’ll need somewhere to put all that extra food. Invest in a good food storage container set and you’ll have everything you need.
Money-saving tip: You can often buy lunchmeat in tupperware containers and it’s not more expensive than the kind in plastic bags. Also, cheat-night Chinese takeout runs could net you some pretty handy leftover containers.
Skip the metal bowls and baking pans and just go glass. It’s easier to clean, won’t rust, and has no teflon that can flake off.
From chopping vegetables and nuts to blending up your favorite salsa or even making your own mayonnaise, a food processor will be one of the kitchen tools you go to over and over and over. I thought about adding “blender” to the list, but I’m trying to keep it light and tight, and a food processor will do most of what a blender would anyway.
Your best bet would be a food processor with multiple blades, but even a simple one will be extremely useful. I use mine easily every other day.
Extra: This is the “this’ll do” item I mentioned when I talked about the coffee grinder. If you’re in a pinch, a food processor will do that job as well.
You simply don’t need any more than that. If you were expecting a bunch of expensive, state-of-the-art gadgets, I’m sorry to disappoint. All of the little stuff you’ll already have, like spatulas, can openers, and measuring cups. I wanted to give you a short and tight list of extremely useful things you can add to your kitchen to make it that much easier to maintain focus on your health.
Let’s here from you: Which most useful kitchen gadget do you have that you just couldn’t live without? What do you have that’s not on this list?
Soft boiled is pretty much what it sounds like: not quite a hard boiled egg. But just because you cook it less doesn’t mean it’s easier. It’s actually a bit harder, but once you discover the secret it’ll feel easy.
You’ll want the white to be firm and the yolk to be slightly runny (hence soft).
Here’s how you soft-boil an egg:
Bring your water to a boil, and then kick it back to a simmer.
Gently lower your eggs in (so you don’t splash boiling water on yourself) and let them simmer for 5 minutes. If you find 5 isn’t long enough for your tastes, you can leave them in a little longer.
Cool the eggs off under cold running water.
When you eat your egg, cut the top 1/3 or so of your shell and eat the egg out of its shell with a spoon.
I wouldn’t make a soft-boiled egg and store it like I would hard-boiled. Make them when you plan on eating them.
Poaching an egg basically means boiling it outside of the shell. My first attempt was a disaster, but like many things, it gets easier with practice.
Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Once it’s boiling, reduce it to a simmer. You don’t want super-active water, but it does need to be very hot.
Crack an egg into a ladle. Using a ladle or big spoon really helps to make sure your egg doesn’t separate in the water.
Gently dip the ladle into the water to submerge the egg and slide it off.
Let your egg cook for about 3 minutes and gently scoop it out to enjoy with your breakfast!
Here’s an Eggs Benedict recipe on Finding My Fitness with your name on it to try out your poaching skills.
Remember: poaching eggs is LEGAL!
The first time I had a steamed egg was in a Korean restaurant. It was so tasty, I decided to include it in this little guide.
It’s super simple:
In a heat-safe bowl, like porcelain or glass, whisk your egg and a splash of water so it’s fluffy. You can add (any spices you like) here as well.
Add a couple inches of water in a pot (not so much that water gets in your bowl) and place the bowl in it. Cover the pot and let it simmer over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes.
Quicker but less fancy alternative: cover the bowl with a plate and cook for 3-4 minutes.
I like to add some scallion and garlic to my steamed egg!
If you’ve got a smaller baking dish (like ramekin cups), this is a great method to try out. I’m not talking about a quiche, although they do also make delicious slow-carb meals.
To bake eggs,
Heat your oven to 325ºF degrees (160ºC).
Crack your eggs into your baking cups and sprinkle with some freshly ground salt and pepper.
Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the yolk is as hard (or soft) as you would like it to be.
Everyone knows how to fry an egg, but everyone does it differently. What most people do is probably “over easy”, but it’s always fun to try out a few different things. Here are three ways to change up your fried egg.
Sunny-side up is possibly the easiest of the bunch. If you like your yolk pretty runny and have trouble flipping the egg without breaking the yolk, this might be your go-to style.
Heat up your pan on a medium-low heat. You can add a dash of oil or ghee for lube, but if you’ve got a good pan you won’t need it.
Once your pan is hot, crack and drop in your egg being careful not to break the yolk.
Let it cook for 3-4 minutes or until the whites have completely cooked through.
If you want a slightly harder yolk, cover the pan about half way through cooking.
Basted eggs are very similar to sunny-side up. The difference is that when your whites are almost done, you’ll spoon some of the hot oil or butter over your egg to cook the top a bit.
Over easy/Over hard
This is how I normally cook my fried eggs because I generally like a solid yolk.
Both of these are eggs you flip (as denoted by the word “over”), and the easy or hard bit refers to the yolk.
To go over easy:
Start your egg just like you would for sunny-side up.
When your whites are all but done, gently slide a spatula under the egg and flip it, being careful not to break the yolk.
After a couple minutes, nudge the yolk with your spatula to gauge its doneness. If it’s too jelly-like for you, let it cook a bit longer.
Over easy means the yolk isn’t solid completely. If you want your egg over hard, wait a few more minutes until it cooks through.
Don’t forget to crack some salt and pepper over your eggs while they’re still a bit wet!
A few more egg recipes to get you started
Beyond these techniques, there are many recipes that maybe blend a few kinds. For example, a fritata is essentially a fried scramble that is baked at the end. Quiche is similar to a fritata but usually has more cheese and cream involved.
Here are some of our favorite recipes revolving around eggs:
With these skills, you’ll be able to cook any egg to perfection.
Pro Tip: the absolute best eggs you can get will come from chickens who roam around the yard, preferably your yard, eating bugs and grass. The omega-3 content will be much higher, and the omega-6 count will be much lower.
But we can’t expect that to be in everyone’s grasp, so the next best kind will be the ones you find at Whole Foods and places like that that call their eggs come from cage-free chickens with a grassy, organic diet.
The ones I usually end up with, though, are omega-3 enhanced eggs. Eggland’s Best makes some, and you can get them at Sam’s club for relatively cheap. In my opinion, eggs are the easiest and most economical way to work to balance out your omega-3/6 ratio.
Do you have any egg prep secrets you can share with the group? If so, leave some in the comments!
You’re tired of the same old thing, right? Yeah, I know Tim Ferriss told us we should eat the same things over and over, but we don’t have to listen.
Here’s the thing, though: you don’t have to be a fancy chef to take something ordinary and make it exquisite. All you need are the right tools.
Over the next several weeks, I’ll be showing you how to prepare the same foods different ways. There are recipes for eggs, chicken, veggies, beef, and more just waiting for their time to come. But before we get to those, we need to get your kitchen ready.
The star of any “4 hour kitchen”, in my opinion, is going to be your spice rack. Here’s the down low on the ones I think you need immediately.
If you only have one tool in your kitchen for seasoning, it should be a spice grinder.
If you’ve never had freshly ground pepper, you haven’t tasted pepper. Get a grinder like this for salt and pepper. For other spices, a mortar and pestle can work really well, or you can get a blade grinder. A small coffee grinder works very well.
Some of the will work fine already in powder form though, so no need to get ridiculous. The really aromatic ones (cinnamon, cloves, etc) are just best freshly ground.
I add Veggie Salt to soups, stews or lentils to add depth of flavor when I don’t have any stock or broth on hand. I believe there are some equivalent products in the US.
Any will do, just pop them in a grinder. Fresh pepper has so much more flavor than pre-ground.
All Purpose Spice Blend
When I don’t have time to think about seasoning, there’s nothing easier than coating some chicken or meat in a pre-blended everyday seasoning and serving it up with some veggies – not the most gourmet meal, but it serves its purpose (quick and easy!) and still tastes great. Lowrey’s makes a fantastic seasoned salt.
Italian Herb Blend
Pre-blended Italian herbs are great for seasoning chicken, soups, stews, Bolognese sauce, etc. I buy this blend from Penzey’s because their spices are very high quality, but any blend will do so long as it doesn’t have any added fillers.
Dried Chili Flakes
Sprinkle chili on just about anything to add a bit of kick. I usually buy in bulk and put the chili into a grinder with some sea salt to make a chili salt blend and because I like my dried chili a bit finer than the whole flakes. You can also make your own custom blends with peppercorns and other spices by putting them directly into a grinder or shaker. You can get something fancy and make it a staple on your table or just re-use spice grinders that you’ve emptied and washed out.
It almost seems like cheating, but that’s OK. We’re all about hacking our lifestyle to make it easier anyway, aren’t we? I use garlic salt on meats, eggs, veggies, and in various rubs. It’s pretty versatile and delicious.
Sure, you can put it in your coffee, but have you ever tried it on chicken? I dare you. Toss it into some coconut milk with a curry powder or boil it with your lentils and some salt. Really subtle, but enough to tingle the taste buds!
Cloves are really nice in tea, especially with a bit of orange rind in it. Did you know it works extremely well with pork?
Eggs, chicken, beef, use it anywhere. Is there any other spice that is like cumin? It goes amazing with most meats and is particularly spectacular in hamburgers. I also like to put it in my lentils or beans while they cook.
Using curry is one of the simplest ways to really kick up any dish. I’ll show you a bunch of them later on. I use both yellow and red varieties. My favorite use for curry is in a chicken dish that I’ll eat over a bed of shredded cauliflower, or “fake rice”.
By adding any of these spices to the ordinary meals you’re already eating, you’ll be following the principle of keeping it simple, while at the same time creating something pretty different.
We’d love to hear from you! What is your favorite way to spice up your slow-carb meals? Share with us in the comments!
Happy New Year SlowCarb-ers! I hope you everyone had a happy and healthy holiday season. I accomplished “happy” but “healthy” was not so successful. I spent the week in Queensland, Australia camping with friends at the Woodford Folk Festival, one of Australia’s most popular music festivals (don’t be too jealous all of you in the Northern Hemisphere, but it’s summer here!)
I had a great time enjoying the sunshine, great music and comedy acts, but after day one, I sort of gave up my healthy eating (and drinking!) I gained 4 lbs in a week, which isn’t all that bad considering when I was doing the Slow Carb cheat days, I would occasionally gain 4lbs in a day.
At the end of it all, I felt like crap.
I was bloated, lethargic and may have given myself acid reflux for the first time in my life. Yuck!
I’d say it was a bummer, but it was actually a nice reminder of why I invest so much time and energy cooking and eating healthily most of time – not just to look better but to feel better.
So, I’m starting the new year off a bit different. Last year, I began the year following Tim Ferris’ Slow Carb Diet, made popular in the best-selling “The 4-Hour Body” and over the year my eating gradually evolved to be a bit Paleo as I discovered I felt a lot better and was able to break through what seemed like an impossible weight-loss plateau by eliminating legumes altogether.
Over the course of the year, I lost 17lbs. (my initial goal was 20lbs). Over the holidays, I gained about 7 lbs, which brought my net weight loss to 10lbs for the year. This was all related to diet as I wasn’t engaging in any exercise and had a fairly sedentary “desk”lifestyle.
I initially felt a lot better as I implemented the diet, but toward the end of the year I stopped losing weight despite the fact that I was following the plan that had previously worked for me, and I started feeling a bit sluggish.
I decided that 2012 is going to be the year that I get healthy.
Here are some of the health goals I’ve set for myself:
-Goal Weight 125 lbs
-Start doing yoga and do it AT LEAST 1x per week
-Resume kettlebell swings AT LEAST 2x per week
-Resume running AT LEAST 2x per week
-More green veggies – transition diet to at least 50% veggies each day
-More raw foods and salads
I’ve decided to tackle food goals first and then the exercise goals, rather than trying to make a lot of changes all at once. In order to kick off the year with LOTS of veggies and raw food, I’ll be following Kimberly Snyder’s “Beauty Detox Solution”. I’ll share more about that later – but in sum it’s 80% plant based diet, mostly raw. It’s supposed to work like a natural detox for people who have eaten a lot of acidic foods (meat , alcohol, grain, dairy are all acidic, by the way!) After my week of partying, this feels like a nice change, and I hope to see some good results.
The author doesn’t require you to become vegetarian but suggests it or at least cutting down on meat and only pairing it with certain foods that aid and won’t hinder in the digestion of meat. I’ve decided to jump in wholeheartedly going 100% vegetarian.
I think my body may very well go into shock! I am a bit of a protein addict. I’d even estimate 50%+ of my diet previously came from meat and eggs, so this is a pretty radical leap for me.
In preparation, I decided to re-read “The Meatless Machine I: Reasons to Try a Plant-Based Diet for Two Weeks” chapter in 4HB (pg 520 in the appendix if you’re interested) on being vegetarian.
Something I didn’t pick up on (or probably intentionally chose to ignore) during my first read of this was the following recommendation from Tim:
“I suggest a two-week PPBD (primarily plant-based diet) test after 3-4 months on the Slow-Carb Diet. No matter where you end up afterward, the awareness will lead to better decisions that benefit appearance, performance, and the planet as a whole.”
OK – so if it’s good enough for Tim, then it’s good enough for me.
I plan to follow this through January and then return to Slow Carb-ing per usual. In the aftermath, I’ll share some of my experiences. In the meantime, you can still expect recipe updates along with a few other new features from the SlowCarbFoodie.com. I’ll be announcing everything on the 15th of January along with a free ebook entitiled “10 Slow Carb Shortcuts Even Tim Ferris Doesn’t Know About (Yet)” I’m releasing with fellow 4 Hour Blogger Jason from FindingMyFitness.com.
Stay tuned for the new updates, and if you haven’t already, sign up for the newsletter to make sure you don’t miss out on the ebook.
I hope everyone’s new year is off to a good start!
Happy holidays, Slow Carbers. This will be the last post of 2011 so I thought I’d leave you with a festive recipe so you can enjoy a healthier version of one of my favorite holiday recipes.
You may have noticed a huge slow-down in posting over the last few months. I’ve been quite busy with some other projects and I haven’t been cooking and posting as much.
The Slow Carb Foodie will be back to posting regular recipes in the New Year just in time to give you some new Slow Carb recipe ideas to help you eat healthy in 2012. We will be announcing a regular posting schedule and putting out a few special goodies to help you out on your Slow Carb journey so don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss out.
On to the recipe: Paleo Pumkin Bread
I absolutely adore pumpkin around this time of year. Pumpkin pie, cheesecake, lattes, and most of all I love my mom’s pumpkin bread. I recently made a huge batch of it for some friends over in Australia, Despite the fact that it’s summer here, I figured they should try it.
They were a bit horrified by the sound of it – “Ummmm, we don’t understand why you would put pumpkin in bread? Must be some weird American thing!” This coming from a group of people who put beetroot and fried eggs on their burgers.
Well, they soon found out we put pumpkin in our desserts because… it’s awesome. So awesome, that I kept getting requests for more pumpkin bread, and I finally decided if I was going to keep making it, I should really learn to make a healthier version. My original is like cake – the recipe calls for multiple cups of sugar and flour – SO not Slow Carb Friendly.
So, I found a new recipe from Elana’s Pantry for this Paleo Pumpkin bread and made a few slight modifications. If you haven’t already, check out her site. She has some really great, healthy recipes. Not all are suitable for Slow Carb, but many of the more recent ones are.
This pumpkin bread was a lot more savory than the one I normally make, but it turned out extremely moist and delicious and was full of flavor from all the spices. I made a double-batch and put raisins in one of the loaves. It’s not suitable for Slow Carbers on a daily basis but as a bit of a treat, it really shouldn’t wreck all your hard work. And, it’s much better healthier than the original.
1 cup almond flour
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cloves
2 tablespoons honey
¼ teaspoon stevia (I used liquid, but powder would probably work, too)
Use a food processor or electric mixer to combine almond flour, salt, baking soda and spices.
Add pumpkin, honey, stevia and eggs and pulse for 2 minutes
Scoop batter into asmall loaf pan (the bread doesn’t rise much, so it’ll just stay flat in a large pan – you could put a double batch into a large one and then just increase the cooking time 10 minutes or so. )
Bake at 350° for 35 minutes
Cool for 1 hour
If you’re really getting into pumpkin this season, head on over to Finding My Fitness blog, where Jason has posted a great recipe for Pumpkin Paleo Pancakes.
I hope you all enjoyed this recipe and that you and your loved ones have a happy and healthy holiday season. I will see you in the New Year with lots of recipes and other great tips for your diet.
Prepare the chimichurri marinade. Chop all the herbs. Combine the herbs and garlic in a bowl. Alternatively, you could use a food processor if you want a smoother marinade/dressing. Add the oil and a splash of vinegar or lime. Correct the seasoning, adding salt or vinegar, to taste. The chimichurri should be highly seasoned.
Pour a 1/2 of the chimichurri into a baking dish just large enough to hold the meat you want to marinade. Add meat. Cover and store in the fridge for a few hours (at least 30 minutes!) Set the rest of the chimichurri aside.
Heat up a large skillet. Cook meat until thoroughly cooked (3-5 minutes should do.) If cooking steak, you can leave medium rare.
Combine veggies in a large salad bowl. Toss with the chimichurri you set aside. Add meat. Serve and top with sprigs of cilantro.
Today’s Slow Carb recipe is inspired by my recent trip to Indonesia. First I’d like to apologize. I know it’s been ages since I last posted. I’ve been pretty consumed with other projects as well as a few weeks on vacation. I plan to resume posting and make some bigger changes to the format of the site in November.
I’ll also confess, I did not stick to my Slow Carb eating while I was away. I made the decision not to before I left. I was going for a big wedding, and well… it’s vacation.
I’d actually planned to stay gluten free, but a week spent in a little town in Java with only beer (no wine or liquor) at the local stores had me drinking beer again after over a year of no beer.
Oh well. I’m back – off the beer, eating healthy again and inspired with some new flavors.
Now back to the food. I really don’t remember Indonesian food being as good when I visited Bali a few years ago. I remember it being pretty blah compared to other Southeast Asian cuisine. That was before I discovered the range of sambals and all of the different types of regional cuisine you can get in Java.
Feel free to email me if you’d like some tips, especially if you love spicy food!
Now on to today’s recipe. This chicken dish is out of this world. It can be served on its own or with a spicy sambal. I’ve provided recipes for both.
The chicken component of dish is borrowed from Almost Bourdain (who adapted it from Bill Granger’s Bills Sydney Food). I think we share fairly similar taste in food.
It’s probably a bit too much work for a Wednesday night, but if you’re in the mood to entertain, you could do a whole theme meal around it.
*** Alternatively, you could just make a big jar of sambal and throw it on chicken or lentils or anything you want to liven up throughout the week. In Indonesia they just keep jars of this stuff in the kitchen with all different levels of intensity.
Balinese Spicy Fried Chicken
1 cup coconut milk
3 kaffir lime leaves, or zest of 1 lime
2 Asian red shallots, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 x 2 cm (3/4 in) piece galangal (or ginger) root, sliced ( you could also used ginger in a jar in a pinch)
3 green chillies, roughly chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp salt
1 x 1.5 kg (3 lb) chicken, cut into 16 pieces
Oil for frying
1. Place coconut milk, lime leaves (or zest), shallots, garlic, galangal root (or ginger), chillies, turmeric, salt and 2 1/2 cups (20 fl oz) of water in large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add chicken and cook for 20 minutes or until chicken is tender and just cooked. Remove chicken from saucepan and leave to cool on a wire rack.
2. Heat oil to 3 cm (1 1/4 in) in a wok or deep frying pan on high heat. Cook the chicken in batches, being careful not to overcrowd, until golden. Drain on paper towels. Serve with sambal, cucumber slices and coriander sprigs.
4 tablespoons oil of choice
15 shallots, peeled and sliced
10 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
14 large red chilies, seeds removed, sliced
2 medium-sized tomatoes cut in wedges (I used canned)
2 teaspoons roasted dried shrimp paste
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Sea Salt to taste
1. Heat oil in a heavy saucepan or wok. Add shallots and garlic and sauté 5 minutes over low heat. Add chillies and sauté another 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and shrimp paste and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add lime juice.
2. Put all ingredients in a food processor and puree coarsely. Season to taste with salt. Cool before using. You can freeze leftovers or keep in the fridge and use on meat or vegetables throughout the week.
I love Asian food, but going out to eat regularly just isn’t an option when you have no idea what is going into your food and have no control over it.
Sure, some items on the menu are going to be better than others, and they certainly aren’t as bad as downing a loaf of bed, but when you’re trying to be strict with your Slow Carb or Paleo diet, these little sneaky condiments can completely derail all your positive efforts.
Lots of restaurant Asian dishes contain MSG and sugar. Most contain soy sauce and/or oyster sauce, both of which have wheat/gluten in them.
This is an easy mid-week meal I can prep in about 15 minutes when I’m craving Asian food and don’t want to worry about “mystery ingredients”. I love this recipe because it is so simple to switch up the flavor combos with different spices or add whatever veggies you have sitting in the fridge. It also travels well for work-lunch leftovers and can be eaten hot or cold.
Lettuce leaves (Boston lettuce or Napa Cabbage works well)
1 Tbs macadamia nut oil
1lb ground meat (works well with ground turkey, chicken or pork mince)
Minced garlic 1-5 cloves (I use about 5 cloves, but not everyone likes garlic like I do!)
½ Red Onion or 1-2 shallot, finely chopped
½ Tbs ginger, finely minced (I use fresh if I have it, but out of a jar is fine too)
1 Tbs tamari or soy sauce (preferably gluten free!)
Cilantro (or coriander as they call it down under) to garnish. You could also use Thai basil or mint.
For some extra protein and crunch, I add chopped nuts at the very end. Peanuts work well for Slow Carb-ers. For Paleo-ites, try macadamia nuts.
Diced veggies like zucchini, green beans or mushrooms (or whatever is about to go “off” in your fridge) make great add-ins. Just toss them in for a few minutes after you’ve added the spices and sauces!
For super crunchy shells, I’ll sometimes use raw cabbage. It’s sweet and doesn’t fall apart as easily as lettuce.
Heat oil in a large fry pan on medium high. Add onion and cook till translucent but not too soft (about 2 minutes). Add garlic and ginger and cook or another minute being careful not to burn garlic.
Add meat and cook until browned. Drain any excess grease if you wish. I usually don’t have much, so I’ll leave it in for flavor.
Add soy sauce/tamari and chilli paste
Add any extras you wish. I normally add chopped nuts and cilantro. Sometimes I’ll add some fish sauce or a squeeze of lime. Zucchini and mushrooms are great too if you’re looking to add more veggies.
Put filling into a serving bowl and serve in lettuce cups.