Coconut Cabbage Thoran : A Southern Indian Dish

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Thoran is a coconut cabbage veggie dish from Kerala – Southern India. Our friend and chef Shravan was kind enough to teach me how to make a few of his Mama’s recipes while we were cruising along the jungly backwaters in Alappuzha. His cooking was some of the best home homestyle food we had in India! Before Dan and I left the country he helped make a list of all the spices I would need to recreate these dishes back at home.

Coconut Cabbage Thoran

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
5 curry leaves
1 clove garlic (diced)
1 small green chili (chopped)
1 1/2 onion diced)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups finely chopped green cabbage
kosher salt to taste
1 cup freshly grated coconut

In a large pan, heat oil until simmering. Add mustard seeds, curry leaves and garlic, stir until fragrant. Add chopped chilies, onions, turmeric and cumin powder. Stir to ensure the spices don’t burn.  Add cabbage. Stir until the cabbage is coated with oil and spices. Cover with lid and let cabbage cook, stirring occasionally ~ 5 min. Add freshly grated coconut and stir until  mixed. Season to taste with salt and serve hot with rice, daal, or puris (crispy puff bread).
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^^^Meet the chef! Shravan is on the left. His mom taught him how to cook – great job Mama! During the dry season he works as a chef on the rice boats. Shravan and Raj (on the right) were two of the three guys that accompanied us on our float through the backwaters! It was such a blast – crammed into that tiny galley with the engine humming, pans sizzling, amazing smells and misty water rainbows out the kitchen window. It was a very cool experience. A tad shhhhweaty but so awesome. Thanks for the cooking lessons friend!
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I saved my spice shopping for the end of the trip in Kolkata. I ran around New Market, following scouters through a maze of shops with my giant list of spices… “Does any one have Valampuli??? What the heck is Valampuli!?” I have know idea, but it’s on my list. Facepalm. Hey Google? 😉 Looking back on it, we had a lot of fun. I found many of my spices in the attic of a saree shop (because everyone sells a little bit of everything around here). A boy helped me scoop spoonfuls of turmeric, tea masala and Kashmiri chili powder onto an old-fashioned scale. We sat there on the floor filling little bags with spices and sealing them with a candle flame he had melted to the floorboard. I love moments that. Our pantry at home officially smells like India.
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Turmeric, black pepper, coconut, café and spiced tea rum Russian

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It’s been a rough week. We’ve been planning our trip to India and I waited to get our visas 1 month out (to qualify for the online e-visa). While Dan passed with flying colors…me, not so much. A week of pulling out my hair and 20+ confusing phone calls later, my 3rd application was finally approved! I almost thought we’d have to cancel the trip! Fewf! That was a close one. I wanted to celebrate! I came home from work, kicked-off my shoes and played mixologist in the kitchen. This was the result – a spicy, savory, creamy, dreamy drink. There are a whole lot of goodies in this little baby… an unexpected blend of spices came together to make a knockout version of a rum Russian. All you need is a comfy couch, a good show, soft blanket and this in your hand to make any stressful day a good one.

If you want to make a non-alcoholic version, minus the café liqueur and spiced rum and you’ll have a cool, decadent drink you can sip on the daily…

Makes 2 drinks – his and hers

1/2 cup strong coffee
1/4 cup black tea
1/4 cup cream (use nut milk if vegan)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tbsp coconut cream
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1oz xo café liqueur
2oz black spiced rum

Mix all ingredients together. Rim your glass with coconut sugar and black pepper (optional). Pour over ice and enjoy
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Indian Masala Veggie Wrap

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For those of you who are lucky enough to have a Trader Joe’s in your area, then you are stoked… if you don’t, but still want to discover the super amazing veggie masala wrap, then here is a recipe that I put together so you can make your own at home!

10 small red potatoes (boiled and cooled)
1 carrot (shredded)
5 green beans
1 bell pepper (seeded)
1/2 onion (chopped)
1 cup sweet corn
1 serrano pepper (or Asian green pepper if you can find one. Scrape out seeds)
1 tsp. coconut sugar
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1/2 tsp. red chili powder

Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until ingredients are combined. Shape into round patties and fry each side in a frying pan coated with coconut or olive oil until golden and crispy. Serve with sauteed onions, avocados, alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes and a spicy curry mustard. Wrap with iceberg and butter lettuce.
+ Coconut lime water on the side.
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Key lime coconut energy balls

Key lime coconut energy balls
Little snacks to go! Key lime coconut energy balls!  Healthy and dairy free. Smooth, sweet and tangy – like citrus truffles! The ingredients are a little far out there but stay with me… they’re spectacular!
Ingredients
6 key limes  (about 1/3 cup juice)
10 oz chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
8 soft dates
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup shredded coconut (+ more for rolling)
1 tbsp agave or pure maple syrup
1 tbsp organic mesquite powder
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp coconut oil

Blend in a food processor until thoroughly combined and mixture resembles a pasty dough consistency. If mixture it still too wet, add 1 more date and more coconut flour until consistency is reached. Roll into balls and top with shredded coconut. Place in the fridge for one hour before serving. Keep sealed in the fridge for 1 week or freezer for 2! Recipe makes about 12 balls.

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Creamy peanut butter hazelnut chocolate swirled nice cream

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Creamy peanut butter hazelnut chocolate swirled nice cream with double chocolate baked granola, cocoyo, pecans and cacao nibs. Dairy and refined sugar free! Dan and I just moved into our new home so I thought we should celebrate with a super yummy breakfast… it did NOT disappoint! Ohhh man this is the stuff dreams are made of!

Base
2 frozen bananas
1/2 cup vanilla hemp mylk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tsp chocolate hazelnut butter
*Blend in a blender until smooth and creamy

Layer with double chocolate chunk granola, vanilla coconut yogurt, cacao nibs and pecans