Recipe: Sudado de pescado (Peruvian steamed fish)

Sudado de pescado can be considered a soup or a stew. I guess it depends on how you serve it: with boiled cassava or with boiled cassava and rice. The verb sudar means “to sweat”… in this context, it means the fish is steamed on top of a bed of onions and tomatoes with a delicious broth.

One of the broth ingredients is chicha de jora, a fermented beverage made from malted maize (corn), commonly used in Peruvian cuisine. It is also served as a drink in many towns in the highlands to children and adults, despite its alcoholic content. Back in the day, the fermentation was kickstarted by chewing the corn kernels and spitting them in a bucket. Thankfully, these days it’s made through a more modern and hygienic process. Taste-wise, it’s similar to apple cider vinegar and plain kombucha. You can buy it from Latin food shops such as Tienda Latina in Ashfield.

Chicha de jora

Sudado de pescado was one of dad’s favourite dishes. I didn’t appreciate it until mum started making it with scallops. The addition of seafood elevates the dish to another level. I asked her for the recipe and she wrote down a paragraph with instructions but no quantities (for a change!). I think I got my version pretty close; dad would have approved.

As you can see below, sudado de pescado is a very simple and healthy dish to make, provided you have the ingredients at hand. I have indicated substitutions and ingredients that can be omitted.

Sudado de pescado

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 white fish fillets
  • 12 scallops (optional)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red onion in thick slices
  • 2 tomatoes in thick slices
  • 1 tbsp ají panca paste (or other red chilli paste, preferably smoked)
  • 1 tbsp ají amarillo paste (or other yellow chilli paste)
  • 3/4 cup chicha de jora (or plain kombucha or a combination of apple cider vinegar and white wine)
  • 1/4 cup fish stock
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) pisco (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 500g frozen cassava, to serve
  • rice or cauliflower rice, to serve (optional)
  • fresh chilli, to serve
  • coriander leaves, to serve

Directions

  1. Boil cassava until tender (25-30 minutes).
  2. While the cassava is cooking, heat oil in a large saucepan at medium heat. Add garlic, onion, tomatoes, ají panca and ají amarillo. Cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add chicha de jora, stock and pisco (if using) to the saucepan. Place fish on top of vegetables and scallops on top of fish. Season with salt and pepper. Turn down heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain cassava.
  5. Serve sudado with boiled cassava and rice/cauliflower rice (if desired). Garnish with fresh chilli and coriander.

Keep Tone bread

Product review: Keep Tone bread

Keep Tone bread is a new brand of keto/paleo/low carb bread currently available at selected health food shops and cafes in NSW (I bought mine at Mr Vitamins Ashfield).

Health claims

The bread claims to contain “only wholefoods, no nasties”. It is gluten free, dairy free, soy free, yeast free, grain free and has no added sugar. I know most people would think this is no bread… until you try it.

What’s in Keep Tone bread?

Keep Tone bread currently comes in 3 flavours: rosemary blast, super seeds and divine chocolate. Below are the ingredients for the 2 savoury varieties:

  • Rosemary blast: Almond meal, golden flax meal, coconut flour, free range eggs, extra virgin olive oil, psyllium husk, apple cider vinegar, rosemary, Italian herbs, sea salt flakes, gluten free baking powder, Himalayan pink salt
  • Super seeds: Almond meal, golden flax meal, free range eggs, organic coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, linseeds, psyllium husk, gluten free baking powder, xanthan gum, Himalayan pink salt, stevia

All ingredients are Australian and most of them are organic, which drives the price a little high: $14.95 for the rosemary and $15.95 for the seedy one.

Keep Tone bread

Taste test

The bread loaves, which are smaller than commercial sliced gluten-free bread, come whole in a resealable bag with a desiccant packet. The bread has a great texture – it can be sliced easily and doesn’t crumble. Both savoury flavours are tasty – the seeded one is a bit sweeter so keep in mind when deciding what to eat it with.

I chucked the leftover bread in the freezer to test how it toasted from frozen. As expected, due to the fat content, it doesn’t toast the same as regular gluten-free bread (i.e. it doesn’t dry as much). Also, the seeds in the seedy variety tend to burn, so be careful.

Who is this bread right for?

People who are following a low carb diet/ketogenic diet for body composition or health reasons (e.g. people with insulin resistance), people who can’t eat gluten and do well on a lower carbohydrate diet.

I would also add the caveat that bread should not displace veggies out of your plate. Eat a piece of toast here and there but don’t use bread as an excuse to not eat vegetables.

The man behind Keep Tone bread

Gurpreet, the founder of Keep Tone, was kind enough to share his story:

“I’m a person who always thinks about the healthy lifestyle and keeps learning and searching for new research and any topics about health. About 2 years ago, I found a new lifestyle which is ketogenic. So I researched a lot about it and I studied health coaching where I learned about hormones and how the body uses fuel.

I’ve been doing a ketogenic lifestyle since then and also coached lots of people into this lifestyle including cyclists and weight trainers. My clients were perfectly enjoying all the benefits that keto has to offer but all of them missed one thing and that was BREAD. Being a problem solver and troubleshooter it got me thinking that how I can come up with the recipe of bread which will give bread-like pleasure but without spiking insulin, which is grain, dairy, gluten, yeast and soy free. Which is all natural just made from wholefoods no synthetic or preservatives or colours. So me and my partner chose all superfood ingredients that goes well with KETO, PALEO and all other low carb diets. After doing lots of taste testing on friends and clients we have received an outstanding response.

Now we have created a company known as KEEP TONE which has made Australia’s first Ketogenic superfood breads.

There are lot of other exciting food products coming along the way because I believe ketogenic was first type of lifestyle mankind knew and its very healthy lifestyle and KEEP TONE promises to offer the BEST.”

Gurpreet

Want to know more?

Follow @keeptone_aus on Instagram.

Recipe: Chupe de camarones (Peruvian prawn chowder)

Soup season is back! I would be hard-pressed to nominate my favourite soup, but chupe de camarones is definitely in the top 5. As it happens with most Peruvian dishes, it all starts with onion, garlic and ají (chilli). Ají panca (dried red Peruvian chilli) paste can be found in certain ethnic markets or you can sub another red chilli paste.

It also features Andean staples such as habas (broad beans), papas (potatoes) and choclo (corn). Rice is also an important ingredient, but you can sub cauliflower rice, quinoa, etc.

Chupe de camarones

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 whole king or tiger prawns (to garnish)
  • 450g peeled prawns (if you bought them unpeeled, follow the optional step below)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp ají panca paste
  • 3 cups fish stock
  • 2 small potatoes
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin, finely diced
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh broad beans
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh peas
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 1 cup cooked rice or 2 cups cauliflower rice
  • salt, pepper and oregano, to taste
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • 4 poached or fried eggs
  • coriander leaves, to serve

Directions

  1. Optional: If you bought unpeeled prawns, peel them (remember to reserve 4 to garnish) and pop the heads and shells in a pot and heat until bright red. Add the stock and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Drain and reserve the stock.
  2. Heat 1 oil in a pot. add onion, garlic and ají panca and cook at low heat for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add stock, potatoes and pumpkin. Cook at medium heat for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Add broad beans, peas, corn and cauliflower rice (if using). Season with salt, pepper and oregano. Cook for another 10 minutes.
  5. Add cooked rice (if using) and all prawns, cook until prawns are bright red (approx. 5 minutes). Add cream, check seasoning and turn off heat.
  6. Serve soup and garnish with one whole prawn, a poached/fried egg and a few coriander leaves per bowl.

Recipe: Peruvian spiced chicken

I would love to say this is a recipe for pollo a la brasa but that would be a terrible lie. First, I did not use charcoal to cook it and second, traditional pollo a la brasa can be made with no other seasoning than salt and pepper. That’s why I’m calling it Peruvian spiced chicken instead.

A couple of notes about ingredients:

  1. Peruvian dark beer (a.k.a. “malta”) is a bit sweeter than most dark beers here in Australia. I used O’Brien brown ale, which is not only delicious and gluten-free but also similar in taste to Peruvian malta. Feel free to use any dark beer you like.
  2. Ají panca is a dried red Peruvian chilli. In Perú you can buy it whole, ground or in paste. In Australia is more common to find the paste, which can be purchased online or in stores such as Fiji Market in Newtown and Tierras Latinas in Ashfield. I like the brand I bring from home every time I visit, which unfortunately is not available here (pictured below). If you can’t find it (or can’t be bothered), use any chilli paste you like… but don’t call it Peruvian chicken ;).

Finally, Peruvians would typically serve this chicken with chips and “salad” (maybe some iceberg lettuce and a slice of tomato). I recommend serving it with your favourite vegetables or a nice salad, for example, this one.

Peruvian spiced chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1/4 cup dark beer (O’Brien gluten-free dark ale recommended)
  • 2 tbsp ají panca paste (or other red chilli paste)
  • 2 tbsp tamari (or other gluten-free soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/5 tsp rosemary salt (or 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp dried rosemary)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • fresh cracked pepper

Directions

  1. Mix all marinade ingredients and spread on and in chicken. Let marinate in the fridge for 3-12 hours.
  2. Take chicken out of the fridge and preheat oven to 215°C (185-195°C fan-forced).
  3. Place chicken in cast iron pot or roasting pan and roast for 70-90 minutes. Time will vary depending on the actual temperature of your oven and size of the chicken. Use a brush to baste chicken with the cooking juices approximately at the 45-50 minute mark
  4. Turn off oven and leave chicken inside for another 5-10 minutes.
  5. Serve with vegetables.

low FODMAP

Is low FODMAP the new gluten free?

A couple of weeks ago I attended the annual DAA (Dietitians Association of Australia) conference. I noticed a few products in the exhibition hall bearing the low FODMAP certification logo. I also attended a few talks on the topic of the low FODMAP diet in the management of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). One of the speakers, Dr Joanna McMillan mentioned the fact that “low FODMAP” is becoming trendy and might be the new “gluten-free”. Is that the case?

What are FODMAPs

In short, they are types of carbohydrates that can be fermented by our gut bacteria. The acronym stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols.

The fermentation of FODMAPs in our intestine generates gas, among other things. The gas can cause bloating and discomfort in some people, particularly those who already have an inflamed gut, such as people with IBS and IBD (inflammatory bowel disease)

Where do FODMAPs come from?

FODMAPs are present in many common foods, such as (Whelan et al, 2018):

  • Oligosaccharides
    • Fructans (oligofructose, inulin, fructo-oligosaccharides): Wheat, rye, onion, garlic, artichoke, low fat dairy products
    • Galacto-oligosaccharides (raffinose, stachyose): Pulses, legumes, some nuts
  • Disaccharides
    • Lactose: Milk and milk products
  • Monosaccharides
    • Fructose (in excess of glucose): Mangoes, figs, honey, fructose corn syrup, sweetener in dairy products, jam
  • Polyols
    • Sorbitol: Stone fruits, apple
    • Mannitol: Cauliflower, mushroom
    • Lactitol, xylitol, erythritol, maltitol: Sugar-free gum

What is the low FODMAP diet?

It is a therapeutic diet designed for managing symptoms in people with FODMAP intolerance. It is important to note that:

  • It’s normal to have some gas in the gut as a product of digestion
  • Food intolerance is not food allergy – people with intolerance to particular food components are able to tolerate those components up to a certain threshold before symptoms occur
  • The low FODMAP diet is not intended to be followed for life. It should look like this:
    1. A low FODMAP phase to determine whether FODMAP-containing foods are an issue and to achieve a symptom-free baseline
    2. A reintroduction phase to determine the tolerance to each food
    3. A long-term personalised diet with avoidance of only foods which cause significant issues. Tolerance to particular foods can change over time, so this diet should be revised periodically.

Is low FODMAP the new gluten-free?

I made a couple of comparisons to answer this question:

  1. I compared the number of gluten-free vs FODMAP-friendly products in Australia’s main 2 supermarkets. There is a big difference in the number of products that are labelled with either claim. Gluten-free is still a popular buzz health claim but it’s still early days for products marketed as FODMAP-friendly.

  2. Next, I ran a Google Trends comparison between “gluten free” and “low FODMAP”. Again, the former is many times more popular than the latter. I’ve included the interest per region and top searches, too.

I think it will take a while for “low FODMAP” or “FODMAP-friendly” products to become trendy and they might not ever reach the level of popularity of their “gluten-free” counterparts. In part is because it’s way easier to make something gluten free than to make it low FODMAP. By the same token, it is less likely for asymptomatic people to eat a low FODMAP diet just because it’s perceived as healthier.

I mentioned the low FODMAP logo before. This is an Australian certification (same as low GI), which means people are less likely to come across certified products in the supermarket, as I would guess a significant percentage of products come from overseas. Also, companies choose to certify their products based, in part, on the size of the market they are looking to attract, which at the moment is not large.

Is a low FODMAP diet inherently healthy?

The short answer is no. While a low FODMAP diet can certainly help relieve IBS/IBD symptoms, there is no evidence that following a low FODMAP diet makes any difference in healthy individuals. Moreover, if not overseen by a knowledgeable dietitian, people following a low FODMAP diet might develop nutritional deficiencies, e.g. calcium (important for bone health and many other functions in the body) and fibre (for a healthy microbiome).

Want to know more?

Here are some resources for you to read:

[Top photo by Goh Rhy Yan on Unsplash]

Recipe: Savoury bliss balls

Savoury bliss balls are my kind of healthy treat. Even though I like looking at sweet treats such as brownies, cakes and regular bliss balls, I rarely want to eat them. I prefer savoury snacks most of the time.

In case you don’t know, bliss balls are those golf-sized balls you see at counters in cafes and in the health food aisles in supermarkets (e.g. Bounce balls). They’re typically made with nuts and/or seeds, some sort of sweetener (e.g. honey, maple syrup, dates) and some sort of flavouring (e.g. cacao powder, matcha, vanilla extract, spices). Some incorporate protein powder and/or collagen to be treated as a post-workout snack. They can be vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, etc.

But nobody out there makes savoury bliss balls! That’s why I decided to experiment with a few ingredients I thought would make great balls, texture and flavour-wise.

One of the main ingredients is hemp protein powder, which bumps up the protein content and makes the balls vegan, high-protein and low-carb. I used a Hemple sample I had lying around (pictured below), but you could use any neutral-flavoured protein powder instead.

Hemple hemp protein

Hemple hemp protein

These balls are great at room temperature, chilled or frozen (my personal favourite). Enjoy!

Savoury bliss balls

  • Servings: about 15
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients


Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients in bowl with a spoon or spatula.
  2. Form balls.
  3. Eat.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 12.4g
Servings Per Container 15

Amount Per Serving
Calories 54.2 Calories from Fat 38.7
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4.3g 7%
Saturated Fat 1.0g 5%
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 0.3mg 0%
Sodium 20.5mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 1.9g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1.6g 6%
Sugars 0.5g
Protein 2.6g 5%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Recipe: 2-ingredient devilled eggs

Devilled eggs are one of those foods that look very retro but come and go in waves. According to Wikipedia, they date back to ancient Rome (!)

Devilled eggs are hard-boiled eggs that are cut in half. The yolks are mixed with binding agents such as mayonnaise and placed back into the egg white cavities. They are mostly a party food but are also wonderful for picnics, as a snack or as part of a meal when paired with veggies.

If you can get your hands on good quality spicy mayonnaise (such as Primal Kitchen chipotle lime mayo), you only need a couple of ingredients to make magic happen. This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, ovo-lacto-vegetarian, paleo, primal, low-carb and keto. Enjoy!

2-ingredient devilled eggs

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients


Directions

  1. Steam eggs for 10 minutes. Cool down under cold running water. Place them in a bowl of cold water until they have cooled down completely (about 10 minutes).
  2. Peel eggs and split in half.
  3. Scoop out yolks and place in a bowl.
  4. Mash yolks with a fork, mix with mayonnaise.
  5. Pipe or spoon yolk mix back into egg halves.
  6. Serve in a platter.

Recipe: Palta rellena

Also known as Palta a la reina, palta rellena is a classic Peruvian entrée. I do not know much about its origin but it’s a fairly popular dish, particularly in restaurants offering set menu weekday lunch deals (aka “menú”). My version is heavier on the filling, which means it makes a decent-sized lunch.

Palta rellena

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 small potato
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1/4 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 small chicken breast, cooked and cooled (you can use leftover roast chicken in a pinch)
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise (I used Primal Kitchen mayo)
  • salt and pepper
  • lettuce leaves, to serve

Directions

  1. Peel and dice potato and carrot. Steam until fully cooked, 5 to 7 minutes. Add peas and steam for 2 more minutes. Let vegetables cool down.
  2. Shred chicken with 2 forks.
  3. Once vegetables are cool, mix with chicken and mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Split avocado in half, remove the seed, scoop each half out of its shell with a spoon and place on top of lettuce. Stuff with the chicken mixture and serve.

Recipe: Chorizo frittata

This is an easy, tasty recipe that makes good use of leftover frozen vegetables. You can have it for breakfast or serve it with a big salad for lunch or dinner. Enjoy!

Chorizo frittata

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 chorizos
  • 1-2 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
  • 1.5 cups frozen or cooked fresh spinach
  • 1.5 cups frozen or cooked fresh cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 9 eggs
  • 100-150g semi-firm cheese, such as tasty or havarti, shredded
  • salt & pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).
  2. Slice the chorizos.
  3. Heat ghee/oil in a pan at medium heat and cook chorizo. Place at the bottom of a small roasting dish.
  4. If using frozen vegetables, put them in a bowl and microwave until thawed. Drain excess water.
  5. Whisk eggs in a large bowl. Mix in the vegetables and cheese. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Pour mixture over chorizo.
  6. Cook until eggs are set and top is brown, approximately 20 minutes.
  7. Serve with salad and/or fermented vegetables.

Recipe: Mum’s burgers

Last time I went home I asked mum for recipes of meals I really miss. Her burgers, a simple weeknight meal, were on the list. She used to serve them with rice (otherwise it’s not a meal, according to many Peruvians) and occasionally a little salad. I used to pour tomato sauce all over the rice; these days I prefer serving the burgers with salad (coleslaw is my personal fave) and some good mustard.

Mum's burgers

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 500g beef mince
  • 2 tbsp minced onion
  • 2 tbsp minced tomato
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp minced parsley
  • salt & pepper

Directions

  1. Heat 1 tbsp ghee/oil in a pan at low-medium heat, cook onion, tomato and garlic until soft.
  2. In a bowl, mix beef mince, onion, tomato and garlic, egg and parsley. Season with salt & pepper.
  3. Form patties, heat 1 tbsp ghee/oil, cook patties 3-5 minutes per side.
  4. Serve with salad.