Recipe for a Modern Comfort Food

Recipe for a Modern Comfort Food

recipe for a modern comfort food

I call this comfort food because that’s the closest I can come to naming it. It is too thick for soup; it is not exactly stew or stir-fry, and it is not a casserole because it never went in the oven. But with the ingredients of light coconut milk and cashew butter, it is rich without being heavy, as well as very deliciously flavorful without being at all spicy. In short, it is heart-warming, rib-sticking, grain-free goodness. 

And it has a lot of wacky ingredients in it that make me call it modern. Your grandmother did not have these ingredients in her kitchen, but I do. If you don’t, you might want to obtain them for this– for this is the kind of thing that is great to eat during cold weather. It is quick and simple to make even though it tastes complex and dreamy. Leftovers of it are particularly welcome as well, and are easy to warm up for an instant meal.

I don’t eat chicken, but my husband says this would be equally good with chicken, so feel free to substitute that for the fish. Also look for light coconut milk with no additives; I use Trader Joe’s brand.

I serve this in a bowl with some micro greens on top to make it prettier. It can be a complete meal in itself, or here you can see I served it with a light salad of jicama and mango.

Recipe for Modern Comfort Food

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 light green Italian stir fry peppers, seeded and chopped
1 Anaheim pepper, seeded and chopped
1 sweet pepper (bell or other type), seeded and chopped
3 yellow tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon fine herbs (or herbs de province)
1 tablespoon garam marsala
1 teaspoon sumac
1 teaspoon tamarind
1/2 teaspoon chili lime seasoning (from Trader Joe’s)
3 cups chopped spinach
2 tablespoon size dollops of cashew butter
1 can “lite” coconut milk
4 tilapia loins (not from Asia) (or chicken if you prefer)
2 cups cauliflower rice
sea salt to taste
arugula microgreens, for garnish (optional)

Heat the oil on medium high in a large sauce pan, and add the onions and garlic, stirring frequently until soft.

Add the peppers and saute until tender, stirring occasionally.

Add the tomatoes and fine herbs, and cook until the tomato juices have deglazed the pan, and their liquids have cooked off.

Add the garam marsala, sumac, tamarind, and chili/lime seasoning, and stir to incorporate.

Add the spinach and cook until wilted, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the cashew butter.

Add the coconut milk, the fish, and the cauliflower rice, and cook until the fish flakes and the extra liquid is evaporated.

Season with salt to taste.

Stir again well to make sure the fish and salt are evenly distributed.

Serve immediately, garnishing if desired.

Serves four, or two twice. Enjoy!

Delicious, isn’t it?

If you come up with a better name for it, let me know.

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I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


  1. Gloria 7 years ago

    Polly, you’ve created a version of paella without the starch! It looks really healthy. I’ve heard of substituting cauliflower for potatoes, but I didn’t know there was a version to substitute for rice. Along with edible sumac, you’ve introduced me to something new.

    • Author
      Polly Castor 7 years ago

      Great! You can “rice” your own cauliflower by putting it in a food processor and pulsing until it is small bits. We have bought it ready made both at Trader Joes and at Costco (in the cold room).

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