Michelle Tam and Henry Fong, the James Beard Award nominated creators of Nom Nom Paleo, a website and award-winning cooking app, newest cookbook, Nom Paleo Let’s Go! Simple Feasts + Healthy Eats (Volume 3) features more keto-friendly, Whole30, and plant-based recipes. Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing, it’s a fun book but serious as well, with 2000 step-by-step instructions, lots of photos and illustrations, and a dash of snarky humor.
It’s the third in their series of cookbooks, the first two of which were both New York Times bestsellers. Tam, who holds a doctorate in pharmacy from the University of California, develops recipes based upon the Cantonese meals her mother cooked for the family when she was growing up and the immigrant cuisine of the San Francisco Bay area where she grew up as well as such American teen basics as cheeseburgers and French fries.
Tam and Fong operate on the premise that weeknight suppers should be healthy and flavor-packed as well as fast and simple. Weekends and celebrations, on the other hand, are the perfect excuse to craft elevated (but easy) crowd-pleasers. Nom Paleo Let’s Go! offers crazy-delicious recipes for all occasions, and every single one is free of grains, gluten, dairy, and refined sugar.
Fong is an attorney who does the photography and illustrations for their books as well as the over all design. In all, they both seem to have a lot of fun in the kitchen and in writing their cookbooks.
All three books coordinate with a multitude of specialty diets—paleo, keto-friendly, vegan, nut-free, Whole30, and plant-based and every single recipe is free of grains, gluten, refined sugar, and dairy. But if it all sounds too healthy, no one you’re cooking for needs to know how nutritious the dishes are. And they won’t know based on the taste either as it’s all seriously yummy.
As always, Nom Nom Paleo’s recipes reflect the diverse cuisines Michelle grew up with and culinary ideas from her travels. Often Asian-inspired, Michelle’s unfussy recipes maximize flavor, optimize whole foods, and are presented with photos of each step so they’re absolutely foolproof–even for novice cooks! New recipes include: Cantonese Roast Duck, Nom Nom Chili Crisp, Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole, Chicken Karaage, Instant Pot Balsamic Beef Stew, and Paleo-Friendly Cream Puffs.
Hash Brown Fish
Umami Stir Fry Powder
- ⅔ cup dehydrated chopped scallions
- 6½ tablespoons kosher salt
- ¼ cup dried shiitake mushroom powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
Hash Brown Fish
- 1 pound Russet potatoes, peeled
- ½ cup scallions, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup avocado oil or ghee, divided
- 2 teaspoons umami stir fry powder or kosher salt, divided
- Four 5-ounce skinless sea bass or cod fillets, each about ¾-inch thick
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
MAKE THE UMAMI STIR FRY POWDER (IF DESIRED): Toss all of the ingredients into a mini food processor or spice grinder. Blend to make a fine powder, scraping down the sides occasionally to make sure the dehydrated green onions are totally powderized. (This seasoning will keep in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.)
MAKE THE HASH BROWN FISH: Grate the potatoes with a food processor or by using the large holes of a box grater.
Bundle the shredded potatoes in a clean kitchen towel. Then, wring out the potatoes and discard the liquid.
In a large bowl, toss together the shredded potatoes, scallions and 1 teaspoon of umami stir fry powder or kosher salt.
Pat the fish dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the other teaspoon of umami stir fry powder or kosher salt on the fish fillets.
Heat a large cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat, and then add 2 tablespoons of oil or ghee to the hot pan.
Add two ⅓-cup mounds of potatoes to the pan and flatten them into rectangles, approximating the size of your fish fillets.
Smush a fish fillet onto each potato layer and cover each one with a thin layer of shredded potatoes.
Fry for 5 to 8 minutes or until the bottom layer of potatoes is crisp and golden brown.
Carefully flip the fillet packets over with a fish spatula and cook for another 5 to 8 minutes on the other side.
Once the other potato layer is nicely browned and the center of the fish registers 135°F on an instant-read thermometer, transfer to a plate.
Repeat steps 6 to 11 with the remaining fish and potatoes and serve with lemon wedges.
Ginger Scallion Sauce
This salty, herbaceous condiment is exponentially greater than the sum of its parts. It’s traditionally served with whole poached chicken, but growing up, I would put it on everything! This sauce is transformative, lending massive flavor to any savory dish.
Makes 1 cup
- 1 cup finely minced scallions
- 3 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- ½ cup avocado oil
Toss the scallions, ginger, salt, and white pepper in a large heat-proof bowl or 2-cup measuring cup.
Stir it all together.
In a small saucepan over high heat, warm the oil until it’s shimmering but not quite smoking.
Add a tiny piece of scallion to test the heat of the oil. If you see lots of little bubbles, the oil’s ready. (Or just check that the oil reaches 375°F on an instant-read thermometer.)
Pour the hot oil into the scallion and ginger mixture a little at a time. It’ll sizzle and boil, so be careful!
Stir well and let the sauce cool to room temperature. The sauce can be refrigerated in a sealed jar for up to 2 weeks or frozen in an ice cube tray for up to 3 months.
All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce
Despite its name, my All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce isn’t just for stir-fries: it’s a fundamental component in recipes of all kinds. This ultra-versatile sauce keeps in the refrigerator
Makes 2 cups
- 1 cup coconut aminos
- ½ cup fresh orange or pineapple juice
- ¼ cup paleo-friendly fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Combine all the ingredients in a measuring cup or jar. Mix it all together.
Char Siu (Chinese Barbecue Pork)
Makes 8 servings
- ½ cup plum, peach, or apricot jam, sweetened only with fruit juice
- ¼ cup coconut aminos
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- 1 tablespoon honey (optional, not Whole30)
- 1 teaspoon paleo-friendly fish sauce
- ½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder roast
- 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced (optional)
Pour the jam into a small saucepan. To stay paleo-friendly, be sure to use a high-quality, 100% fruit jam.
Next, toss in the coconut aminos, tomato paste, almond butter, honey (if desired), fish sauce, Chinese five-spice powder, and ground ginger.
Whisk the marinade as you heat it to a simmer over medium heat.
Once the marinade is bubbling and smooth, transfer it to a measuring cup and let it cool to room temperature. (Not ready to roast the pork? You can store the sauce in the fridge for up to 4 days.)
Next, prepare the pork. Blot the pork shoulder with a paper towel. Then, slice the pork shoulder into 2-inch strips of even thickness.
The pork strips should be roughly uniform in size. It’s fine to have fatty pieces of pork because: (1) it’s tasty, and (2) you don’t want to end up with dry char siu. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of kosher salt all over the pork pieces.
Place the pork in a large bowl or in a zippered food storage bag. Pour all except ⅓ cup of the cooled marinade onto the pork. Cover and refrigerate the reserved marinade.
Use your hands to coat the marinade all over the pork strips. Cover the bowl and refrigerate it for 2 to 24 hours.
When you’re ready to roast the pork, heat the oven to 350°F with the rack in the middle position. Arrange the pork on an oven-safe wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, flipping the pork pieces at the halfway point. Take the pork out of the oven and increase the temperature to 400°F.
Brush half of the reserved marinade on the tops of the pork pieces. Pour enough water into the bottom of the pan so that you have a thin layer coating the bottom. This will keep the drippings from burning while the pork cooks.
Roast for 25 minutes. Then, flip the pork pieces over and brush on the remaining marinade. Cook for another 20 to 30 minutes or until the pork is slightly charred on the edges. Rest the pork for 10 minutes, and then slice against the grain into bite-size pieces.
Arrange the pork on a serving dish and garnish with 2 sliced scallions, if desired.
Sheet Pan Pineapple Chicken
This easy sheet pan meal is my riff on Huli Huli Chicken, a classic Hawaiian barbecue staple featuring a sweet and savory sauce made with pineapple juice, ketchup, and soy sauce. Believe me: no one can resist a pan of sticky chicken and pineapple, especially when it’s re-imagined with healthier, paleo-friendly ingredients. Don’t substitute fresh pineapple and ginger for canned pineapple and ground ginger! The fresh stuff contains enzymes that break down proteins, so if you use ’em, they’ll make your chicken mushy!
- 1 (13.5-ounce) can pineapple rings in pineapple juice
- ½ cup paleo-friendly ketchup
- ½ cup coconut aminos
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon paleo-friendly fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- ¾ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
Open up the pineapple can and set aside the pineapple rings.
Pour ½ cup of the pineapple juice from the can into a large measuring cup. (We won’t be using the rest.)
Add the ketchup, coconut aminos, rice vinegar, honey, fish sauce, sesame oil to the pineapple juice in the measuring cup. Toss in the ground ginger and minced garlic. Whisk it all together to form a marinade.
Place the chicken in a medium bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Pour in ½ cup of the marinade. Set aside the remaining marinade.
Toss the chicken well. Cover and marinate for 30 minutes or up to a day in the fridge.
In the meantime, pour the remaining marinade into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over high heat. Then, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer for about 20 minutes until the liquid has thickened into a sauce. Remove from the heat and set aside. You should now have about 1 cup of sauce.
Set aside about ¼ cup of the sauce to baste the chicken, and save the rest to serve with the finished dish.
Heat the oven to 400°F on convection mode or 425°F on regular mode with the rack in the middle.
Arrange the chicken thighs and the pineapple rings in a single layer on a rimmed, greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes. Then, rotate the tray and brush the reserved ¼ cup of cooked sauce onto the chicken thighs and pineapple rings.
Bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until the thickest part of the thighs register 165°F on a meat thermometer.
Garnish the chicken and pineapple with sesame seeds and scallions. Serve with the reserved sauce!
Excerpted from Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! © 2022 written & photographed by Michelle Tam & Henry Fong. Reproduced by permission of Andrews McMeel Publishing. All rights reserved.