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Easy pumpkin pudding

I’m always hard-pressed to find a decent, homemade dessert that is not too sweet, healthy, and ideally high in protein. Lately I have been having some tendon issues around my knee and wrist, so I have been beefing up all my recipes with some kind of gelatin, whether through soup bones or gelatin powder. Though I love making homemade sour gummies, where I pump up the lemon juice and barely add sugar, I was looking for a more “normal” recipe that incorporates gelatin.

My good internet acquaintance over at the Collagen Queen has been making a lot of delicious-looking gelatin-based recipes as of late. In one of the forums in which we participate, she was kind enough to share a pumpkin pudding recipe that requires no heating and stirring over the stove for long periods of time. I’ve incorporate a ton of my own edits to increase the protein content and decrease the fat content, but I have used her original gelatin + whole egg ratios, which makes the recipe the right texture for pudding.


I actually made this all the way back at the New Years. There was a lot of canned pumpkin on sale, and I ended up buying cartons of organic pumpkin at Whole Foods for $2. More peace of mind on the packaging here.


The pumpkin pudding turned out great. The taste is a bit bland because I like my desserts that way, and I could taste the pumpkin a lot more. I can understand if people would want to add more sweetener, but this definitely suits my taste.

1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 whole eggs
3/4 cup hot water
2 Tbsp gelatin
2 Tbsp maple syrup or equivalent in sweetener
1 15-oz carton or can of pumpkin puree
1/3 lb egg whites, about 5 eggs worth of whites

(1) Combine cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and whole eggs into blender. Add hot water and blend immediately.
(2) Add gelatin to blender and allow to incorporate for 15 seconds. Add the maple syrup and allow to incorporate for 15 seconds. Then add the pumpkin puree and egg whites. Blend for another full minute.
(3) Pour the mixture into a large container or baking pan. Chill overnight before consumption.


Dai Dai

Chinese winter melon soup with meatballs

I’ve previously mentioned a winter melon soup made with chicken or pork bones and meat, but this particular soup is made specifically with pork meatballs. Also rounding out the one-dish meal are mung bean noodles, which are clear and thin, absorb flavor quickly, and a great complement to the soup ingredients.

Winter melon soup

I actually bought the pork as a sirloin at Whole Foods and had them grind it into ground pork for me. Nothing like freshly ground meat versus the stuff in plastic wrap that have been sitting in a meat container for days!

1 lb winter melon
3 1/4″ slices ginger
2 cloves garlic
1 stalk green onion
3 sprigs cilantro
1/2 lb ground pork
1 egg
2 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp tapioca starch
100g dried mung bean noodles
salt, to taste

(1) Soak mung bean noodles in warm water.
(2) Cut winter melon into 2″ cubes. Prepare the broth by adding winter melon and 2 slices ginger to a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Continue to simmer on low heat.
(3) Meanwhile, mince the remaining slice of ginger, the garlic, green onion, and cilantro. Combine these ingredients in a bowl with the pork, egg, soy sauce, and tapioca starch. Add more starch if the mixture is too wet.
(4) Bring the soup back to a boil on high. Form 1.5″ meatballs with two spoons or hands and add to the soup. When all meatballs have been formed, continue to cook the soup on medium heat until the meatballs are done and floating, about 5-8 minutes.
(5) Add mung bean noodles to soup. Add salt as necessary. Garnish soup with additional pieces of green onion.


Dai Dai

Radish egg flower soup

As an effort to come up with different soups these days, I’ve been experimenting around. The latest concoction I came up with was radish.

Radish has a pretty distinct flavor, so I thought it would be fun to use in a soup to see how it tasted. I used a chicken stock base and added radishes, including the greens on top. There was some tweaking to do in order to prevent the chicken flavor from overpowering the radish, but I think I have finally accomplished the flavor mix.


I liked the color of this soup due to the vibrancy of the radishes adding a pink hue to the water. In this picture, I also threw in some soup regulars of mine which include eggs and green onion.

1/4 lb chicken bone cuts (I used chicken necks)
1 bunch radishes, about 10
1/8 tsp salt, or to taste
1 egg
2 stalks green onion

(1) Add the chicken to a large stock pot and add water to cover. Bring the water to a boil on high, and then simmer on medium-low for 10 minutes.
(2) Meanwhile, separate the radishes from the leaves and cut them in half. Roughly chop the leafy greens.
(3) Add the radishes to the soup and allow to simmer another 10 minutes. Add the greens and simmer a further 3-5 minutes.
(4) Salt the soup to taste.
(5) Beat egg in a bowl and slowly add to the soup while stirring the soup in a circular motion. Chop the green onion into small 1/4″ pieces and add to the soup.
(6) Serve hot!


Dai Dai

Chinese winter melon soup

One of the best food memories I’ve had as a kid eating pork marrow in winter melon soup. Whenever my mom made winter melon soup, I would always request at least one piece of bone, for the lovely fatty, meaty treasure inside. The process would be pretty fun for long pieces of bone because I would have to stick my chopstick through and try to scoop the marrow out. Winter melon soup was one of the two soups that my mom would make with the pork bones, so I developed a positive outlook on winter melon overall.

Typically the soup is made with pork because the flavors of the winter melon and the pork marry much better than for any other meat. However, poultry works well in this soup also.

Winter melon soup

In this particular batch, I used turkey backs to flavor the soup base, and added some drumsticks for meat, since around this time of year, one can find amazing deals on Animal Welfare Rated 5 turkeys from Whole Foods. I also took the liberty of adding some konnyaku noodles to the bunch, as the noodles go well in meaty Asian soups.

1 lb pork soup bones
1 lb winter melon
3 large shiitake mushrooms
1 slice ginger
salt, to taste

(1) Add the pork to a large stock pot and add water to cover. Bring the water to a boil on high, and then simmer on medium-low for 10 minutes.
(2) Meanwhile, cut the winter melon into 2″ cubes. When finished cutting the vegetables, add the winter melon, shiitake mushrooms, ginger, and salt into the pot.
(3) Bring the soup back to a boil on high, and bring down to simmer on medium-low for another 30-40 minutes.


Dai Dai

Chinese long beans

What to do with the leftover salty sauce from the Chinese chicken feet? Easy, just make long beans! Long beans become far tastier when soy sauce and meat drippings are added.

I am fortunate enough to catch these at the farmer’s market before they go out of season. Long beans usually come into harvest in the summer days, and then die off when winter hits. For some reason, they are pricier than other Asian vegetables, but I haven’t figured out why.

Long beans are a meatier version of a string bean. While string beans sometimes have a sweet crunch, long beans are mushier and starchier, making them an obvious pairing with heavy meat dishes.

Long beans

To prepare long beans, one needs to manually take off the end of each bean, where the stem is too tough to eat. This is the most annoying part of preparation. Once that is through, an easy chop and pan saute creates a dish in less than 10 minutes.

1 lb long beans
1 clove garlic, if desired
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp lard

(1) De-stem all the individual long beans. When finished, chop them into 2-inch long pieces. If using garlic, mince finely as well.
(2) Add lard to a pan on medium-high. When hot, add the long beans and stir fry for a few minutes, coating each piece as thoroughly as possible.
(3) Add soy sauce, and garlic if using, also spreading it to as much of the pieces as possible.
(4) Cover and bring down heat to a medium-low. Cook for another 7-10 minutes, depending on preference for withering and softness.
(5) Serve warm or cold, preferably with a meat dish.


Dai Dai

Chinese chicken feet

Last time I posted about a dish that was completely full of starch. In this post, I will be talking about a Chinese delicacy called chicken feet, which is completely on the opposite side of the spectrum!

Yes, chicken feet. I once read that Tyson or whatever chicken company actually had a trade surplus in chicken feet in the overall chicken trade with China. I don’t blame the Chinese at all; chicken feet prove to be very flavorful when cooked correctly. Most people know the dish as phoenix talons at dim sum restaurants.

Chicken feet

Chicken feet are actually quite nutritious. They are high in gelatin, which lends a gummy texture when cooked. The meat is mostly concentrated in the palm of the foot, where all the joints meet.

In this version of home-cooked chicken feet, I just used some soy sauce and water in a crockpot, which came together in a dish of deliciousness. I used the residual soy sauce broth, which was rich in gelatin, in another vegetable dish to drive in some flavor.

1 lb chicken feet
3 Tbsp soy sauce
water to cover the feet

(1) Place all ingredients in a crock pot.
(2) Cook on high for 3-5 hours.
(3) Remove the chicken feet from the liquid and let cool slightly before enjoying. Can be delicious cold.
(4) Reserve the gelatin as sauce for another dish. Chill in refrigerator to allow the fat coagulate at the top for easy removal before using.


Dai Dai

Fat free crispy potato puffs

I have been eating a lot of potatoes like crazy over the past week, especially since I overdid it buying some cheap potato sacks on my last grocery trip. Since I still had about 6 lbs of them left to go, I started searching for some original, healthy, and easy potato recipes that were different than my current delicious methods of preparation, which include coating the potato in some sort of oil to retain crispiness.


My inspiration came from, where the chef of the website used flour as a means to crisp up the texture without having to use a bunch of cooking oil. I’ve taken things into my own gluten-free hands and have successfully replaced with rice and tapioca flour. I can imagine potato flour would also work in this case.


Instead of sprinkling generously with the salt after placing the potatoes in a pan, I add the salt to the flour mixture so that it’s already ingrained into the potato. Also, this helps my expensive pink Himalayan salt not go to waste between the wall crevices that are the potato sides.

Bonus: This method warms up the house, which is always quite pleasant in the middle of autumn.

1 lb potatoes
2 tsp rice or tapioca flour
1/8 tsp salt

(1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
(2) Peel and cube the potatoes into uniform pieces. Bring the pieces to boil in a pot of water and allow to boil 3-5 minutes.
(3) Drain the potatoes and let sit to allow moisture to evaporate. Coat the pieces with the flour and salt in a dry bowl.
(4) Transfer potato pieces to a tray, being careful to separate all the pieces, and place in oven to cook for 30-35 minutes. Remove when browned as desired.


Dai Dai