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.
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
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 http://www.fifteenspatulas.com, 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.
Lately I have been eating a lot of pudding/ice cream/yogurt type desserts at night, and after a month of consuming a chockful of cow dairy in the evenings, I wanted to find something healthier.
I found my inspiration this time from a guy named Rojo, who is a member of the Marks Daily Apple forums. He mentioned that he adds a bunch of stuff with coconut milk and some gelatin in a blender, and without even heating the mixture, is able to take out a decent solidified pudding from the refrigerator after a few hours. I had to try this myself.
Without a hitch, this recipe turned out great for me. Because I am sensitive to sweet tasting foods and because coconut has its own sweet flavor, I added only a bit of honey to some coconut milk and gelatin, along with some vanilla. The process was very easy, and wasn’t too time consuming, unless the wait time for the pudding to solidify is taken into consideration. For a smoother texture than that of the picture below, the coconut milk can be heated slightly, without fully boiling, before adding to the blender.
Rojo himself adds some cocoa powder, cinnamon, and molasses to the coconut milk and gelatin. I would imagine that there are many other combinations that one could experiment with in the interest of his or her own taste. I like to strictly stick to vanilla for this one.
1 can coconut milk (heated, for smoother texture)
2 Tbsp gelatin (or 1 sleeve)
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp honey, or to taste
(1) Add all ingredients to a blender and blend for 30 seconds.
(2) Transfer the mixture to a few ramekins or a large container and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
(3) Consume with zest! (literally or figuratively works)