Tag Archives: paleo

Dry-Fried String Beans · 干煸四季豆

When I was living in China, my roommate Lili and I had staple dishes that we’d order at almost every restaurant we ate at. Dry-fried string beans were one dish that always made that list. The kick of heat from the chilis, the umami from the 芽菜, and the sumptuously blistered texture of the green beans was simply irresistible.

Now that I’m back in America, the toughest part of this dish is achieving that coveted ‘dry-fried’ texture, which usually requires deep-frying the beans in a hot wok, which can be difficult without a gas stove. I tried replicating the feel by blanching, steaming, and soaking the beans, but nothing would produce the same mouthfeel as the dishes I ordered in restaurants. I was actually feeling kind of hopeless and thought I’d have to resort to ordering from restaurants, until I tried roasted the green beans!

Roasting produces a really nice charred surface that is super close to the ‘dry-fried’ texture, but omits so much of the oil that accompanies a deep fry. The reason I can claim success on this recipe is because my current roommate (a friend I met in China) said this actually tasted better than the deep-fried restaurant version. It’s super easy, so I want to share it with people who love this dish as much as I do!

Basic Info

  • nut-free
  • gluten-free
  • refined sugar-free
  • paleo
  • vegan (just omit the beef)
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 150g (5.2oz) ground beef
  • 600g (21oz) green beans
  • 10g (0.35oz) dried chili
  • 5g (0.35oz / 1tbsp) sichuan peppercorn
  • 20g (0.7oz) garlic (~7 cloves)
  • 20g (0.7oz) ginger
  • 50g (1.8oz) preserved vegetable


  1. Preheat oven to 425F (218C).
  2. Toss green beans with a drizzle of olive oil & salt.
  3. Roast for 20 minutes. Set aside after.
  4. Preheat a wok (any high-heat pan, like stainless steel or cast iron, will do) on medium-high heat.
  5. Brown the ground beef and set aside.
  6. Add a drizzle of oil, and toast the dried chilis and peppercorns until fragrant.
  7. Add garlic and ginger, stirring for 1-2 minutes.
  8. Add the preserved vegetables, stirring for a minute.
  9. Add the beans and beef back, combining well.
  10. Serve immediately with rice!

Steamed Whole Seabass · 蒸全鱼

Fish is commonly prepared whole in a lot of Chinese seafood dishes. The striking appearance, along with the flavors of the different parts of the fish, is a delicate, but impressionable, way to prepare whole fish. While this dish looks complicated, preparation is so easy and simple, and always satisfying!

Basic info:

  • nut-free
  • gluten-free
  • refined sugar-free
  • paleo
  • keto
  • Yield: 2 servings
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes


  • 1 whole fish, about 1lb (453g)*
  • 3 stalks scallions
  • nub of ginger, roughly half the size of your palm
  • soy sauce
  • a handful of cilantro stalks
  • cooking oil with high-smoke point (I used avocado oil)
  • 1 pack firm tofu, drained and cubed (optional)


  1. Julienne the ginger and scallions.
  2. Place the fish in a steam-proof pan.
  3. Top the fish with the ginger and scallions, and stuff some into the cavity.
  4. Optional: add cubed tofu in the pan, around the fish.
  5. Douse the fish and tofu with soy sauce.
  6. Steam the fish for 8 minutes.**
  7. Remove fish from steam, and top with cilantro.
  8. Heat oil until it begins to shimmer.
  9. Pour the hot oil over the fish to finish.
  10. Serve immediately with rice.***

Recipe Notes:

  • I look for black bass or seabass, as their delicate flesh cooks wonderfully with this recipe. I normally buy the fish at a Chinese supermarket, where there’s a wide selection of live seafood that the fishmonger can clean and scale for you when you purchase.
  • 8 minutes is for a 1lb fish, but you may need 10 minutes for a 1.2 lb fish, or 13 minutes for a 1.5 lb fish. The fish is fully cooked when the flesh is opaque and flakes easily from the bone. If it’s not done, you can steam it for another few minutes.
  • I love spooning the sauce and scallions from this dish onto my rice to eat with the fish.
  • Simmer any leftover sauce with tofu for a quick and easy bite.

Blueberry Banana Protein Pancakes

Have you ever had a bad day when it starts with pancakes for breakfast? I haven’t either! Protein pancakes have always come out dense and dry for me. Thanks to the dalgona craze that’s been taking over the Internet lately, I’ve developed an interest in egg whites and what they can do to combat dry or dense recipes, and that’s exactly what happened with these banana blueberry pancakes.


  • 1 speckly banana, mashed
  • 2 scoops Tropeaka lean protein powder (40g)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 handful of blueberries, mashed
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • Siggi’s vanilla yogurt
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • Whole blueberries


  1. Separate the egg yolks and egg whites into separate bowls. Beat the egg whites for about 2 minutes, until soft peaks form.
  2. Mix the egg yolk, mashed banana, mashed blueberries, and protein powder until a smooth consistency is achieved.
  3. Gently fold in the egg whites until roughly combined.
  4. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Once it’s warmed, add a thin layer of the mixture onto the pan.
  5. Once small bubbles start forming on the surface of the pancakes (about 2 minutes) and the sides lift easily under a spatula, they’re ready to be flipped!
  6. Give the pancakes a flip and cook for another 2 minutes.


  • Whipped egg whites and baking powder are what makes these pancakes nice and fluffy, so make sure to beat the egg whites separately before folding them in.
  • Salt’s role in this recipe is to bring out the flavor of the other sweet ingredients – don’t omit it!
  • When folding in the egg whites, the mixture doesn’t need to be perfectly mixed. Overmixing will break down the airy strucure of the egg whites.

Gado Gado with Spicy Almond Sauce

About a month ago, I happened upon this delicious hole-in-the-wall Indonesian restaurant in LA called Borneo Kalimantan Cuisine. I tried gado gado for the first time, which is one of Indonesia’s five national dishes. It’s essentially a light stir-fry served with peanut sauce, and I loved the depth of the dish–namely, the delicious sauce accompanying it. I had tons of veggies in my fridge that I wanted to use before they went bad, so stir-fry seemed like the perfect option to make use of everything. My favorite thing about this recipe is how customizable it is; it’s a solid way to use up veggies that you don’t want to throw out, but that you may not find another dish to incorporate into.

This recipe is gluten-free, paleo, keto, and can be made vegan (see modifications below).


Stir Fry:

  • 3 tsp avocado oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small nub of ginger, minced
  • 2 medium red onions, diced
  • 2 cups shredded chicken breast
  • 2 medium bell peppers, sliced
  • 2 cups of green beans
  • 3 stalks of celery, sliced long
  • 3 tsp chili sauce
  • 4 tbsp coconut aminos

Sauce (whisk all of these ingredients together):

  • 1/4 cup nut butter (I used almond butter)
  • juice from 1 lemon or lime wedge
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp sriracha hot sauce
  • 1/2 tsp coconut sugar

Garnish (optional):

  • Lemon or lime wedge
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Fried shallots
  • Crushed peanuts


  1. In a large pan, heat the avocado oil on high heat, and saute the garlic, ginger, and onions. This helps create some nice aromatics for the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Add shredded chicken breast, then remove these two from heat and set aside.
  3. Add the rest of your vegetables, tossing and sauteing frequently to make sure everything is cooked through.
  4. After about 5 minutes of cooking, reincorporate the chicken mixture that you set aside earlier.
  5. Add the coconut aminos and hot sauce to the pan, stirring to combine everything. Keep tasting, salting, and adding coconut aminos and hot sauce little by little to get the flavor you want!
  6. Serve over rice, drizzling a few spoonfuls of the spicy peanut sauce over the dish, and garnishing with some fresh cilantro, fried shallots, and crushed peanuts.


  • To make this dish vegan, simply omit the chicken. Tofu also works if you still want some protein in the dish.
  • You can essentially use any vegetables that would work well in a stir-fry; ones that have lower water content and cook quickly. I would suggest: bean sprouts, cabbage, or bok choy

Charred Shishito Peppers (GF, Vegan, Paleo)

Some days I feel painfully lazy when it comes to cooking dinner. Though I usually see the kitchen as as place of solace, and my time to relax, there are evenings where I’m either working late, or want to do something else, which prompts me to look for a quick, easy recipe.

Shishito peppers are incredibly versatile, and there are so many ways they can be prepared. The form that most people will be familiar with encountering them in is also their simplest–charred, salted, and a bit deflated. A common way to serve shishito peppers at Japanese restaurants is to lightly dress them in soy sauce, but they taste just as delicious when the soy sauce is swapped out for its gluten-free replacement, coconut aminos. Shishito peppers can be found at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Asian supermarkets, and they are relatively affordable.

With this method of cooking shishito peppers, you can leave the peppers on the pan while you’re reading a book, working away, or watching TV. If your pan’s sounds are within earshot, you’ll hear a satisfying pop from the peppers are they char and deflate, which is exactly what you want to achieve that blistered, smoky texture.

Beautifully blistered peppers


  • Shishito peppers (I emptied a whole bag from Trader Joe’s into my skillet)
  • Coconut aminos
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Coconut sugar
  • Olive Oil
  • Coarse sea salt (I swear by Maldon)


  1. Drizzle the pan with olive oil, and heat it over medium heat. I recommend using a cast iron skillet for these peppers, as it tends to flavor and cook the peppers more thoroughly due to cast iron’s heat retention capabilities.
  2. Once the oil is hot, but not yet smoking, add the peppers to the pan. Make sure they are spread evenly, with each pepper making some contact with the surface of the pan. The trick here is to refrain from touching the peppers until they are ready to be turned.
  3. The peppers will cook slowly, and will expand, pop, steam, and deflate. Once they begin doing this (around 5-7 minutes), use a pair of tongs or chopsticks to turn them, one at a time. They should be significantly charred on one side, and flipping them will introduce the same lovely color on another side.
  4. Sprinkle some sea salt over the peppers.
  5. Let the peppers sit in the pan for another 4-5 minutes, until they are deflated. I like to take the chopsticks or the tongs and help pop the peppers that haven’t been able to deflate on their own.
  6. Transfer the peppers to a plate covered with a paper towel to soak up excess oil.
  7. While the peppers are cooling, combine a few tablespoons of coconut aminos, a dash of apple cider vinegar, and a few pinches of coconut sugar. I taste test as I go, and tweak ratios when creating this marinade.
  8. Remove the paper towel from the plate, drizzle your marinade over the peppers and toss them lightly to combine.

Herb and Garlic Sweet Potato Mash (GF, NF, Vegan, Paleo)

It’s been a long time since my last post, hasn’t it? Since my last post back in November, a handful of other priorities have surfaced in other areas of my life that brought about a wave of reflection on how often I wanted to post new recipes and commit to sharing new culinary experiments. At the end of the day, being in the kitchen is like coming home and sinking into a warm bath; my muscles relax, and my stress dissolves as I rhythmically rock the blade of my knife over sprigs of fresh herbs. The kitchen is a place where I can create love without restriction, and share it with others. When I’m experimenting with a new creation, there’s no pressure to produce or impress. Ultimately, I decided that the cooking content on my blog should reflect a similar philosophy; beyond being a joy to make, and a joy to consume, there’s nothing else that I really want to define the food here.

With weekdays that are typically very full and demanding of time, I love carving out time for a slower brunch on the weekends, consuming it with my nose in a book, and taking my time savoring each bite. Slower brunch usually involves poached eggs and mashed avocado, because those are two breakfast staples that I think taste entirely different when made fresh, and simply aren’t indulgences I can afford during my work week. However, instead of spreading the avo on toast like I normally do, I was feeling a bit adventurous today, and decided that I wanted to pair my favorite duo with a carb source that typically isn’t seen alongside avo and poached eggs: sweet potato!

Sweet potato isn’t usually found in the same dish as mashed avo and poached eggs, because it can be tricky to make the sweet potatoes in a way that complements the two other savory items. This presented me with a fun little challenge: how would I be able to make savory sweet potato? The answer is deceptively simple: a boatload of herbs, garlic, and seasonings. The beautiful thing about this recipe is that it’s easy to customize based on whatever herbs you have on hand. I used scallions and dill, but there’s no hard-and-fast rule to follow here. It’s a great way to clean out your fridge and use up some remaining fresh herbs that seem like they’re on the verge of going bad. I will say that I think using fresh herbs and garlic, as opposed to pre-minced garlic and dried herbs, folds in an unmistakable savory aroma. And don’t be afraid to use a lot of garlic and herbs, because the sugars in the sweet potato will dominate the flavor profile otherwise.

Cook time: 30 minutes


  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 6 sprigs of dill
  • 6 sprigs of green onion (scallions)
  • Paprika powder
  • Onion powder
  • Tumeric powder
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Wash, peel, and cube the sweet potatoes. Some people like the skin of the potatoes in the mash, so you can also leave it on for more texture.
  2. Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot (I used a Dutch oven), and cover them with water. In order to shorten the cooking time, I use an electric kettle to boil the water separately. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to medium so that the water is a gently rolling boil, and let it cook uncovered until the potatoes are soft enough to easily slide a fork in and out (roughly 10 minutes).
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, mince the garlic, and roughly chop the herbs. I only used dill and onion in this recipe, but you can honestly use anything you want!
  4. Drain the potatoes and transfer them back into the same pot. Using a fork or spatula, mash the potatoes, which should be easy if they’re cooked enough.
  5. Fold in the apple cider vinegar, herbs, and spices (paprika, tumeric, onion, salt, and pepper), adjusting the seasoning ratios to your liking.

That’s it! This is such a versatile, simple side to make that pairs well with just about anything. Use it in place of white mashed potatoes when serving a steak. Spread it on a slice of toasted rustic bread. Layer some smoked salmon and capers on top of it, drizzled with a bit of lemon juice. This morning, I made my favorite avocado mash (recipe coming soon!), and poached an egg on top, letting all that yolky goodness bind the different textures and flavors together. It was one of the best slow brunches I’ve made in ages.

If you try this recipe out (or do any variations on it), let me know in the comments below 🙂 Happy lazy Sunday brunching.