Pumpkin Korma (How’s this for Indian Pumpkin Spice?)

October is upon us and pumpkin flavored anything are everywhere. Since fresh pumpkins are available right now I decided to make a low pro korma for Daniel. Since korma is a dairy based dish (mainly yoghurt and cream sauce), I wanted to try out using yoghurt made from coconut milk to make it PKU Friendly.  Any of your fave veggies can also be used for this dish.

img_20160928_194529331_hdrTip: There are different kinds of pumpkins available. While Halloween Jacks are just about everywhere, they tend to be very watery and not as flavorful. They can be used if needed but look for gourd varieties that are made for cooking. Other hard squashes, like acorn or butternut, can also be subbed for this fall themed korma.

I used So Delicious plain coconut milk yoghurt. You’ll need to use the one that’s unsweetened and plain flavored. I accidentally grabbed the plain one that’s for snacking on so my korma ended up with a hint of sweetness. Which is fine but for a more savory dish use the one that doesn’t have sugar added to it. The smaller US container is roughly 1 cup measurement.

Serving Size: about 8

oil for sauteing (veggie can be used but I used coconut oil)
14 oz Pumpkin, cubed (roughly one medium Jack o-lantern size or cooking pumpkin equivalent)
2 medium onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 inch piece ginger, grated
1 chili pepper, chopped (more can be added for a more hot and spicier dish)
1½ cup white mushrooms, sliced
1 cup green beans, cut
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp cardamom powder
½ tsp  cinnamon powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup So Delicious Unsweetened/Plain Coconut milk yoghurt.
¾ cup water (if needed)
cilantro for garnish (optional)


How the masala magic happens.

On medium, heat up oil/melt coconut oil in a large pot. Add in onion slices and cook until translucent. Add in garlic, ginger, chili pepper(s) and stir them as they cook. Next turmeric, coriander, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon and garam masala powders go in. Allow the mixture of spices to blend into the onions, garlic, ginger and chili(s).


Smells wonderful!

Next add in pumpkin, mushrooms and green beans (or other veggies you chose to use). Stir it together with the onion mixture and continue to cook on medium heat. Depending on the water content of your veggies, you may need to add some water to this and allow to boil.  Reduce heat to simmer for about 15 mins with the lid on.


Creamy pumpkiny goodness!

Take off the lid. If there is a lot of liquid, remove the veggies with a slotted spoon into a separate bowl large enough to hold them. Let the liquid thicken up and add in coconut milk yoghurt. Place the veggies back in and mix it all together. Salt and pepper to taste. Korma is ready when the sauce becomes thick. Remove from heat, plate, garnish with cilantro (if desired) and serve with low pro rice or naan. Enjoy!


Ahhh! Perfect for a cool Fall meal!




Papaya and Tapioca Pearls in Sweet Coconut Milk

We had this for dessert one Sunday  when we went out to lunch after Church. It came with our meal. I don’t know if it’s something special for Sundays or if it’s a regular thing. PKU families in NC: if you are ever in the Raleigh area, check out Banana Leaf in Cary near Cary Town Center. Their menu is mainly Chinese but also has other Asian cuisine on it. Their vegetarian selection is fantastic. Daniel had a hard time figuring out what he wanted to order since he had a lot to choose from!

It’s a pretty simple dessert consisting of only a few ingredients. The riper the papaya, the sweeter and flavorful the dessert. I prefer mine deep red-orange and soft. The tapioca pearls in this are the same as the boba (bubble) tea ones. I got mine from my local Asian Market and they are available in different colors and sizes.

Serves 4 (small 1 cup ramekin size)

1 can (13.5 oz) Coconut Milk
½ cup sugar
2/3 cup tapioca pearls
Boiling water for cooking tapioca pearls
¼ of a papaya cut into small cubed pieces

Mix the coconut milk and sugar in a small pot on low heat. It needs to be heated enough to dissolve the sugar into the coconut milk. Remove from stove to allow it to cool. The amount in the can is more than enough for a 4 person serving size. Save the rest of the sweeten milk for another recipe or use it to make another batch of this one.

Follow the instructions on the bag of the tapioca pearls. On mine it says to boil enough water in a pot for the amount of pearls you use. Once the water is boiling, gently place the pearls into the water and lower the heat to medium. Allow these to cook for 5 mins  (which will puff them up). Drain when they are ready.



Mesmerizing as they float up and down in the hot water.

While the tapioca pearls are cooking, go ahead and cut up your papaya. About one slice from a half of a papaya is right amount for 1 serving.


Not as red as I like it, but sweet enough.

Once everything is ready, put the tapioca pearls and papaya in your dessert dishes. Pour desired amount of sweeten coconut milk over them  and serve. ENJOY!



Cauliflower and Coconut Milk Curry

Made this today for Daniel’s lunch. He had back to back meetings at work so he wanted me to make his lunch and bring it to him. He wanted a curry and rice dish so I made something different than the usual ones we made before. The consistency of this dish is more like a stew than a curry gravy. The flavor is light with a sweet creaminess of the coconut milk blending nicely into the onion, garlic and chili pepper. It’s great either by itself or served with rice or roti ( Indian bread).

Tips: To make the masala paste you will need either a food processor or a blender, using a standard mason jar screwed on to the blade base instead of the pitcher (my Geegee does this as a “spice grinder”). There are tutorials on line on how to do this. It’s a pretty neat trick!

Masala means “mixture of spices” and for each recipe will be a different mixture.

2 tbsp oil

Masala Paste:
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 green chili pepper (2-3″ long), chopped
½ tsp turmeric powder

1 cauliflower head chopped or one 16 oz bag of frozen cauliflower florets
1 can of coconut milk (about 14 fl oz)
1 cup water
1 tsp sugar
2 tomatoes chopped
1 tsp tamarind paste mixed in 3 tbsp warm water
salt to taste
Using your food processor or blender, put in your cut ingredients (onion, garlic, chili pepper) and turmeric for the masala paste. Blend until you get a nice thick paste.

Heat up the oil in a large pot, add in the masala paste and move around with a spoon as it fries. The paste will need to become fragrant as it is heated but do not let it get brown or burnt.


Cauliflower with the masala paste. My camera did not do justice with how YELLOW this is!

Add in cauliflower and  coat the florets with the masala paste as you stir. Stir in the coconut milk, sugar, water and salt. Allow this to simmer for 5-10 mins.

Next, stir in the chopped tomatoes and  tamarind mixture. Let this cook for a bit more. Mine was a bit on the watery side so I let the liquids thicken up.



Once it is done, it’s ready to go! Serve it as is in a bowl or with your choice of rice or bread. In the feature image at the top is Cambrooke low protein “sticky” rice.  Enjoy!

Lavender Eggplant Curry

Found these beautiful lavender eggplants at my local Indian store. they were mixed in with the long purple Chinese eggplants (which can also be subbed in this dish). I rarely see these beauties unless I plant them myself or go to a farmers market that has rare varieties. Unfortunately, eggplant is not on the menu for me for a long while since its one of the foods I have to avoid while pregnant. In the mean time, I get to spoil Daniel with them.



I like how the purple  parts look painted on, SO  pretty!

Tips: The long thin Chinese Eggplant can be used.

Amchur (mango) powder is found at Indian grocery stores. It has a sweet smell and tangy flavor.

Regular cooking oil can be used.



1 tbsp coconut oil
1 medium onion, chopped
½ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp paprika
½ tsp amchur powder
¼ tsp ginger powder
¼ tsp garam masala
Salt to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 lavender eggplants cubed
2 Roma tomatoes cubed

In a large pan melt your coconut oil (if you are using it). Once warm, mix your spices into the oil. Add in the chopped onions and cook until translucent. If your spices start sticking to the pan, add in some water to prevent it from burning.


Mmmm spicy onions!

Add in the eggplant and let it cook. Sadly it looses its pretty color. Toss in the tomatoes and garlic and mix it in with eggplant. Stir and allow the entire thing to cook thoroughly.


This is torture. It looks and smells delicious!

Remove from heat and plate. Serve with low protein rice or Indian styled potatoes.




Glass Noodles with Vegetables (Chap Chae)

Perhaps one of the easiest Korean dishes to adapt to the PKU diet and one of the dishes found in many Korean restaurants. Glass noodles (also known as potato noodles) are PKU friendly there are various versions of this dish using a colorful array of veggies. It’s a pretty simple dish with it’s ingredients but also very flavorful.

Tip: Glass noodles don’t take too long to cook in boiling water. Since these will be stir fried with the veggies, you don’t want them over boiled.

Add salt as needed. Soy sauce is salty but the the amount used in the recipe may require a bit of salt to bring out the flavor of the dish.

Serves 2-4

2 cups cooked glass/potato noodles
roughly 8 oz (225g) veggies like shredded cabbage (green and purple), julienne carrots, black fungus(wood ear), bell pepper (I used a frozen bag of sliced red, yellow and green) and spring onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper
salt to taste
1 tbsp sesame oil
sprinkle of sugar
If you are using dried woodear/black fungus, soak this first to soften it and slice it into thin strips.

Have a pot of water come to boil and turn off. Toss in 115g of noodles and let it soak for 5 mins. Once soften, remove from stove, drain and rinse. Set aside while we work on on the veggies.


Maybe it’s just me, but I love the smell of fresh garlic cooking.

In a wok, heat cooking oil and stir-fry the minced garlic until fragrant.


I love how colorful these veggies are!

Once this is ready, time to add in your veggies. Let these cook for a bit then add in soy sauce, pepper, sesame oil, sugar and salt.


Almost ready….

Add noodles and mix well with the veggies and soak up the soy sauce and sesame oil.  Plate and serve.



Beautiful and tasty!


“Cauli”-bash: Calabash Style Fried Mock Oysters

Cauli-bash made it’s debut at the NC PKU picnic with great success! This is one of those recipes that’s a happy accident. It was actually trial #1 for another recipe I am working on. The tangy taste of the hot sauce in the recipe reminds me of the tang found in fried oysters. While it doesn’t taste exactly like oysters, it’s pretty close and perfect for PKUers for any gathering that’s seafood themed, especially summer beach vacation!

volcano-icicle-clipartTips: Do you remember the school science fair project with the erupting volcano? Due to the vinegar in the hot sauce and the baking powder in the Multi-mix, the hot oil will start foaming and doing the same thing after a while. To prevent this from being an issue. you may need to dispose of your used oil and refresh your fryer with new oil.
I’ve only made this with Texas Pete so I don’t know what it will be like with any other brand like Tabasco or Frank’s. Some generic store brands are similar to Texas Pete so they should work as a good substitute.


Serve as an Appetizer; Serves 4-5 (about 1 cup per person). Phe for whole recipe: 453.6 mg. Phe per cup:  about 113.4 mg.

1lb Frozen bag of Cauliflower Florets (Phe 320 mg)
½ cup Texas Pete Hot Sauce (trace amount of Phe)

“Buttermilk” substitute:
½ cup heavy whipping cream (Phe 122 mg)
1½ tsp lemon juice (Phe 0.6 mg)
Water to dilute a bit if needed

1 cup(110 g) Taste Connections Multi-Mix (Phe 11 mg)
Salt and pepper to taste

Oil for frying and deep frying method of choice (Phe 0mg)

Place cauliflower and Texas Pete Hot sauce in a container and mix well. Place aside to marinate for 30 mins or in the fridge overnight.

Take out two bowls for dipping and dusting. In the first bowl, pour in the heavy cream. To make the substitute for buttermilk, sour the heavy cream with lemon juice for 5 mins. If it is too thick, add a bit of water to thin out to medium consistency. In the other bowl, put in the multi-mix, salt, and pepper. Arrange your bowls to whatever is easiest for dipping and frying.



Recipe portion.



Picnic size portion for comparison. I made more batter mixes as needed.

Using your deep frying method of choice, get your oil hot. Dip each floret in the cream mixture and dust it in the multi-mix. Carefully place in the hot oil and let it fry thoroughly until golden brown (5-10 mins). Due to the vinegar in the hot sauce and the baking powder in the multi-mix, only do a few at a time to prevent your fryer from turning into a School Science Fair Volcano project. Drain cauliflower on a paper towel lined plate. Replace oil as needed in fryer. Serve with dippy sauce of choice like hot sauce, ranch dressing, ketchup, etc.

Have any left over cream and mix? Hush Puppies! Combine the two together to create hush puppy batter. Fry it by the spoonful.




Eggplant in Garlic Sauce

Made this the other night. Eggplant is 99¢ a pound right now at my local Asian market so I’m buying them a lot this season. This is one of the veggie dishes found on Chinese menus that is okay for PKUers as long as they don’t over do it on its yummy and savory sauce (it does contain soy sauce). For my version, the aim is to preserve the flavor but making it more PKU friendly.

Tip: This is one of those dishes where it has a bold flavor.You can adjust the amount of garlic and chili pepper to your preferred taste. For me, I love it spicy hot and garlicky but Daniel is not as adventurous so my recipe is on the mild-medium side.

4 Chinese or Japanese Eggplant, sliced diagonally
1 tsp salt
Large bowl of water (big enough to soak the cut up eggplant)

Slice the eggplant into ¾ inch pieces. In a large bowl, place the eggplant and salt them. Add in the water to let them soak for about 15 mins. (This allows the eggplant to not absorb all the oil with we pan fry them.). Mine kept floating to the top so I had to give them a stir so they all had a good soak. Once time is up pat the slices dry.


Eggplant having a Spa day.

Next, get you wok hot and ready. I had mine on low medium heat and a light coating of oil. Frying in batches, place enough of the eggplant slices in a single layer and let them cook on each side for no more than 2 mins. As each batch is done, put them on a plate.


Last batch before the next step.

Time to work on the garlic sauce!

1 tbsp oil
½ tsp sesame oil
2-5 cloves garlic minced
1 inch piece ginger, sliced thinly
1-2 hot chili pepper(s) sliced diagonally
1 cup water or veggie stock
½ tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
½ tsp sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp water
dash of white pepper
Spring onion for garnish

In a small pan on low-medium heat, pour in your cooking oil and sesame oil. Once that is heated add in minced garlic, ginger and chili peppers (move them around with your utensil so the garlic doesn’t burn). Next add in the veggie stock/water, soy sauce, oyster sauce, Shaoxing wine and sugar. Once this heats up add in the cornstarch water mixture to thicken up your sauce. Add a dash of white pepper.


Mmmm garlicky!

Once your sauce is ready toss in your cooked eggplant and mix them into the sauce. Allow the eggplant to cook thoroughly and soften a bit. Sprinkle on the chopped spring onions. Serve with Low Pro imitation rice.




Mango Cobbler (Low Protein Version)

Gorgeous Spring day here and I have been looking forward to making this! Especially since I found fresh mangoes in my local Indian grocery store!!!! Yay!!! I used Ataulfo Mangoes. These can be hard to find when not in season. Many ethnic markets carry them and sometimes places like Costco do too. Another variety of mango called Kent can also be used (It’s a bit wider so less of them can be used, like about 6).


Ataulfo mangoes also know as Manila and Champagne mangoes. Super sweet and delicious on their own.

The recipe is very similar to the Mixed Fruit cobbler, but with a twist. Different fruit and different baking mix. This time I used Taste Connections instead of Cambrooke. The TC Multi mix produces an crumbly melt in your mouth biscuit crust.


Mango cobbler filling waiting for biscuit topping.

Tips: If you don’t want to do all the cutting, pre-cut mangoes can be used. Taste test a piece. My mangoes were VERY sweet, ripe and juicy,  so I didn’t need to add very much sugar.




8 ataulfo mangoes (about 4 cups) cubed
1 tsp sugar (if your fruit is on the tart side add more)
1 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp lemon juice
dash of cinnamon (optional)

Biscuit dough:
4 tbsp unsalted butter room temp
1 cup Taste Connections Multi Mix
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup Coffeemate creamer, regular flavor

Cut your mangoes. I prefer to cut them in thirds since there’s a big seed in the middle. Next take a spoon and scoop out the flesh from to the two side slices before I slice them in to cubes. If you want to or are able to, there’s quite a bit of flesh attached to the seed. Very carefully cut the mango away from it’s seed. It is slippery but also good for a snack later if you want to nibble the middle section of the mango. Cutting mangoes can be tedious since it’s slippery, sticky and very tempting to gobble up as you are cutting them. Pre-cut mango slices or cubed pieces are available in some stores if you prefer to use them.

In a sauce pan, mix the sugar and corn starch. Stir in the fruit and lemon juice. Keep stirring as the mixture heats up. Once it starts to thicken up and boil, remove from the stove top and pour the mixture into your square baking dish.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the butter into the baking mix. Add in the salt, baking powder and 1 tbsp of sugar. Stir in milk and knead the dough. My dough was on the watery side so I added more multi mix (roughly another ½ cup). Plop the dough on top on the warm fruit mixture. I like to shape mine into biscuits and place them side by side.

Bake for  25-30 mins until the the crust is golden brown. This is perfect as is, but can be served with whip cream or vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!



Ready to serve!

Taro and Mushroom Stuffed Eggplant

Another one of my favorite dim sum items is stuffed eggplant. For a PKU friendly version,  I replaced the minced shrimp with minced veggies. It doesn’t taste like shrimp, but is a nice substitute for it.


So fancy! I broke out my food processor!

Tip: You are going to need a food processor and steamer baskets for this.

Both taro and mushrooms get watery when minced. Your filling mixture needs to have the texture of ground meat. If it’s on the watery side, add mash potato flakes to thicken it up.

4 large Chinese eggplants, cut diagonally into 2 inch pieces with a slit in the center
Oil for frying
Water for steaming

1 small Taro (about 4 inches tall), cubed
4 oz Mushrooms, sliced
½ cup mash potato flakes (optional if mixture is watery)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp white pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp Shaoxing rice wine (dry sherry can be subbed)
2 spring onions finely chopped

In a food processor, toss in your cut up taro and mushrooms. Pulse it until the mixture is minced. Don’t over do it or it will liquidity. Remove mixture and put it into a bowl. Add in your seasonings. The filling needs to be thick, if it’s watery, add in the potato flakes to stiffen it up.


I promise it tastes better than it looks!

Time to assemble! Stuff the eggplant pieces. Don’t let the  stuffing over flow or it will seep out when cooking. In a pan add enough oil to coat the bottom add more oil as you go to keep the  eggplant from sticking to the pan. Cook both sides. Cover with a lid if needed to help cook thoroughly.


*sizzling noises*

Remove from pan and let it rest while we get our steamer set up. In a pot, add enough water for your steamer basket and get your pot steaming. When it is ready, gently and carefully place in the pan fried stuffed eggplant. Cover with the steamer and pot lids. Let this cook for 7-10 mins. The eggplant needs to be soft.


Ready to steam. This is one eggplant cut up and stuffed.


While this is steaming, lets work on our sauce.

1 tsp oil
½ tsp sesame oil
1-2 cloves garlic minced
½ cup water or veggie stock
½ tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
½ tsp sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp water
dash of white pepper
Spring onion for garnish

In a small pan on low-medium heat, pour in your cooking oil and sesame oil. Once that is heated add in minced garlic (careful, these burn easily). Next add in the veggie stock/water, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sugar. Once this heats up add in the cornstarch water mixture to thicken up your sauce.

Remove the eggplant from the steamer and plate it. Drizzle on the sauce to coat it and garnish with spring onions.



Perfect as dim sum or Friday night dinner.


Low Protein Veggie Jiaozi (Chinese Dumplings)

Adding to the PKU Dim Sum Menu and another versatile snack where the filling options are endless. I basically threw in the veggies that we had in the fridge for this one. Also there are two different wrapper skins. One that’s for steamed only and the other for steamed and pan fried.

The low pro baking mix ones can be made in large batches and frozen for later use! Makes great quick meals or lazy dinner options (even I have days where I don’t want to make anything). Place raw dumplings on a baking sheet lined with wax paper (keep from sticking) and place in the freezer. Once frozen they can be stored in a tupperware container or a freezer proof zip-lock bag. Shove it back into the freezer. When ready, cook them the same way as the fresh ones!


Pan fried version with the low protein baking mix dough and dippy sauce.

Tips: Anything can be used as filling for these. The jackfruit and mushroom filling for the Por-KU Buns are tasty too! For a more balanced cabbage to mushroom ratio, use 16 oz of mushrooms to 1 head of cabbage. The filling amount is enough to make both wrapper options and then some!

1 cabbage finely shredded
8 oz white mushrooms, minced
2 carrots, minced
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp white pepper
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp ginger powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp five spice powder
2 spring onions, chopped
oil for cooking

In a large pot, heat up your oil. Once warm, toss in the cabbage, mushrooms and carrots. Allow the cabbage to wilt  and soft a bit. Next add in both soy and oyster sauces, white pepper, onion, ginger, garlic and five spice powders. Let this cook thoroughly, stirring occasionally. Your veggies should be tender enough but not mushy (if it’s too hard, it’ll poke holes in the wrapper). Sprinkle chopped spring onions if desired)

While the filling is cooling, lets work on the dumpling wrappers.

As I said before, I made two different kinds that are PKU friendly. The first is a wheat starch wrapper that’s actually used for Har Gao (shrimp dumplings)! While shrimp is not low pro, the wrapper used for Har Gao is! YAY!!!!! The second is using a low pro baking mix to mimic wheat dough wrappers. To make the dumpling wrappers into flat circles, I use my tortilla press lined with wax paper. Super easy with low pro mixes, not to mention faster than a rolling pin.

Dough 1:
1 ½ cup wheat starch
1 cup boiling water
1 tbsp lard or veggie shortening

Mix ingredients together and knead into a smooth dough. Dough will be hot so be careful if you are mixing and kneading by hand. Separate dough into small balls. I managed to get about 20 wrappers (2½ inches diameter) out of this amount. Cover with cling wrap to prevent the dough from drying out as you assemble the dumplings.


Wheat starch dough is kinda sticky so make sure they do not stick together in the steamer.

Fold in 5-6 pleats on one side of the wrapper, place in your filling  and press together with  the unpleated side. Place on cabbage/parchment paper lined bamboo steamers. Heat up your pot with ½ a inch of water. Once the water is steaming,  add in your baskets and close the lid. Steam each set for 5 mins ONLY. Too long and the wrappers become brittle. Remove promptly, plate and serve with dippy sauces.



Great as an appetizer and also as a meal!

Dough 2:
3 cups Taste Connection Multi-mix
1½ cold water

Mix together the ingredients and knead into a smooth ball. Separate into small dough balls about an inch around. I got about 18-20 wrappers, 3 inches in diameter, out of it. These dumplings can be assembled the same way as the previous ones or press into half moon shapes. In a frying pan, heat up oil and place your dumplings in and fry each since evenly. (optional: if you want to pan fry-steam them add some water to the frying pan and cover the pan with lid). Plate it and serve with dippy sauces.


Pan fried goodness!

Dippy Sauce:
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tsp ketchup
1/8 tsp five spice powder
2 tbsp water
chili or sriracha sauce (optional for a spicier kick)

Mix together ingredients together. Sauce should be on the thin side, add a bit more water if needed. Sauce amount is enough for the entire plate of dumplings.