Homemade Maccha Pocky

by Dory on June 12, 2014

in Japanese, Snacks

If you’ve shopped in an Asian grocery before, chances are you have seen or tried POCKY snacks. These chocolate dipped thin pretzel sticks are often available in their chocolate or strawberry flavor. Recently, the Korean grocery in my neighborhood started carrying Maccha flavored POCKY. I liked them a lot but they cost ($2.47) for the small package of small skinny sticks that they came in. I can easily go through 3 packages and still feel unsatisfied. Hence, I decided to try making larger POCKY versions.

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The ingredients are quite simple but the process takes a little more TLC. Below are the main ingredients. You can find Italian bread sticks from regular grocery stores. My maccha tea powder are from amazon but you can probably find them in larger Asian grocery stores or Japanese stores.

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To get started, combine 1 tbsp of maccha powder with 1 tsp of vegetable oil. Set aside. The most time consuming process in making Maccha POCKY is melting 1 cup white chocolate, constantly stirring slowly. Here’s how you melt white chocolate.

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After the white chocolate is melted, add the maccha oil mixture. Add more if you prefer a stronger maccha flavor. Note: the color light green color of white chocolate looks yummy!

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Pour the melted chocolate in a narrow tall cup or glass and get ready to dip the breadsticks! Make sure you have paper towels handy. This can be messy …fun with chocolate dripping. It takes 1 hour for chocolate to completely dry but 15 minutes is good enough for everyone to enjoy it!

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DIY Project: Bookshelves

by Dory on April 20, 2014

in Other

This weekend is great. I’ve finally found a cheap way to display my cookbooks (I don’t have that many!) in my living room after nearly two years moving in. I dreallidn’t want to buy a new bookshelves because I really don’t have that many books to put up and second, I really hate having to carry and transport heavy furniture. Yeah, I’m not interested in paying for delivery either. Thank God there’s Pinterest! I found this simply and cheap way of making bookshelves out of wooden box. I originally wanted to use this idea and make an ottoman, but I decided to make that at another time by repurposing an old coffee table.

This DIY bookshelves project took only about 30 minutes to make and about an hour try dry (maybe 2 hours to completely dry without the paint smell).

Okay, here are the two wooden boxes I got from Michael’s ($14 each plus 30% off from online coupon).

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Initially, I didn’t think of using a drill to secure the boxes with screws, so I just used staple guns. The screw would be the better way to tightly secure them.

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I also got a can of white spray paint was $3.50 from Home Depot and spray painted the boxes. Remember to put cardboard or newspaper so I don’t end up having paint on the ground.

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Now, I used a drill to add screw and connect the boxes tightly. I could have skipped the staples and went straight to using screws.

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Let the paint dry for 1 – 2 hours and voila! Here’s my new bookshelves! I’ll probably add wheels to it later and another box to make it look a bit longer and make it serve as a media console too. :)

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Hunan Spicy Ribs

by Dory on April 15, 2014

in Chinese, Hunan

I miss Shanghai, terribly. It’s been almost 4 years since I visited this beautiful city. It’s the first and only city I’ve visited in China (so far). The most memorable about Shanghai to me is the amazing food. Recently I stumbled upon Fiona’s blog about all Shanghai street food and it made me miss the place even more. I’ve tasted a variety of new food in Shanghai but aside from their breakfast jian bing, I’d say the most impressionable food I’ve had is the Hunan Spicy Ribs from Di Shui Dong Restaurant that my friend Viki took me too. Although I didn’t have the right camera gear to take pictures and capture the ambiance of the place and these amazing ribs, it certainly left a deep impression that I still remember how it tasted.

Here’s recipe that I’ve found online and tweaked. The only thing that would make it taste exactly like the ribs in Di Shui Dong Restaurant is the “wok hei” which can be achieved by cooking in very high flame. The total time to prepare and cook the ribs is a bit longer than what I normally would prefer but it is undeniably worth it.

I hope you will try it too and then let me know if turned out great for you as well.

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Ingredients FOR MAKING THE STOCK:

6 cups Water
3 cloves of garlic Sliced
1 knob of ginger sliced
1 small handful green onion (ends only)
1 stick cinnamon stick
3 star anise
1 1/2 c light soy sauce
1 1/2 c Shoaxing wine (Chinese cooking wine)
75 g Chinese rock sugar

Ingredients for MARINADE and SPICE COATING

1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or good medium-dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon potato starch or cornflour
1 3/4 cups peanut oil
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
2 fresh red chilies, seeded and finely chopped
2 to 4 teaspoons dried chili flakes
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
Salt
2 spring onions, green parts only, finely sliced
1 teaspoon sesame oil

STEPS:

Fill your stockpot with water. Add the stock ingredients together and bring to a boil. Once stock is boiling, turn down the flame to low and add the ribs.
Simmer the ribs for 1 – 2 hours, switch off the pot and leave for 30 mins.
Transfer ribs to a dish and cool in the fridge. (I left mine in fridge overnight)

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In a bowl, mix the wine, salt, soy sauces, flour and one tablespoon water. Add cooled ribs to marinade.

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In a wok, heat peanut oil. Add ribs and stir gently for two to three minutes, then remove from oil with tongs and drain ribs well.
Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of oil from the wok.

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Now is where the magic begins, Over a high flame, add the ginger, garlic, fresh chilies, chili flakes and cumin seeds to the work and stir-fry briefly, until spices are fragrant. (DO NOT cook too long or spices will taste burnt!). Return ribs to the wok and stir well, season with salt to taste.

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Honey Castella Cake (Kasutera)

by Dory on April 12, 2014

in Japanese

Hello! It’s cherry blossom season once again here in Washington DC! I’ve had enough of the loooong bad winter we had this year and I just can’t wait to go out and enjoy the awesome weather that’s finally here!  Earlier this week, we went to see the cherry blossom trees in full bloom around the tidal basin. It’s fun to see so many tourists visit and enjoying one of the best time of the year.  I got so inspired with the lovely cherry blossom trees it made me want to make something Japanese.

Here’s my first try in making castella cake. It’s soft like sponge cake! I always see these in Korean bakery and love them. Check out how I made them and try em too!
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Ingredients

85 g egg whites
60 g sugar
60 g egg yolks
20 g honey
60 g bread flour
20 g whole  milk

The first step to making castella is meringue.  With a mixer, I whisked 85 g of egg whites (roughly 3-4 eggs) until the bubbles become some. Then, slowly add sugar and continue whisking (in medium – fast speed) until the meringue reaches firm peak (see image below). Next, add 60 g egg yolks one at a time.

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Next, add 60 g egg yolks one at a time. At this time, the batter start becoming creamy.  Remember  to whisk only in one direction.

Next, add 20 honey and whisk again.

Then, sift 30 g of bread flour into the mixture and mix.  Add the rest of the flour in and mix.

Lastly, add 20 g milk.

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Neatly place parchment paper inside a baking pan, then pour the batter.

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Place the batter in a preheated oven at 320F and bake for 35 minutes.   After 35 minutes, take it out of  the even and tap on wooden surface three times to stop the cake from shrinking :)

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Let the cake cool down for about 10 minutes and slowly slice all four sides of the cake like a traditional castella cake. (see next two images below) except the top part.

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The top of my castella cake got slightly messed up because I didn’t wait long enough to let it cool down.  Nonetheless, I loved how it tasted and the texture is moist and soft!

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Ginger and Brown Sugar Cake

by Dory on April 5, 2014

in Chinese, Dessert

Ginger and Brown Sugar Cake

Ingredients:

glutinous rice flour 450 g
sweet rice flour 100 g
fresh coconut milk 190 g
brown sugar 380 g
canola oil 30 g
Water 140 g
ginger 340 grams

1. Chop ginger into one inch small pieces and rinse off to clean. Add the ginger pieces and water in a food blender and puree into a pulp.
2. Place the pulp in a cheese cloth and squeeze out the ginger juice, until the ginger is left dry.
3. In a pot over medium heat, combine the brown sugar, ginger juice, coconut milk, oil and stir. There is no need to cook until it’s boiling, it just needs to be hot.
4. Turn on kitchen mixer to medium speed then add the flours and gradually pour the brown sugar ginger juice mixture (from #3). Mix for about 5 minutes, before lowering to slow speed to mix for another 7 minutes. Turn off the mixer and strain the mixture/batter.
5. Pour mixture into oiled baking pans until about ninety percent full.
6. Steam in medium heat for two hours and turn off the heat.
7. Cool down the cake before serving.

 

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Crispy Lemongrass Chicken Spring Rolls

by Dory January 19, 2014

I got this idea of making lemongrass chicken spring roll from Trader Joe’s. I saw a packet that they are selling for around $4.99. I ask, why not make it myself? I’ve made the dish before with Bee’s recand aside from making the sugar syrup, all the other steps are easy. So, I’ve substituted the [...]

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The Black Sheep

by Dory December 25, 2013

After 10 years in Virginia, I finally visit the capital-Richmond. Beats me why it took me this long. I guess I just never knew the city has so much to offer aside from history. Richmond, turns out has lot of great local restaurants. I was in the area apartment hunting with a friend who went [...]

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Lychee Pork Chop 荔枝肉

by Dory November 2, 2013

I came across this dish while I was looking for a dish from Fu zhou province in China.  Lychee Pork Chop is said to have been around for about two to three hundred years.   This dish tastes nothing like the fruit, in fact I just added lychee fruit in my version. The local Fu [...]

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Pickled Vegetable with Pork 梅菜扣肉

by Dory August 5, 2013

Pickled Vegetable with Pork 梅菜扣肉 is one of my favorite comfort food. Many of my Cantonese friends also love it! Be warned, it is fatty and highly addicting AND it must be eaten with steaming hot white rice.  If you cook Asian cuisine often, you probably have most of the ingredients for this dish already [...]

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Sticky Rice with Chicken in Lotus Leaves

by Dory July 13, 2013

This week I decided to make something that I haven’t tried to cook with before – lotus leaves. I see and hear a lot about lotus in Chinese arts and culture from watching gazillion of Chinese historical dramas growing up and I’ve seen it used in some Chinese cooking. Lotus leaves gives off a subtle [...]

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