Archive for February, 2010

28th February
written by Cleone

Red bean cake

Many Asian cultures have their own version of dishes made with glutinous rice flour.  Mochi is very popular in Hawaii due to the large Japanese population.  I love little mochi balls on my frozen yogurt or shave ice.  I also love colorful flavored mochi, which I recently discovered.  I love mochi, or rice balls, mainly because of its chewy texture.

The Chinese have rice cakes which are long, thick pieces of cake made with rice flour.  Usually they are cut on the diagonal and stir fried with pork or chicken, vegetables, and soy sauce.  I always loved this dish, again mainly for the chewiness of the rice cakes.  The Koreans have something similar called dukk, but the cakes are thinner and about 4 inches long.  I have had it cut up in soup or stir fried whole with fish cake and smothered with gochujang, which is a Korean red chili paste.  I love dukk as well.

Sweet or savory, I pretty much like anything made of rice with a good chew.  Growing up, my mom made a sweet rice cake on occasion.  I forgot about them until I recently received an email from Aunt Lulu with the recipe attached.  I even skyped on three way with my mom and Aunt Lulu to discuss the recipe so I don’t mess it up on the first try.  This is the way we conference nowadays, which is wonderful because I am so far away.



This cake is baked in layers

Brown spots. It's done!

I like this recipe and the cake came out really good.  It does yield a pretty big cake and it is quite filling.  I can only have a half inch piece at a time.  With leftovers, my mom suggests heating it in the microwave for a few seconds.  I recommend 15 seconds at most.

(Adapted from a recipe from my mom and aunt)

1 1/2 cup glutinous rice flour (also called sweet rice flour)
1 cup rice flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3 cup milk
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 portion Red Bean Paste (about 1 cup)

Method 1:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Oil and flour one 9″ round cake pan. A Pyrex glass baking dish works well too.
3. Mix well together glutinous rice flour, rice flour, sugar, and baking powder.
4. In separate bowl, beat egg, milk, and oil until well combined. Add to dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
5. Pour 1/2 of the batter into prepared cake pan and bake 15 minutes.
6. Remove from oven, place Red Bean Paste onto middle of cake spreading to within 3/4 inch to side of pan.
7. Pour the rest of the batter on top of the red bean paste and return to the oven and bake another 30 minutes or until cake is set and lightly browned. Use a toothpick to test if the batter is cooked completely.

Method 2:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Oil and flour two 6-cup large muffin tins.
3. Put 11/2 tbsp of batter into each muffin cup, bake for 8 minutes.
4. Separate 1 portion of Red Bean Paste into 12 parts.
5. Using a small spatula, shape each into a 1 inch disk, place on top of each cake leaving space between paste and tin, evenly spread remaining batter over top of paste and bake for another 20 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick.

25th February
written by Cleone

Sesame noodles

Growing up, my mom occasionally made cold noodles with a peanut sauce.  I always enjoyed these noodles, especially on a hot NYC day.  It was hot today in Hawaii (apologies to my East coast friends who are currently experiencing a Nor’easter.  I don’t mean to rub it in…I swear!) and I was craving these noodles.  So I emailed my mom and Aunt Lulu who I have been sharing tried and true family recipes with lately.  They both replied with some general guidelines but without any portion sizes or measurements!   Apparently, this is a dish my grandfather used to make when my mom and her six sisters were growing up.

A lot of family recipes are just thrown together from memory.  Unfortunately, there hasn’t been good documentation, resulting in my emails to my mom and Aunt Lulu requesting instruction.  Aunt Lulu has been putting great effort in digging deep into her memory vault and writing down these much loved recipes from our childhood.  We need to pass these onto the next generation and keep our culture and heritage alive.   Hopefully I will be able to preserve some of it on this blog.  However, I must point out that living in Hawaii, there are challenges in finding some of the original ingredients that this recipe calls for.  My mom and aunt provided substitution suggestions which did not change the results much from how I remember the dish to taste.  Right on!


Also, since I didn’t have any measurements available to me, I kind of just winged it.  The peanut sauce is a bit of trial and error so make sure to taste it before tossing with the noodles.  You may like it a little tangier which means more vinegar or you might like it more peanut butterier which means less vinegar.

The meal came out pretty tasty.  AM really enjoyed it and said it tastes like the ones he has tried here in Hawaii but it tastes better and fresher because it is homemade.  We especially enjoyed the cucumbers mixed in because it adds a fresh taste to the dish as well as a crunchy texture.  For me, it brings back a nice memory of a childhood treat!

The secret ingredient

Peanut sauce

(Family recipe)

Serving size: 2 to 4

1 package of fresh or dried noodles, such as soba or thin Chinese noodles (I used fresh Hawaii made saimin)
1/4 cup sesame oil, including 2 tablespoons for the noodles
2 tablespoons peanut butter, smooth or crunchy (I used Skippy brand smooth)
1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese dark malt vinegar (If you can find it, otherwise, use balsamic vinegar)
1 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce
Pinch of sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cucumber, julienned
Light drizzle of chili oil (optional)

1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the noodles for about 6 minutes. Stir the noodles so they do not clump together. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, toss with sesame oil.
2. For peanut sauce, in a deep bowl, whisk together peanut butter, light soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil.
3. Beat egg as if scrambling. Pour egg in a saute pan and let cook for 2 minutes on medium high heat. Flip and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove onto cutting board and cut into long thin slivers.
4. Place a serving size portion of the noodles into a bowl and toss with peanut sauce. Add cucumber and egg.

Note: The 1 package of saimin I used contained 2 big servings. Since noodles are packaged in varying portions, you will have to use your judgment on how many packages of noodles you want to cook.  Also, you can add shredded steamed chicken if you like some meat with the dish.

22nd February
written by Cleone

Two thighs

After I got home from work today and did my workout, I did not feel like cooking.  I had some chicken thighs defrosting but no real plans for it.  AM jumped at the chance to make something tasty and easy.  I can always count on him to pick up my slack…haha.

He likes to just throw stuff together and experiment.  He’s that type of cook.  I’m more by the book and like to read and follow recipes, but making it my own by substituting ingredients or changing up the proportions or both.  Tonight I was just not in the mood so AM took charge in the kitchen!  He usually comes up with simple meals that can be replicated easily.  Tonight was a prime example of this.  Oh, and welcome to our Quick & Easy recipe series.  Enjoy!

Pan frying

(Recipe by AM)

Serving size: 2-4

4 medium size chicken thighs or large drumsticks
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
1 tablespoon garlic powder
pinch of salt

1. Rub chicken thighs with rosemary, garlic powder, and salt.
2. In a saute pan, add oil, on medium.
3. Once oil is hot, add the chicken thighs to pan.
4. Cook about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
5. Flip the chicken and cook another 10 minutes or until golden brown.
6. Flip again and cook another 5-10 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Chicken should not be pink or bloody.

On a side note:  I just purchased a new lens for my camera.  Hopefully the pictures will be better going forward, starting with this entry.

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