Dango with black rice pudding and salted rice milk

I love mango sticky rice. The stewed down rice with salty coconut milk and juicy mango, it’s a fun combination to play around with. For this particular recipe, I wanted to accentuate that classic Asian dessert by doing rice three ways, and mango two ways. For the rice, I used black rice and did a…

“Beautiful World”: a plated dessert

So I conceptualized this dessert around initially two flavors, being pistachio and olive oil. From there, I sort of expanded it to include rosemary and lemon, since I have fresh rosemary in my backyard, which has been blooming these beautiful flowers, and the lemon adds a nice acidity to counterbalance all of the other ingredients….

Something New: a plated dessert

I’ve been meaning to make this dessert for ages. I stumbled upon baobab(an African superfood fruit that tastes like citrus) when I was doing research on natural food colorings, and I was too curious for my own good to not buy a bag of baobab powder from Amazon and try baking it with. I have…

Sweet tofu panna cotta with chrysanthemum poached pear

I was mostly inspired by douhua, or sweet tofu soup, when I was conceptualizing this dessert. The idea of this silky sweet tofu that is swimming in a ginger-palm sugar-type of syrup just takes me back to Sundays at my local dim sum restaurant in Lomita(which sadly has since closed and been replaced by a…

Tsuki no Hikari wagashi

I really came up with this dessert because I was inspired by snow globes initially. I wanted to make this pretty snow globe wagashi situation, and that was what this would have been originally. But on the night I was making it, I looked up and saw a full moon peeking out of the clouds,…

Sea buckthorn torte

This cake is my homage to sachertorte. For those of you unaware of what that is, sachertorte is a Viennese chocolate cake that has a thin layer of apricot jam inside of it, and it is covered in a beautiful chocolate glaze. It is a highly technical and iconic cake to Austria, to the point…

Black sesame purin dorayaki

Dorayaki were one of the first wagashi I ever really came to adore. Mostly because being raised in America, I love pancakes, and dorayaki just being a pancake sandwich, was super appealing to me! I wanted to make a special dorayaki and I actually had this idea for over a year, but never was able…

“Worms and dirt”: a plated dessert

I mostly made this dessert because I was craving black rice pudding, and just felt like making it. So I made a take on it, being more like a custard. But I wanted to also make a conceptualized dessert out of it, and celebrate rice in general. So I thought about what else I could…

Eventide: a wagashi

I have been meaning to try making a mizugashi wagashi for a while. Mizugashi refers to clear water/translucent finish, which these desserts have. I really wanted to make one that was naturally colored, gluten-free, and vegan, just to embrace the beauty of nature, something that wagashi tries to embrace and capture. For mine, I used…

Uni-giri: an amuse bouche

So this was really the culmination of three of my favorite things to eat when I go to a sushi restaurant. Uni(sea urchin), rice, and eggs. And arguably, all three ingredients have wonderful synergy with one another, and definitely together. Raw eggs on rice is a staple in Japan, with the fluffy rice almost cooking…

Signal: a petit gateau

I was feeling a bit inspired the other day to try a new flavor of petit gateau. I saw so many geode cakes before, and this is my very loose take on that. I used kohakutou to garnish petit gateaus, but used a little bit of gold leaf as well to give them a more…

Sakura blooming: vegan macaron ice cream sandwiches

So the idea to make a vegan macaron sandwich came up a long while back, I think in December 2019. But I never really got a chance to make them, mostly because I was too lazy to buy a can of chickpeas to make aquafaba. But recently, a bunch of stars sort of aligned, and…

PB&J Layer Cake

So I came up with this concept after a quick chat with my friend Sam (you might remember him as the lawyer from my season of Masterchef). His son Jude’s 2nd birthday was coming up (it will actually be when I post this, so go and wish his son a happy birthday if you’re reading this!)…

“Princess cakes”: a petit gateau

Honestly, this dessert was inspired by me seeing a TON of these cute pink petit gateaus that were floating around on Instagram, made by pastry chefs at a Mandarin Oriental. This dessert in particular was on my to-do list for a hot second, but I had the pleasure of making it with my friend Ann…

Let’s go in the garden: a plated dish

For this dish, I really wanted to prepare something that conjured up nostalgic childhood memories. With lamb, it was something I grew up eating a lot of, because my parents loved it. With the garnish, I knew I wanted to do something that resembled vegetables sprouting out from the earth, and so I went with…

move mountains: a plated dessert

I have been watching a lot of new shows on Netflix lately. One of them in particular that I adore is a singing anime called “Carole and Tuesday” which features a ton of catchy tracks of varying genres. One song that stood out to me in particular was “Move Mountains”, mostly because of the message…

All Right: a plated olive oil cake

This dessert was inspired by three things. The fennel pollen-olive oil cake that Kristen Kish never got to serve in her finale for Top Chef, Northern Californian olive oil my friend David gifted to me that has pleasant and fragrant grassy notes, and finally the song All Right by Koda Kumi, which ties in with…

Making my way: a plated dessert

As I do have a habit of naming my desserts after songs and lyrics, it is very easy to assume I named this one after “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton. And I don’t blame you if you think that, because that is a touching song and it reminds me of White Chicks, a movie that…

Got me going’: a plated dessert

Back when I was thinking of signature dishes for MasterChef, this was one of the four that I came up with, being a back-up dessert to my chocolate cake. Normally, when you think of a signature dessert, you’d think like a cake, tart, cream puff, something where a dough or batter takes the center stage….

Thai tea-coconut cheesecake

The combination of Thai tea and coconut milk is an absolute no-brainer. I had made a similar dessert to this about a year ago, actually. But for this rendition, I really wanted to make something a bit more presentable (and with the cross section not resembling a hot dog), so I kind of figured that…