Butterscotch and purple yam wool bread

These have been a brainchild of mine for a while – I wanted to make a fluffy, Chinese-style pastry with a baked yam filling since 2018 actually. But I was lazy. The idea of peeling and steaming yam and then mashing it sounded tedious. But then I realized, why not just microwave the yam? It’s…

Pearl in Hiding: a plated dish

So this was one of the five dishes I made for my “Namie” pop-up dinner during the summer for my friends from 4Foodie(special shoutout to Kate and Victoria for the amazing photos from this!). Originally, it was just going to be three dishes, but I extended it to five, and this was a super last-minute(two…

Salt and pepper pork chop with egg noodles

I feel like when it comes to savory cooking, I have a tendency to gravitate towards similar components – a seared protein, some sort of vegetable, some sort of starch, and a sauce. This would be no different to that. In fact, it would be 100% that. I wanted to do a lighter take on…

Tangzhong noodles with miso-sesame dressing and Thai chilies

After I made boba from scratch, I had a bizarre epiphany – if I were to cook flour with water into a gelatinous paste, and use that to make noodles, would they come out super chewy? When you are making boba, you do that process with water and tapioca flour to gelatinize the starch, resulting…

Red bean doughnuts(an-doughnut) with roasted miso sugar

These doughnuts were inspired by an-doughnuts(red bean doughnuts) that I found in my local Japanese grocery store. The doughnuts that I purchased were a cake doughnut base with a chunkier red bean paste(called tsubu-an) in the middle, finished with granulated sugar around it. While I liked the concept of it, I felt like there was…

Apple butter daifuku

I made these a while ago when I went apple picking and cider pressing with some friends! I wanted to use the apples and cider in a fun or creative way, and that’s when the idea to make daifuku, or stuffed mochi came from. Typically, daifuku is stuffed with red bean paste, but in my…

Miso hojicha cookies with milk tea jam

I feel like one thing that I came come to love making during quarantine and social distancing is miso-hojicha sugar. It is honestly like a miracle ingredient, just because it is sweet, salty, creamy, toasty and smoky. Honestly, it’s a perfect ingredient to use in many desserts, and I used them in these cookies just…

Plated devil’s food cake

I was playing around with a new silicone bar mold that I just bought, and that’s where this dessert came from. Well, that and me wanting to make a dessert that was inspired by chocolate and tofu. We have a chocolate cake with a tofu-chocolate mousse, soy caramel ganache, cocoa praline, and a tofu ice…

Duck fat-grilled onigiri

These rice balls were just a way for me to utilize a bucketload of leftover brown rice. With rice of any kind, it can be very bland. In the case of brown rice, that is no exception. I knew that I had to inject as much flavor as I could into it, so I wanted…

“番茄炒蛋”: a plated dish

番茄炒蛋, or tomato-fried eggs, are a childhood staple for me, and probably every Chinese/Taiwanese person. Simply put, it’s scrambled eggs with tomato, topped with scallions and/or cilantro. A very humble dish, and because of that, a great blank canvas/ inspiration for a prettier, more complex one. My mom’s version included ginger, since it provided a…

Miso apple pie sticky buns with Calpico cream

So the flavors of this dessert came about from a lot of random things coming together. While in quarantine, I have limited amounts of butter and flour, so I was conceptualizing something where I could combine concepts to not only be original, but to conserve my supplies while hitting on all of the cravings that…

Echoes of seashells: a plated dish

One of my favorite proteins to cook is clams. They’re juicy, succulent, full of beautiful, ocean-y brine, and they lend themselves well to flavoring anything that they’re cooked in because of that. For this particular dish, I wanted to make something that captures the delicate nature of seafood in general, while packing a huge punch…

Frangipane, chocolate, and miso de leche babka

I actually never made babka before making it for this specific recipe. I really just was inspired to make it because I love using yeast-leavened doughs, and this one seemed really fun and playful to make, with all of the different layers of bread and chocolate. Traditionally, babka is like a brioche that is layered…

“Friends in my heart”: a plated dish

This dish was inspired by my MasterChef journey (only the season 10 part, not the very short-lived seasons 8 or 9 parts LOL). I had met two people I became extremely close to, being a young lady from Texas named Mollie, and a guy from Sacramento named David. After I got a certain stage in…

“Shines Forever”: my signature malted chocolate cake

This chocolate cake recipe is the very same chocolate cake that actually won me my white apron in season 10 of the American version of MasterChef! During the casting process, we had to submit four signature dishes that we could make in 45 minutes, and this was the one I had practiced the most (before…

Peanut milk panna cotta

The concept of this dessert came about when I was thinking about childhood favorites. Growing up in an immigrant family, we had this milk peanut soup dessert from a can that we would often enjoy during the summer. It was almost like a sweetened milk with these peeled and poached peanuts inside of it, which…

Miso butterscotch tarte tatin-financier

This was a hodgepodge of different French desserts, tied together with Japanese miso and Chinese ginger. Honestly, the inspiration came about from having a shit-ton of apples and pears in my fridge that I needed to get rid of, so I got creative with how I wanted to do that. I remember seeing a Korean…

Miso-butterscotch-togarashi mochi ice cream

This recipe was inspired by a dish I tasted during the Spring Break of my freshman year. It was at Hinoki and the Bird, a restaurant in Century City, and the dessert itself, it sounded really gross. I’ve had terrible miso dessert experiences in the past, such as this miso creme brûlée that tasted like spray…