Hanami cake

Hanami roughly translates into “flower viewing” from Japanese. It usually refers to the blooming of cherry blossoms, or sakura, in early April, and signifies new beginnings. One thing I love about hanami, besides how gorgeous the cherry blossom-filled skies look during that time of year, is of course the desserts that come with it. Cherry…

Koji-fried chicken with chili honey

Over the past year, koji became one of my favorite ingredients. For those unfamiliar with it, koji is a type of bacteria or fungus that grows on rice or grains. It is used as a culture in Japanese cooking to ferment soybeans into miso paste. Because it is a fungus, koji contains natural umami in…

Furikake(seaweed-sesame) cookies

I feel like this recipe would raise a lot of eyebrows. For those unfamiliar with it, furikake is a Japanese seasoning mix, usually made of seaweed and sesame seeds. It is sprinkled on rice to give the it more flavor and a little bit of texture. Furikake is also popular with Hawaiian poke as well!…

Karaage lollipops with mole colorado and yuzu sunomono

When it came to parts of the chicken you would find in an upscale restaurant, I found that almost nobody felt that a chicken wing was fine-dining worthy. So I wanted to tackle that, and try to class up chicken wings a little bit. Mostly because they are delicious, have tons of flavor, and need…

Tahini panna cotta with soy sauce caramel

So I made a riff on this dessert about a year ago for a digital cook-along event for the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester, Minnesota(thank you, Shari for inviting me to do this!). For them, I did a demo on a dessert, which would be delivered to those who participated. For the dessert that…

“Rebirth”: a plated dessert

With this dessert, I was going for that phoenix from the ashes motif, but using all gluten-free and vegan ingredients! During the peak of 2020 quarantining, when everyone hogged all of the flour, eggs, and butter, I had to pivot and learn how to make desserts without any of those things, and this is really…

Tofu ice cream with tofu water meringue

So this would not be the first tofu ice cream recipe I have made. However, it would be the first where I do not use coconut milk – that makes a huge difference in the actual flavor of the ice cream, as coconut milk, while it does contain the necessary fat to create creamy vegan…

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…

Milk bread gua bao

So I had been reading the Mr. Jiu’s cookbook recently, and something that inspired me was seeing them take milk bread dough and turning that into buns. I have done something like that before with my “Fred bread”, but seeing it done by a restaurant that I really look up to just validates my decisions…

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…

Chocolate and kinako blanc manger

This was honestly one of the simplest desserts I have made in a while. Mostly because I made it to get rid of some spare ingredients I had lying around. I love blanc manger, which is a set milk-based mousse, similar to panna cotta. The key difference is that blanc manger uses starch to set…

Chawanmushi with edamame, mushrooms, and radishes

So I actually made this dish for my parents on their anniversary. What had happened was that they were out playing golf, but they did not have any dinner plans, or even anything special planned. I didn’t realize this until maybe 4pm, so I decided that I would make them at least something special to…

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…

Pork and vegetable fried rice

No matter who you ask, one of the first Chinese dishes anyone has any exposure to is fried rice. It is a quintessential Chinese dish! So many different varieties too, truthfully. For me, it always starts with cooking a thin layer of egg, then breaking it up and stirring in my already-cooked rice into that….

Pork and mushroom san choy bau

I feel like san choy bau is a Chinese dish a lot of people have either eaten or seen, but they did not know the same of. It is basically a lettuce wrap, with minced and stir-fried meat inside. It is such a simple recipe, as with most Chinese dishes, but it is one of…

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…

Counting stars: a plated dessert

I actually came up with this concept when I was testing a dessert recipe for an upcoming pop-up in Dallas. Unfortunately, the test run didn’t necessarily go as planned, but I didn’t want to throw away the ingredients, so I shifted gears, and went with a rice pudding instead. What I love about rice pudding…

Tofu steak: a childhood favorite

One of the best things I ever ate growing up was the tofu steak at Kappo Seafood in Torrance. It was this crunchy, creamy, deep fried block of tofu with mushrooms that were stewed in a sukiyaki-type of sauce, served with bonito flakes and scallions. I still remember ordering it as a kid, just out…

Dou Jiang inspired dumplings

I literally came up with this dumpling while I was driving to Milkbar one Saturday morning. I was craving Chinese brunch, and I remember eating dou jiang, or warm sweetened soy bean milk, with youtiao, or kruellers. For those of you who aren’t familiar with soy bean milk, it’s Chinese soy milk. Unlike the Silk…

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…