I could talk for hours after hours about my love for Taiwan; from its mountains and seas to its night market and decadent dishes, there is just something so impeccable about this island. Taiwanese snack foods have become a billion dollar industry all over the world, from bubble tea, to bubble waffles, from Asian bakery bread to braised pork rice… people of all colors love Taiwanese snack food. With that being said, there’s much more to Taiwanese food than bubble tea and bread. I’m ecstatic to share a Taiwanese specialty called “Tri Color Egg”. The three colors are black, yellow, and white. As you may have guessed, yellow and egg come from an egg (of course), but what about the color black? There’s a unique oriental egg called the “century egg” which CNN and many other news outlet report as one of the most disgusting foods ever. It’s such a wonder how tastebuds differ from people to people, because I think the century egg is delightful. Perhaps growing up with the egg in my cuisine has been an advantage, but it’s really not as foul as it sounds. It looks horrid, like something the devil would produce, with its translucent black outer skin and its gooey, vomit-like yolk, but I recommend everyone to be adventurous and try it!
Perhaps you’ve been grossed out and don’t want to read anymore….. but tricolor egg is a beautiful dish that will WOW your friends and family. Come on, give it a try 🙂
Tri Color Egg
yield: (9 x 9 x 2 in circle or square cake pan)
Special equipment: steamer OR a large wok-like pan to steam, steamable plastic wrap, cake pan or casserole pan
- 10 eggs
- 3 century eggs
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp michiu (rice cooking wine)
- 8 tbsp water
- Line the cake pan with steamable plastic to prevent the egg from sticking.
- Separate the 10 egg yolks from white. In the egg whites, combine 1/2 tbsp sea salt, 1/2 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp michiu, and 4 tbsp water. Whisk until combined, but do not whisk until too frothy.
- Pour the whites into the cake pan. Cut each century egg into 8-10 long slices and line them in horizontal lines in the egg whites. Steam the egg covered on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, or until the edges have hardened and the middle is still jiggly.
- While the whites are steaming, whisk the egg yolks and add 1/2 tbsp sea salt, 1/2 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp michiu, and 4 tbsp water. Take a chopstick or skewer and poke small holes on the edges all around the egg whites to release some steam and so that the egg yolk does not separate from the egg whites when poured in. Pour the egg yolk onto the egg whites and then let the eggs steam covered, on low for an additional 10-15 minutes.
- Once complete, remove the eggs from the steamer and let it cool for an hour before serving. when slicing the eggs, you want to slice vertically or against the way the century eggs were placed. Since the century eggs were placed horizontally, cut the eggs vertically to get the bejeweled effect from the century eggs.
Tri color eggs are best eaten with rice or noodles, accompanied by vegetables and other dishes!
Who doesn’t like pasta? It’s practically the noodle version of pizza, and if you dislike pizza, you should go get your tastebuds checked… like right now. Yikes! That was totally rude and I’m joking, but seriously!! As an Italian food lover, I prefer pasta over pizza in that the varieties of noodles and sauces are infinite. The Italians utilize different ingredients to create divers colors, flavors, and shapes of pasta and I am beginning to explore the world of noodles, by making them by hand.
I’ve only eaten handmade pasta noodles a few times, with my favorite, so far, being Patrizi’s , a hole in the wall restaurant in Austin, Texas. Handmade noodles are a game-changer. I disliked splurging on them because it’ll cost about $5-6 more and my mentality is driven by value. Thoughts in my mind may look like: “Buy store brand; same quality but cheaper” OR “why go to that restaurant when you get more bang for your buck at this one”. I balance value and quality, but when it comes to pasta, I have indeed concluded that handmade, fresh pasta is worth the extra bucks. Why? Well, for a few reasons that I shall note below:
1.) It’s chewy and tender, considering that it contains eggs and has a higher moisture content.
2.) It has more flavor because it absorbs sauces better and has a rougher texture that’ll trap sauces and seasonings in its minute crevices.
3.) It’s better for you; dried pasta comes with additives and preservatives to fortify the product. While the fortifiers aren’t fully harmful, I like to steer away from additives as much as possible.
Storing dried pasta in the pantry is difficult and it often gets chewed up by flour weevils. I no longer have any more dry pasta in the house, and am ready to make fresh pasta from now on. It’s cheap, simple, and the only tool you need is a wooden rolling pin, which I got from Chinatown for $1 🙂 Promise me, handmade pasta will change the way you eat Italian food.
Handmade Ricotta Ravioli
yield: 20 ravioli
- 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour PLUS approx 1/4 c. more for kneading and flouring surface
- 1 egg
- 1/4 c. lukewarm water
- 1/4 tsp egg
- 3/4 c. ricotta cheese
- 1/4 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 egg
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- pinch pepper
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning OR 1 tsp fresh chopped Italian herbs (rosemary, basil, thyme)
- pinch nutmeg
- 1/8 c. frozen spinach, thawed + pat dry
- To make the filling, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix until incorporated.
- To make the dough, pour all the flour onto a clean surface and make a well. Crack the egg into it and beat with a fork, carefully working in the flour gradually.
- Once the mixture is chunky and dry, gradually pour in the warm water and combine the mixture with your hands. Keep working all the water in until the dough is sticky and incorporated.
- Gradually dust board with additional flour, and kneading dough ball at the same time. Continue kneading for about 8 minutes until the dough is sticky, but not too sticky that it sticks to your fingers.
- Wrap in clingwrap or place in a bowl with a damp paper towel and let dough rest for 15 minutes.
- Once dough has rested, lightly flour a surface and cut the dough in half. Making the dough can be done in many ways, but due to limited counter space, this is how I did it: Roll one half of the dough using a floured rolling pin into a long rectangle, until it is thin, almost enough so the dough is see through, but just ALMOST. We don’t want the dough to break. Carefully remove the dough and place on piece of parchment paper of non-stick baking mat.
- Lightly flour the work surface again and roll out the second half of dough in the same manner and size. Dollop the filling, about 1 tsp onto the dough as shown below. Once finished, place the second rolled out dough sheet and place over the first dough and its filling. Seal the edges with your fingers. Seal tightly so the filling does not come out.
- Using a knife, pizza cutter, or a cucumber slicer (like I used), cut the edges of the ravioli to form the squares. Set the ravioli on a floured on non-stick surface and allow them to dry for 45 min. Excess dough can be re-rolled to make more ravioli, or thrown in as pasta.
- Once ravioli has been set out for 45 min, boil a pot of water with 1/2 tsp salt. When the water is boiling, throw in the ravioli and let them cook for approx. 6-8 min, or until dough becomes see through.
- Serve the ravioli fresh with your favorite pasta sauce and fresh herbs. I made a crema rosa sauce, which I will be posting a recipe tomorrow! Watch out for it:)
As I traveled through Germany and crossed into the most expensive country in the world (Switzerland), my already-prodigious adoration for mother earth grew even more. From sky-high snow caps to clear sheets of ice ideal for ice skating, the two countries had set the backdrop for cloud 9. Winter’s light and shimmering dust falling from a cloudy sky are things you dream of, and seeing the scene as reality was heart-warming. Thank you Germany and Switzerland for warming my heart in such an unforgiving cold.
Watch my highlights from my 10 day trip that wrapped up 2017 and rang in 2018. ❤
- Mt. Titlis
- Engelberg, Switzerland
- Rothenburg, Germany
- Titisee Neudstadt
- Heidelberg, Germany
- Luzern, Switzerland
- Zurich, Switzlerland
- Riviere-Nipissis, France
- Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
Have any questions about travelling in Germany and Switzerland? Leave comments below OR posts recalling my travels along with tips will be coming soong 🙂
It is quite exhilarating to know that mochi has been exponentially gaining popularity among the Western population, especially as a frozen yogurt topping. But mochi is a fabulous ingredient that adds great texture to many foods, so a combination of a mochi and donut couldn’t possibly go wrong, right? Indeed, the addition of mochi upgrades the texture and interior appearance of these delicate and delightful desserts.
Today I made matcha flavored donut holes simply because I’ve had a large bag of matcha powder in my pantry that I don’t use enough of, but other flavor ideas include chocolate (cocoa powder), peanut butter (PB2 powdered peanut butter), almond (almond extract), and much more. The recipe makes approximately 40 donut holes, but I must warn you, you may only end with 30 donut holes due to excess “sampling” whilst frying. Or, at least, that is what my uncontrollable self did… I actually consumed 10 donut holes within a span of 10 minutes or so, but they were far too addicting!
Matcha Mochi Donut Holes (GF + Vegan)
(Scroll below recipe for step pictures)
yield: 40 donut holes
- 1/4 c. sweet rice flour
- 2 1/2 tbsp. unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 1 1/2 c. sweet rice flour
- 1/3 c. unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 2 tbsp. melted coconut oil or margarine
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 tsp matcha powder
- 1/4 c. granulated sugar
Optional: matcha glaze or sugar dust
- glaze: 1/2 c. powdered sugar + 1 1/2 tsp. non-dairy milk (might need more or less; add slowly) + 1/2 tsp. matcha powder
- sugar dust: 1/4 c. powdered sugar + 1 tsp. matcha powder
- To make the mochi filling, combine the sweet rice flour and milk, and mix until well incorporated. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave, and microwave for another 15 until the dough has formed a sticky, clearer, bouncy dough. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the sweet rice flour, baking powder, matcha powder, and sugar.
- Add in the milk and melted oil and fold in the mixture, until a solid dough forms. The dough should not stick to your hands. If the dough is too sticky, add some rice flour or if it is too dry, add some milk.
- Flour a work surface with sweet rice flour and knead the dough for approx. 30 seconds on the work surface. Roll the dough 1 in. thick log and cut approx. 3/4 in. wide pieces.
- Take the microwaved mochi dough and inch a small ball from the dough. Place the dough in the middle of the matcha 3/4 in. wide pieces and roll into a circular ball. Repeat for all other donut holes.
- Heat oil in a deep pot at 350 °F. Place a few donut holes in the pot and fry the donut holes until they are medium golden brown on the exterior. Place on a cooling rack.
- Test a donut hole by cutting open the middle and ensure that the interior dough is cooked all the way through. The dough on the inside should be nice and fluffy with a gooey, melty, cheese-like mochi filling.
- Top the donut holes with a matcha glaze or dust.
Using Mochiko Rice Flour
Rolled mochi dough log
Cut dough into desired size
Cool holes on a cooling rack
The texture of these donut holes are a bit more firm as they form a crispier exterior and maintain a bright green fluffy interior, and I personally enjoy the texture over traditional donut holes. Traditional donut holes can often feel too oily and overglazed, so I highly recommend testing out these mochi donut holes!
The perfect Winter dish to battle the unforgiving cold outdoors is one that pipes clouds of steam and consists of rich, creamy sauces. With a dearth of fresh ingredients at home, I had to cleverly improvise a recipe to finish off all the perishable products in the fridge so that I could head out for a trip without coming home to spoiled food.
Thus, this isn’t your traditional pot pie. It’s simply a mix of things cooked together to form a beautiful product. I was pleased with the outcome, and I served it to a few friends who thankfully all enjoyed the “pot pie”! It is simple, cheap, quick, and easy to make and could be the star of an elegant Winter dinner.
Creamy Spinach Pot Pie
yield: 4 pies
- 1 8 oz. can pillsbury crescent rolls
- 2 large carrots
- 7 oz. frozen spinach
- 1 pkg. cream cheese
- 3 tbsp. milk
- 5 oz. frozen peas
- 1/2 c. shredded cheese (optional; use for extra goodness)
- 3 strips bacon (I used turkey bacon)
- 1 egg (for egg wash)
Directions (photos below!):
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F.
- Thinly slice the carrots into circles and dice the bacon into cubes.
- Cook the bacon in a pan until the fat is rendered and drain the bacon and set aside. Using the bacon grease, saute the carrots for about 5 minutes and then toss in the frozen peas and spinach until all the vegetables are completely cooked and combined.
- Add the cream cheese into the vegetables and stir slowly until the cream cheese is completely melted. Add the 3 tbsp. of milk to thin the mixture. Add in the bacon and stir until mixture is completely combined.
- Let the mixture simmer for a couple minutes until a rich, thick consistency is reached.
- Roll out the chilled crescent dough and using the ramekin as the template, cut 1 cm. around the ramekin to form the circle of dough that will cover the pot pie. You can also use a mini cookie cutter to cut out a shape to garnish the top of the pie. I used a mini star cookie cutter.
- Once the dough shapes are cut out, take the ramekins and spray the insides with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon in the ramekins about 1/2 c. of the vegetable, cream mixture, sprinkle with shredded cheese, and top with the crescent dough. Using a fork, press down the outsides of the dough against the ramekin rim.
- Beat an egg in a small bowl, and using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash onto the crescent dough.
- Repeat until all ramekins are complete. Bake at 350 °F for 10 min.
Spoon the vegetables into the ramekins
cut the dough
Use a fork to press down the edges of the crescent dough
fresh out the oven
perfect winter meal
Forget about the gym at the moment and make these pot pies! I promise you that they will be a huge hit among the dinner table!
When Vegans say nutritional yeast “really does taste like cheese!” I always mutter mmhmm under my breath and roll my eyes a bit. Cheese is cheese. I may be the biggest cheese lover in the world, so I WILL know if I am eating fake cheese. So the thought of some orange flaky bits being able to replace the gooey goodness of cheese seems too good to be true, but was it too good to be true?
OK. Yes. It was too good to be true and the nutritional yeast vegan queso was simply not up to par as the traditional non-vegan queso, but I do have to say it comes in a close second and serves as a wonderful guilt-free snack. I’ll still relish on my favorite Torchy’s show-stopping queso here and there, but nutritional yeast queso is something I’m going to eat pretty regularly since it actually contains the good stuff. The good stuff, you know? The B-vitamins, folate, zinc, and all other immune-boosting nutrients that trump all the saturated fat in real cheese.
Vegan Cheese (No Cashews)
yield: approx. 2 cups
- 1 1/2 c. potatoes diced
- 1 c. carrots diced
- 1/3 c. water
- 4 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar or lemon
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp paprika (optional)
- pinch of pepper
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder (opt.)
- 1/4 tsp onion powder (opt.)
- 1/4 c. nutritional yeast flakes
- Boil the potatoes and carrots together until soft and tender. I like to boil on high, turn the water off and let the remaining heat soften the vegetables to save energy!
- Drain the vegetables and let them cool a bit but not completely.
- Place the vegetables in a high-speed blender along with all other ingredients and blend until completely smooth and creamy.
- The texture should greatly resemble queso. It should be gooey and melty.
look at that queso!
I’m not a food chemist so I don’t understand how this vegan queso gets its gooey consistency, but the resemblance with traditional queso is uncanny. Also, if you’d like to spice up your queso, by all means you may add a roasted pepper!! Now the holidays have rolled around, this is a great dip for parties so go ahead and deceive your friends!
Matcha energy bites
Here I am, yet posting another matcha recipe because matcha is a gorgeous, dainty ingredient that provides antioxidants for the body. Today’s recipe is matcha energy bites, which I played around with by gradually adding ingredients I believed would accompany each other well. On first attempt, the result was divine: perfect consistency, not too sweet, and packed with flavor! Pleased and legitimately overjoyed, I devoured four energy bites in one sitting and uncontrollably reached for more. I really do hope you try this recipe out because these bites are delectable!
Matcha Energy Bites
yield: 16 balls (1 in. diameter)
- 1 1/2. tsp matcha powder
- 3/4 c. rolled oats
- 7 medjool dates soaked in hot water
- 1/2 c. almond flour
- 20 almonds
- 1 tbsp chia seeds.
- t tbsp. flax seeds
- Remove the pits from the dates and soak in hot water for at least 10 minutes. This helps soften the dates, adding moisture, and making them easier to blend.
- Place rolled oats in a food processor and process until a fine oat flour is formed. Add in the matcha powder, almond flour, chia and flax seeds, and pulse until the flour is well incorporated.
- Add the soaked dates and pulse until a smooth, dough-consistency mixture forms.
- Place the mixture into a medium-sized bowl.
- Place the 20 almonds into the empty food processor and pulse until the almonds become “roughly chopped”. This will add crunchy texture to the energy bites and also cleans any leftover sticky mixture left in the food processor. Add the chopped almonds into the mixture in the bowl and thoroughly incorporate with a fork or spatula.
- Using clean hands, damp with a little bit of water, and roll the mixture into balls. You can also dust with a little bit of cocoa or matcha powder if you’d like!
These energy bites are great for a snack and can last in the fridge for up to two weeks!
Soft and chewy
Pulse the mixture
Power Smoothie Bowl
To say that I love smoothie bowls would be honestly be an understatement. I enjoy having a smoothie bowl for breakfast, lunch, and sometimes even dinner to pack in potassium, fiber, and folic acid for the day! While I am more than happy to consume a bowl of sliced fruits topped with granola, there is something extremely refreshing about an icy, cold mixture that cools the body down during the sizzling summer days. The seemingly never ending list of smoothie bowl pro’s often conceals the fact that smoothie bowls are alarmingly high in sugar content (ahh!!), and I hate how my body feels lethargic when I consumer too much sugar. The fructose in fruit is all-natural, but consuming many grams of fructose does not benefit the body, and so I have concocted an flawless blend of fruits that keep the sugar content in a smoothie bowl relatively low. 🙂
Power Smoothie Bowl
- 1/4 c. frozen spinach or kale
- 1/2 frozen banana
- 1/3 c. sliced frozen strawberries
- 1/3 c. non-frozen mango
- 1/4 c. unsweetened (vanilla) almond milk
- Blend all the ingredients in a food processor or powerful blender until smooth.
- Top with toppings of your choice! I used fresh dragon fruit, mango, pumpkin seeds, unfrosted bran flakes, and chia seeds.
Blend all ingredients together
The major sweetener in this smoothie bowl was the non-frozen mango, and it’s important to use non-frozen because it’ll make the smoothie bowl sweeter since it’s really the only sweetener here. Although bananas and strawberries can be sweet, they lose sweetness once they are frozen so they don’t contribute much sweet flavor to the smoothie bowl.
This power smoothie bowl kept be full for 5 hours and I felt exceptionally energetic after consumption!
Taro matcha buns
Adzuki matcha buns
Matcha has been around in East Asian cuisine for as long as I can think of, but the superfine green tea powder has recently gained mass popularity in the United States with dishes from matcha lattes to matcha croissants! This ingredient is high in antioxidants and provides a natural bright, luscious hue to foods. From seeing matcha ice cream, mochi, to lattes, I haven’t seen matcha baozi (buns) served at any cafe or restaurant and today I decided to put a unique twist on these buns by stuffing the buns with two typical Asian flavors: adzuki beans and taro, which both have deep colors that pair well with the earthy green color from the matcha. Not to mention, this recipe is vegan!!!
Steamed Matcha Buns
yield: 8 buns
For the dough:
- 1 1/4 c. all purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
- 1/2 c. lukewarm water
- 5 tsp. white sugar
- 1/2 tsp. active yeast
- 1 tsp. flavorless oil
- 1 tsp. matcha powder
- flavorless oil (for brushing)
- red and purple food coloring for labeling the flavors(optional)
For Adzuki beans filling (yield 4; double if you want to yield 8):
- 6 tbsp. canned adzuki beans
For taro filling, recipe can be found from my Sweet Soft Taro-Filled Flatbread recipe. However, I added 1-2 drops of purple food coloring to enhance the color so that the green bun and purple filling colors would contrast better.
Directions (step by step pictures down below):
- Pour lukewarm water into a medium-sized bowl, along with the sugar. Mix thoroughly until the sugar is dissolved.
- Sprinkle the yeast into the liquid and mix thoroughly until dissolved. Then add the matcha powder until the liquid is completely mixed.
- Pour the flour in and knead with a fork or hands for 8 minutes. Add the oil and knead for an additional minute.
- Pour the dough onto a floured surface and knead the dough for 5 min. Ball the dough up and cover with a bowl for 30 min. to let it rise.
- After 30 min, the dough should have risen a little bit. Punch the middle of the dough to release air bubbles; gently knead the dough for 30 sec. then ball it up and cover with a bowl for another 20 min.
- After 20 min, the dough should risen more and the dough should be soft and fluffy.
- Cut the dough into 8 even pieces and ball them up and place on the side.
- For each ball of dough, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out, making sure that the sides are thin and the middle is much thicker. The flattened dough should be about 2 1/2 in. in diameter. Place a heaping 1 1/2 tbsp. filling (taro or adzuki) in the middle and pinch the sides in, sealing tightly so that the filling does not come out.
- Use your hands to rotate the bun so that the top is completely smooth and the bun is perfectly round.
- Place in a steamer using muffin liners and brush the top of the buns with a little bit of oil.
- I then used a toothpick to put a tiny dot on the buns to indicate which flavor is which. I used purple food coloring for taro and red for adzuki beans.
- Cover the steamer with a lid and let the buns rise for at least 15 min.
- Place 1/2 c. water in a large wok or pot and steam the buns (covered) on high heat for 10 min.
- Then remove the lid and continue to steam on high heat for an additional 5 min.
- Remove the steamer and let the buns cool for 15 min. If you don’t cool the buns enough, the muffin liners will be difficult to remove.
Matcha dough ball
Cover with a bowl to let the dough rise
I used canned adzuki beans from a Korean grocery store
Portion dough into 8 even pieces
Ball the dough up
Stuff with a generous amount of adzuki beans
Stuff with a generous amount of taro
Seal the edges (this is the bottom of the bun)
Place buns in the steamer
I color coded the two flavors with food coloring
Cut open the buns carefully and mentally says “Oooh and Aaah” because the colors are just too gorgeous, and the buns taste just as good as it looks!