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Chinese Chive Pancakes

This is something you will often find at a small bar served as a snack in Japan.

But for someone like me, non-drinker, it is a great afternoon snack.

Chinese chives are not easy to find in the Midwest, but luckily at the local farmers market there is one vendor who does sell them regularly.

I packed these pancakes with lots of Chinese chives as well as fried onion to give an extra flavor.

The pancake itself is slightly chewy and very satisfying.

These are delicious as they are, but you can also enjoy them with garlic chili dipping sauce.

Crispy Red bean Buns

I shared my story about Chinese steamed buns in my previous post.

Since I was making dough myself, I decided to make another version, sweet red beans.

These buns are so tasty, either savory or sweet.

I can’t decide which is my favorite because they are both so good.

They are so pretty (pre-cooking) that I have to take pictures.

These buns are traditionally steamed (at least in Japan).

But I decided to fry both sides, top and bottom, after steaming them.

This process resulted in crispy top and bottom, which I absolutely loved!

They were so delicious, and I loved them so much.

The homemade dough really makes a huge difference.

I can’t wait to make more again, and maybe experiment with other filling options too.

Crispy Bottom Steamed Buns

Chines steamed buns are a popular fall-winter snack in Japan.

Now they have all different kinds of filling, from savory to sweet.

But when I was a child, there were basically only two fillings you can choose from: pork(savory) and red beans (sweet).

My mother made a lot of things, but this is something she never made herself, so we would buy pre-made ones and steamed them at home.

They were not bad, but they were never my favorite.

But it has been such a long time since I had my last one, so I decided to give it another try.

This time, homemade.

One of the things I was not crazy about my childhood buns was the pork filling.

So since I no longer eat meat, I made my own filling using eggplant and walnuts.

I love this process of forming bun pouches.

Another thing I did differently was frying the bottom in addition to steaming the whole buns.

(This time I fried first and then steamed them, but next time I may steam them first and then fry later to achieve even more crispness.)

It was a good idea to create the crispy bottom.

You can enjoy the crispness and the softness both from one bun!

These buns were absolutely delicious!!

Nothing like the ones from my childhood (which is a good thing in this particular case!).

Come back to see another version in my next post.

Olive Oil from Italy

A friend of ours recently took a trip to Italy.

While she was there, she visited an olive farm, where she got to sample some olive oil.

She had some oil shipped home, and got us this beautifully packaged one.

To enjoy the oil, so I baked some crusty bread to dip into the oil.

This turned to be a wonderful snack time.

Buckwheat Savory Pancakes

My experiment with buckwheat flour continues.

This time I decided to make Japanese style savory pancakes, Okonomi-yaki.

The pancakes were packed with a lot of vegetables, including cabbage, scallion, corn, and Edamame.

Served with Okonomi-yaki sauce, homemade vegan mayo, chopped scallion, and kimchi.

Super tasty!!

Matcha and Coffee Daifuku

I always keep a can of sweet red beans in my pantry.

It’s my favorite, and I know once I open a can, I will have a hard time stopping eating the whole thing.

So I resist it as long as I can.

Last weekend I was finally ready to have some, and after giving some thoughts to what I should make with it, I decided to go for Daifuku.

It’s a mochi-like chewy ball stuffed with sweet red beans.

This time I decided to give Matcha and coffee flavor to the outer part.

For the stuffing I used both sweet red beans and homemade cashew cream cheese (regular and Matcha).

They were both so good!

Daifuku is easy to make and so tasty.

Mapo Eggplant Zucchini Noodles

I love variety of vegetables, but I do have favorites.

Eggplant is one of the vegetables that I really enjoy, and whenever I see a dish made with eggplant on a restaurant menu, I almost always order it.

(Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen very often. Apparently not many restaurants serve eggplant dishes…)

I was lucky to be able to find beautiful fresh eggplant and zucchini at the local farmers market to make this Mapo dish.

The “meat” part of Mapo was made with tempeh and walnuts.

My initial plan was to use only tempeh, but I didn’t have enough, so at the last minute I added walnuts.

This decision was a great one!

I really loved the result.

The texture and the nutty flavor from the walnuts were wonderful.

I don’t always have time, but when I do, I try make my noodles myself.

For this dish I wanted flat and wide noodles, so I kind of needed to make them myself, too.

Absolutely delicious!!

Served with Japanese Shiso basil leaves and chili pepper threads.

Sweet Potato Mont Blanc Cake

Mont Blanc is a mountain to most people.

But in Japan when people hear “Mont Blanc,” it could also mean a cake!

Mont Blanc cake is traditionally made with chestnut cream.

This time I decided to use sweet potatoes because I happened to have some and the color was beautiful.

I did decorate the came in the traditional way.

I didn’t have the specific decorating tip for it, but I did my best.

I’m very happy with the result, both the look and the taste!

Rum syrup soaked cake at the bottom.

Homemade cashew cream cheese inside.

Sweet potato butter cream.

Topped off with sweet red beans.

Lemon Thyme Olive Oil Cake

Weekend is here!

That means I got to bake.

This cake features lemon and thyme flavors.

But the ingredient I was most excited about was this.

Olive oil from Italy!

A friend recently took a trip to Italy and brought it back for us.

The cake was moist but not dense.

It was sliced and served with vegan vanilla yogurt.


Have a great weekend everyone!

Tofu Katsu Sandwich

Tofu Katsu Sandwich.

Anything tastes better when deep-fried.

But it tastes even better when it’s cooked in the “Katsu” style, covered with the crispy Panko bread crumbs.

I used my turmeric bread for this sandwich.

The vibrant yellow color is so lovely.

What you find inside the sandwich along with the Tofu Katsu are spinach leaves, cabbage, and spicy mayo.