Matcha Daifuku with Red Bean Centre

As everyone know, my sister and I love everything Japanese. We grew up being huge fans of Japanese anime (trust me, we were HUGE fans – a whole bookcase dedicated to Japanese anime paraphernalia). She loved everything Japanese too much she even went as far as studying it as her major in university; I, on the other hand, went as far as impulsively buying plane tickets to Osaka and finding myself even more inlove with Japan once I ate, breathed, bathed, and slept on the wonderful Japanese land. Oh yeah.

So to reminisce my Japan holiday and prepare for our big trip (oh it’s not until 2011 but we’re just really excited), my sister made some green tea mochi balls with a red bean centre.

The kushi (hair comb) is from Asakusa, little kimono doll from Tokyo, and the Torii gate from Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto. The Japanese cloth were bought locally.

Matcha Daifuku with Red Bean Centre
Makes 6 pieces
100g glutinous rice flour
2 tbsp sugar
100ml water (or green tea)
Corn flour (for dusting)
150g sweet red bead paste

  1. Shape the red bean paste into  balls.
  2. Dust your work space (eg big dish) with cornflour.
  3. In a saucepan, combine sugar and rice flour. Slowly add water while mixing. Ensure the ‘dough’ is mixed properly without lumps. Cover with cling wrap loosely. Microwave for 2 minutes, remove and stir, and back again for another 1 minute with the cling wrap until the dough becomes pliable and sticky. Transfer on to prepared floured dish.
  4. Dust the dough with more cornflour, and make 6 balls. Flatten the balls into discs, and put the red bean balls in the middle. Work the dough around the red bean ball until the whole surface is covered with the dough. Enjoy!

NB. My sister and I love watching Cooking With Dog videos because not only are the recipes easy to follow, but the Francis the poodle is sooooo cute!

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Putong Puti

You can tell that I was immensely bored during my 5-day cold hiatus last week. I don’t think a day passed by without me baking something, steaming something, or cooking something. Mind you there were a few family get togethers that required bringing a plate or two, but for the most part of it, I was just bored and wanted to do something productive instead of parking my already big backside infront of the telly (although there’s nothing wrong with that either!).

I have always been fascinated with Filipino baked sweets and desserts. Mum never cooked Filipino desserts except Leche Flan (creme caramel), and because all the sources of my Filipino food wisdom come from her, I never learned how to cook them either. I love Filipino desserts (who doesn’t?), but I’ve always had this notion that the recipes would be hard and tedious and just not for me.

However, during a visit to Mr J’s lola (grandma) in the hospital, we happened to land on the topic of Filipino desserts, mainly puto. Puto is a white steamed bun or cake, usually made of rice flour or plain flour, mixed with coconut milk or just plain milk, and comes in a variety of flavours: plain white, ube (purple yam), pandan (aromatic leaves mainly used in Southeast Asian cooking) and many others. Lola was sick of the hospital food, and she was telling us that more than anything else she wanted some puto. She even verbally gave me the family recipe, which I somehow forgot and I am blaming it on my Codral-filled brain.

So when I got home, I jumped on ye olde faithful internet, and found Oggi’s Puto Puti recipe. Simple, easy, and just the right Filipino dessert starter for me. I had to give it a go and bring it to Lola and get her tick of approval.

Putong Puti (White Puto)

Adapted from Oggi’s Puto Puti

Makes approximately 12 small buns/cakes

2 cups rice flour

1 tbsp baking powder

3/4 cups caster sugar

Pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups coconut milk

2 tbsp water

Flavouring (eg extracts) or colouring, if desired

Tasty cheese, if desired.

  1. Prepare your steamer. Make sure the water is simmering. I put a tea towel on the lid just so the water that forms through condensation on the lid does not drop on the cakes (which will hinder it from rising). Butter your moulds/cups if they are not non-stick (does that make sense? I hope so!).
  2. In a bowl, sift flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
  3. Add milk and water.
  4. Mix until well combined. Add your flavouring or colouring if desired.
  5. Pour batter evenly on to moulds. I used these silicon moulds that I bought ages ago but had no use for until, well, these puto came along! I like cheese on my puto so I just sprinkled grated tasty cheese on top of the batter. Some will fall to the bottom of the mould which should be fine.

6. Steam cakes for about 20 minutes or until well risen. Remove from moulds and let stand for a couple of minutes.

7. Serve warm or with butter (if not using cheese!). Enjoy!

NOTE: Because rice flour was used, the texture of the puto hardened abit the morning after. Pop them in the microwave for 20 seconds or whichever setting you use in your microwaves (it has been freezing here in the land down under because it’s winter!), and they are good as new!

And the verdict? She (and all the aunts who were there when I came over) loves it! I’m glad my first Filipino dessert attempt wasn’t a total failure!

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I visited a girlfriend last week Friday for some girl bonding time – and what better way to do that than with a cup of warm, meltingly good chocohotopot?

It was raining, it was cold, and it was a Friday night – perfect setting for tucking into some gorgeously rich chocolate food tripping!


Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Chocohotopots

Makes approximately 5 servings

100g butter

100g bittersweet cookin chocolate, roughly chopped

2 eggs

1/2 cup caster sugar

3 tbsp all purpose flour

  1. Preheat oven to 200 deg C. Lightly grease the ramekins.
  2. Melt chocolate and butter in a saucepan. Remove from heat and cool for a few minutes.
  3. Mix eggs, sugar and flour in a bowl. Beat in the cooled butter and chocolate mixture.

4. Divide batter evenly on to ramekins. Place ramekins on a baking tray, and pour water halfway up the tray, and pop into the oven (ie baine marie/water bath).

5. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve while hot. Enjoy!

Note: I decreased the amount of sugar because I reckon it was a bit too sweet with 3/4 cup of caster sugar. I also used bittersweet chocolate instead of semisweet but feel free to use whatever chocolate you fancy. The cake did not rise as much (because there’s no rising agent) so please don’t expect a souffle-like cake, but rather a sweet, crackly top with an oozingly rich melted centre.

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