Tag Archives: Japanese

Mochi Cake

I love mochi–in soup, filled with sweet beans in daifuku form, or toasted, dipped in soy sauce and sugar and wrapped in nori. Growing up, though, I was actually scared of it. Every New Year’s Day, my mom would make ozoni, Japanese mochi soup, and every year she would warn us kids to eat it slowly–because if we didn’t we would choke and maybe die! I guess I can see how it could happen–it’s really sticky and when added to soup, it becomes kind of thick and hard to swallow. It’s like when you buy bubble tea; the label always includes some “use caution when swallowing” warning because you don’t want one of those little tapioca pearls getting stuck in your throat.

All grown up, I can proudly say I have worked through my mochi issue and am now able to eat it without fear 🙂

When I heard about mochi cake for the first time, I was really excited by the idea! And when I tried it for the first time, oddly enough in Lima, I couldn’t stop eating it, it was that good. Since then, I’ve been dying to make it myself. Yesterday, I finally had the time.

The recipe I found on Week of Menus couldn’t have been simpler. (You don’t even have to think ahead to take the butter out to warm to room temperature—something I always forget to do.) Whisk, whisk, pour, bake and serve. Love that.

So what did I think? It was perfectly moist and had this amazing chewy texture—via the rice flour—and yet, something was missing: the coconut? I poured two whole cans (28 oz) of coconut milk in there, but I couldn’t actually taste any coconut flavor in the finished product. Where’d it go?? In all honestly, I made this because a) I’m crazy for mochi and b) I’m even more coo-coo for coconut. What a let down that was. So I’m a bit disappointed, not necessarily in the recipe (I made one 9×13 panful yesterday and they are already all gone—a sign that they must be good), but in myself. Because I didn’t love this as much as I hoped I would. I think it was the coconut. Next time, I’ll maybe add flaked coconut or maybe coconut essence to up the flavor. I might also try using evaporated or condensed milk too.

Mochi Cake via Week of Menus

Makes one 9×13 pan, or 24 squares

INGREDIENTS

1 lb box (3 cups) mochiko flour

2 1/2 cups sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2-14 oz cans coconut milk (full fat)

5 large eggs

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9X13 baking pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together mochiko flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl or large measuring cup (4 cup capacity), beat eggs, then add coconut milk, melted butter and vanilla extract.
  4. Carefully pour the wet ingredients over the mochiko flour mixture and whisk until mixture is smooth and uniform in texture.
  5. Pour batter into greased 9X13 pan. Carefully smooth out the top.
  6. Bake for 90 minutes, until top is golden brown and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  7. Allow cake to cool for about 30 minutes on a rack, and then carefully flip it out and cut into 24 squares, or the size of your choice. Can store mochi cake for three days, covered.

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Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake

Calling this a cheesecake is a bit misleading. It’s really more like a cream cheese pound cake in flavor and somewhere in between pound cake and angel food cake in texture.

It’s light and airy like a souffle and modest in sweetness and cream cheese flavor. Quick to put together too! I’ve noted all my “tips” below 😛 I also only made half the recipe. Unfortunately, I realized too late that my brother still has my little springform bottom, so I had to use the full-size springform, which is why my cake looks so squat. Despite appearances, it came out perrrrfectly!

Enjoy!

Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake (Recipe adapted from The Little Teochew)

INGREDIENTS

140 g superfine sugar

6 egg whites

6 egg yolks

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

50 g unsalted butter

250 g cream cheese

100 ml milk (I used non-fat)

1 tbsp lemon juice (I skipped this)

60 g cake flour (I shouldn’t have, but I did—I used all-purpose, sifted 3 times, and it was fine. P.S. I bought cake flour today 😛)

20 g cornstarch

1/4 tsp salt

8-inch cake pan or springform, lightly greased and bottom and sides lined with parchment paper

large baking tray (for the bain marie/water bath)

METHOD

  1. Melt the cream cheese, butter and milk over a double boiler; set aside. Once cooled, fold in the flour, corn starch, egg yolks, salt, and lemon juice until combined.
  2. Using a handmixer, whisk the egg whites until just foamy; add the cream of tartar and continue mixing for another 10 or so seconds. While mixing, gradually add in the sugar. Mix until soft peaks form. (Be careful not to overmix. Too stiff peaks will weigh down the batter and may cause your cake to collapse more during baking.)
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 325 C (160 C).
  4. With a rubber spatula, gently fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the cheese batter. (This will bring the batter consistency closer to that of the egg whites and result in less air loss.) Gently and quickly fold in the remaining egg whites until completely combined. Pour the batter into your prepared cake pan/springform. (If using a springform, rap the base of your cake tin with aluminium foil to prevent seepage.)
  5. Bake the cheesecake in the center of your oven in a water bath for 1 hour 10 minutes or until set and golden brown.
  6. Leave to cool in the oven with the door ajar for about 1 hour. (Sudden changes in temperature may cause the cake to cool too quickly and collapse.)

9 to 5 Japanese-style Curry Rice (日本スタイルのカレーライス)

No work to do, so blog I shall.

I’ve been a legal assistant for all of 2 months. Before that, I was a writer and a teacher. Basically, I was my job—I thought about it on the way to work, from work, on the weekend, on holiday; even sleep offered no escape from it.

Now as an official 9-to-5er, my job no longer defines me. It does not follow me on my way home or on my errands, nor does it plague my dreams as I sleep.

I may be one of the few people who is actually OK (so far) with a 9-to-5 schedule. No, I don’t plan on being a legal aid for the rest of my life. I am wise enough, however, to be grateful for the work that I do have and also to realize that this job is a means to an end and is by no means an end.

You know what the best part of my job is? The walk home. Listening to my little iPod, eyes smiling, I bounce down the street and think about what I’m going to have for dinner. And now that it’s almost officially Fall, I’ve started craving warm, homey foods again.

One of my favorite dishes to make is one I grew up eating at home — Japanese-style Curry Rice (日本スタイルのカレーライス). It’s hearty, wholesome and tummy-warming. You can add whatever kind of vegetables and meat you like (I usually do ground beef or chicken to save time, which makes my version a mix between curry rice and hayashi rice—ハヤシライス.)—convenient when you  have veggies you’re trying to use up. After just 30 min., you can sit down with a big spoon and a side of red pickles (fukujin-zuke, 福神漬) and dig in!

Japanese-style Curry Rice (日本スタイルのカレーライス)

INGREDIENTS

1 carrot, peeled and chopped into large pieces

1 medium potato, peeled and chopped

1 medium onion

150 g ground chicken or beef

1/2 cup corn kernels

1 cup chinese greens

1/2 small pkg Japanese curry

1 1/4 cup water

oil for frying

For Rice

2/3 cups short-grain rice

5/6 cup water

DIRECTIONS

1. Prepare and cook rice. (I wash and drain it 3 times in water—because that’s what my mom always does—and then cook it in my rice cooker.)

2. Fry meat in a pan until no longer pink.

3. Add onion, potato and carrot and fry until lightly golden.

4. Add water and bring to a boil. Stir in curry until thoroughly combined. Reduce heat to lowest setting, cover and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.

5. Once potatoes and carrots are completely cooked through and the curry has thickened, add corn and chinese greens. Stir in and allow to cook uncovered for about 5 minutes.

6. Serve over Japanese short-grain rice.