Homemade Chinese Mooncakes


In the Chinese (Lunar) calendar, the 15th day of the 8th month is considered the middle of the autumn season.  On this day, the Chinese celebrate the “Mid-Autumn Festival”, also known as the “Moon Festival” (as this is the time of year the moon is considered the brightest and roundest).  This year, 2012, the Moon [...]

Chinese Coconut Milk Bread (Chinese Coconut Milk Buns)


OMG.  This bread is so good!  I’ve been trying to re-create this bread (also found in Chinese bakeries as “Coconut buns”) for a long time…  I finally figured out the trick – ditch the butter and milk, and use coconut oil and coconut milk instead!  Coconut oil is a solid at room temperature – similar [...]

Chinese Pineapple Bun or “Bo Lo Bao” (a.k.a. Japanese Melon Pan)

Chinese Pineapple Buns (a.k.a. Japanese Melon Pan)

What do “Melon Pan” (from Japan) and “Pineapple Bun” 菠蘿包 (from China) have in common?  Well, for starters, neither contain any fruit – there is traditionally no melon in Melon Pan, and no pineapple in Pineapple Bun.  Rather, each bun is named for the fruit based on appearance alone – the final baked bun is said [...]

Sweet Taro and Tapioca Dessert Soup


It’s been cold and rainy the past couple of days.  :(  This is the kind of weather where you want to relax on the couch with some hot tea and watch movies all day (Alien vs. Predator anyone?).  I felt like making a warm and comforting dessert… and since I just bought some taro at [...]

Kung Pao Chicken (宫保鸡丁) (宮保雞丁)

Kung Pao Chicken

Apparently, there are two styles of “Kung Pao Chicken“!  The original Szechuan version was created during the Chinese Qing Dynasty, and normally contains Szechuan Peppercorns.  These “peppercorns” do not come from the Piperaceae family (Pepper)  - they are actually from the Rutaceae plant family (Citrus).  This unique spice gives a tingling/numbing flavor which is typical [...]

3-2-1 Sponge Cake (Single serve microwave sponge cake)

3-2-1 Microwave Sponge Cake

Recently, I’ve been reading a lot about this “3-2-1 cake” online…  It’s supposed to be a really easy single serving cake to make in the microwave using a rice bowl or a mug (which is great if you don’t want to have an entire whole cake lingering around your kitchen).  **Cough** …portion control… **Cough** (You [...]

Hoisin & Beer Braised Beef Short Ribs

Hoisin & Beer Braised Beed Short Ribs

I’m always looking for new ways to cook beef short rib.  The other night, I was combing through foodnetwork.com recipes, and found a Dave Lieberman recipe that looked good.  I made a few adjustments to the recipe… and I was pretty happy with the results.  The cloves of garlic end up wonderfully caramelized after cooking – [...]

An Pan (Red Bean Bun/Bao)

An Pan

So I’m not the biggest fan of sweet red bean (azuki bean) paste.  There.  I said it.  However, my husband LOVES LOVES LOVES sweet red bean, and red bean paste.  It’s one of his favorite sweets.  So as I’ve been playing around with my milk bread recipes, creating different kind of buns and such, he [...]

Japanese Strawberry Cake (a.k.a. Chinese Birthday Cake)

Strawberry Whipped Cream Cake, A.K.A. the Chinese or Japanese Birthday Cake

My favorite cake of all time is the Japanese Strawberry Cake.  I have wonderful memories of visiting Little Tokyo in Downtown LA as a child, and getting a slice of this insanely delicious, light, and delicate cake from the Japanese bakery.  The year I got my very first real job (2000), I decided to buy [...]

Taiwanese Pineapple Cakes

Taiwanese pineapple cake

A few years back, my husband’s aunt came to visit from Taiwan and brought us some wonderful Pineapple Cakes from a famous bakery in Taipei.  Apparently, people stand in long lines to buy these specific pineapple “cakes” (pineapple jam filled shortbread) – and after tasting them, I understand why!  Not too long ago, I saw [...]