Dorayaki are delicious snacks that can be enjoyed for any meal of the day. They are usually treated as a dessert in Japan because they are quite sweet. Dorayaki are simply pancake and red bean sandwiches. I have also had some filled with a custard-like cream which are also delicious. I've always gotten them made fresh from a food stand with my grandma and grandpa as a treat when I was younger. I've finally found a great homemade recipe for gluten=free and vegan dorayaki that are more wholesome! I would totally eat these for breakfast and feel no shame!
The pancakes I made are just made like a traditional pancake: on a skillet. There are special cake moulds you can purchase to shape dorayaki into various things...like fish. These fish-shaped cakes are referred to as taiyaki. They're pretty cute.
The filling I made is a sweet jam of sorts made out of azuki beans. These beans are the same ones that I used in my onigiri recipe. They are so versatile!
I've found, while working with beans in sweet recipes, that adding a bright flavor can help bring everything together. I love adding orange to red beans. I think the bright and sweet fragrance helps to liven up the beans and add some depth to them. Traditionally, red bean paste (tsubu-an) is made with a ton of white sugar. I'm not a fan of one-note desserts. Anything that is too sweet is inedible in my book, so I try to dial back sweeteners and add in other flavors for interest. I usually dial back the sugar that's called for in any dessert recipe by up to half and I can't say I notice any decrease in quality of taste. Sometimes, I can't do this, if I'm making icing for example. However, there are always other types of sweeteners that are great substitutes for sugar...but that's for another post! ^_^
I loved the earthy taste of these dorayaki. I added orange zest and juice to both the cakes and the filling to compliment and balance the red beans. I loved the fragrance of the batter as it cooked! Never underestimate the power of aromatherapy! If you aren't too keen on azuki beans, try using any other jam of your choice. You can also put nut butter in between the cakes...how could that be bad?
If you don't care for orange, or want to mix it up, try adding in lemon zest, apple juice, cinnamon, pumpkin, or any other feel-good flavor you can think of. Hmm...pumpkin spice dorayaki...that just might be my next post! =D
So, like I said, try these little guys out for your next after school/after gym/after sleeping snack and then maybe for dessert later in the day... ;) Multi-purpose foods rock.
Yield: about 5 assembled cakes (2 pancakes each)
Cake recipe adapted from Kansha by Elizabeth Andoh
* Alternately, you may use 1/4 cup more gluten-free all purpose flour in place of the millet and tapioca, though this may change the consistency a bit. It may be more dense.
Tsubu-An (Red Bean Jam)
Yield: a little more than 1 cup
MoFo is almost over...I think I have 1 more surprise for you all. Thank you for reading and check back often!
Ramen was such a household staple of ours back in the day. Only, our ramen looked a lot like this:
I'm not trying to discredit prepackaged ramen (okay, maybe a little), but it had it's place in my life and now I've moved on...
Actually, I ate this type of ramen far into my college years. This is quite a common dorm staple, as many people know. There was something amazing about instant salty soup with tons of noodles in it after a long night of...studying...
When I became vegan, I realized that prepackaged goods like ramen are probably best as a "last resort" food (like, if the zombies show up). When I tried cooking gluten-free, I was ready to give up ramen forever. That is, until I found this amazing product:
Yes, there is finally an organic, gluten-free and vegan ramen noodle on the market! Lotus Foods has a few different varieties of gluten-free ramen. They sell family packs like this one and also single-serve packs! I really loved the quality of these noodles. The shape of the noodle patty is very similar to what I was used to seeing.
This variety is a bit more "wavy" than "curly", but it looks good all the same! The noodles cook up in about the same amount of time as regular ramen, about 4 minutes or so. I prepared my soup before cooking the noodles to avoid over-cooking. Gluten-free noodles and pasta must be cooked al dente or under or they become mush. =(
The texture of the Lotus ramen was very similar to regular ramen. I thought there was a lack of oily quality, but that's a good thing in my book! I compensated for the lack of oil in the noodles by adding a little olive oil into my broth. This is totally optional, but I think it made the dish taste more rich and authentic.
The soup that I made for my ramen dish is very robust and velvety. If there is too much salt in it for your taste, you can dial back the tamari and miso, but be aware that it will lose some flavor. Cooking the soup with more mushrooms might help this!
I hope you enjoy this ramen as much as I did. It's been a very long time since I've had a homemade noodle soup like this and it's so comforting! Eating a bowl of noodles like this is best done on a chilly fall evening with a good book. ^_^
For garnish, I used thinly sliced red beets, gomashio (sesame salt), and marinated kamaboko-style tofu (fish cake). Kamaboko is a processed fish product that is often used for garnishing dishes in Japan. It has a spongy texture and a slightly sweet umami taste. I marinated some extra-firm tofu in dulse seaweed, ume vinegar, and mirin to achieve a similar flavor. I also added some sliced beet to the marinade for a slight pink color. Many kamaboko have white and pink colors to them. (I'm not really sure why...)
You may leave the garnishes off of your soup, but they really are a fun way to liven up your dish! The sweet earthy flavor of the beets cut through the salty miso, the tofu provides a little sweetness and texture (as well as protein!), and the gomashio adds texture and color.
Play around and add other types of garnishes to your ramen! Raw scallion, nutritional yeast, umeboshi, shredded carrot, bean sprouts...the possibilities are endless!
Gluten-Free Miso Ramen
Yield: about 1-2 servings
Broth recipe adapted from Kansha by Elizabeth Andoh
Kamaboko-style Marinated Tofu
Slurp your way to happiness! ^_^
Happy Fall, everyone! =D
I would have to say that fall is my favorite season. There is something nostalgic about the first chill of autumn in the air. It reminds me of scarves, hayrides, hot coffee and tea, sleeping under a warm blanket...70
Oh, and I can't forget FALL FOODS!
Usually, everyone thinks of pumpkins around this time of year. Pumpkin spice flavored everything began coming out at the end of August this year, much to my dismay. Although I love pumpkin and spice, I don't think it should be a flavor for everything. I am excited to make some homemade pumpkin pie for the holidays though, don't get me wrong... I just think that August is a wee bit early for it!
I was thinking of a good dish to celebrate the fall equinox with. I love squash and stews and soups, but I still feel that it's a bit early for such heavy fare. The local temperature where I live is pretty warm still. We've had some chilly mornings, but over all our days are within the high 60-low 80 range. I still crave salads; I can't help myself!
In summer, I like to make very light salads that are full of yin energy. I first learned that different foods have either expansive or contractive properties when I attended cooking school. We were taught with some principals of macrobiotics, which I tend to follow now and again. I'm not a die-hard macrobiotic cook, but I definitely identify with many of the macrobiotic principles of food combination and preparation. I find that I gravitate towards macrobiotic foods more during the fall and winter months.
A simple example of a yin food, or a food with expansive (light, outward growth) energy, is baby lettuce. Baby lettuce grows upwards out of the ground, absorbs energy from the sun, and basks in the open air. Eating this lettuce will provide me with light nourishment that will not make me feel weighed down. However, this lettuce benefits me best when it is accompanied by a heartier root vegetable like a carrot. Carrots are more of a yang food since they grow in the ground. They keep our bodies and spirits rooted and steady, as well as satiated.
For me, winter calls for more yang foods. These heartier foods (like root veggies, baked dishes, grains, etc.) keep me full and warm when it's cold out. I like to balance the heartier foods with robust greens, like kale or collard greens. This salad that I've made is the perfect answer to the first calls of autumn: a light salad of substantial root vegetables with an oil-free dressing.
Almost all the vegetables I used for this salad are roots, so they are crunchy and satisfying with slightly sweet flavors. In order to keep the salad light, I shaved the vegetables thinly. The translucent disks are so delicate and reminiscent of fallen leaves! This is definitely a great Japanese side dish for any warm supper. Eating something raw on the side of a cooked main dish is an easy way to balance the yin and yang of your meal.
You can easily substitute some vegetables for others if you don't like them or cannot find them. Daikon and Japanese cucumber are usually difficult to find in a standard grocery store. If you are lucky enough to live near an Asian market, you will probably be able to pick up at least one of them! If you've never tried daikon, I urge you to give it a chance! It's a big carrot-shaped white radish with a slightly pungent bite. I like using raw daikon with sweeter vegetables to balance our their flavor. Some even say that daikon has fat-burning properties...so, why not? =)
Autumn Root Vegetable Salad with Ginger Vinaigrette
**Organic if possible!**
Ginger Dressing Ingredients
Whisk all ingredients together in a dish. Adjust any ingredient to suit your palate!
Happy Fall Cooking! ^_^
Tempeh is one of those things that I wish I had discovered sooner in life.
I have been eating tofu for pretty much my entire life. I usually had tofu with a Japanese dinner in the form of miso soup or as a side dish with some shoyu and scallion on top. Tofu is great, but definitely on the more bland side. Ever since I've discovered tempeh, I've shied away from tofu for the most part. (That isn't to say I don't still like it!)
I've read that tempeh can impart a bitter flavor. I honestly don't find it bitter at all. I love tempeh for it's "cheese-like" flavor, which i suppose is due to the fact that it's fermented. In this dish, I simmered my tempeh the day before just to "open it up" a little. I find that if you cook tempeh lightly (usually steaming or simmering) before basting or marinating it, it absorbs more flavor.
Tempeh benefits from adding soy sauce, I've found. Sometimes when I'm feeling lazy/hungry, I just pan fry tempeh in soy sauce and call it a day. It's very acceptable. (Also, make tempeh into "bacon". It's mind-blowing!)
The glaze that I've made for this recipe is similar to a soy sauce since it contains miso. I used white (shiro) miso but you can use any that you prefer. I normally save the darker or red miso for winter months. I also added a little coconut sugar to balance out the salt in the glaze. This made the dish much more complex than I expected. If you aren't too keen on a sweeter sauce, stick to just adding mirin. No harm will be done!
I highly recommend serving the tempeh over buckwheat soba noodles. The earthy flavor of buckwheat will stand out to the robust miso glaze. If you're more of a rice person, sweet brown rice would be my suggestion. I kept the broth for the soba on the simple side. I did, however, include some seaweed in the broth for a briny, fishy flavor. The seaweed is to replace the bonito flakes that are often found in Japanese broth. I absolutely love the taste of fish and seaweed, but I know that not everyone else does! You can omit the seaweed if you don't care for it.
To keep the dish gluten-free, I used Eden buckwheat soba. It's 100% buckwheat flour. There are many brands that mix buckwheat flour with wheat flour, so make sure to read their labels. I highly recommend Eden for soba and any of their other products.
Miso Glazed Tempeh and Soba Noodles
Yield: 4-6 servings
Source: Miso Glaze Recipe adapted from Kansha by Elizabeth Andoh (great book!)
Miso Glazed Tempeh
**While you prepare the tempeh, start boiling a large pot of water for your soba!**
Sometimes, you just want a specific cake.
Ever since I've had delicious Japanese-style strawberry shortcake, I've been on a mission to recreate it in my own kitchen.
Although it's been a while since I've had a traditional cake made with eggs, I can still remember the springy and light texture that I enjoyed so much. I loved how the cake was not too heavy. This type of cake is a variety called castella cake, which is of a Portuguese origin. Sponge cakes are difficult to recreate into a vegan and gluten-free variety because they usually call for a lot of eggs or egg whites for volume. But, somehow, some way, I've formulated a recipe that yields a light and springy (but more delicate) sponge cake that is free of egg, dairy and gluten! This recipe was a bit of a work in progress so I made it a few times. I'll share the cupcake version as well as the full-on cake version!
I decided to share this recipe as a matcha (green tea) flavor since I wanted to drive home the Japanese theme. The cake can be made into a vanilla flavor by omitting the matcha powder and adding in some vanilla extract. Easy, right? =)
The strawberry shortcake that I loved so much was made with heavy whipped cream. I used to love and hate whipped cream before I became vegan. I loved the way it tasted and I loved how it was less sweet than buttercream, but I hated how I felt after I ate it. I felt borderline sick after consuming whipped cream. I also felt this way after eating eggs sometimes...you can see why I've chosen to eat the way I do!
If coconuts didn't exist, I don't know what I would do. Coconuts have allowed me to enjoy whipped cream again without the sick feeling (or the guilty feeling for that matter!). I'm sure it is now almost common knowledge that coconut cream can be a wonderful substitute for whipped cream in any situation (unless it's super hot out). If you aren't familiar with how to make coconut whipped cream, please head on over to this page and read all about it! It's the easiest thing in the world...and it tastes way better than traditional heavy cream, at least I think so. ;)
I recommend using ripe organic strawberries for this recipe. It's the end of the summer season, so the strawberries are still beautiful by me! If you want to make this cake in the winter and eat seasonally, maybe use some fruit preserves or serve with a custard filling instead. This is a great cake base for all types of flavors and ingredients, so play around!
(I just realized that these cakes look really Christmas-y because of the green, red, and white...whoops!) ^_^'
Green Tea Strawberry Shortcake
* coconut sugar will change the flavor of the cake a little to something more reminiscent of caramel; I wanted a neutral sweetness so I used Florida Crystals
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
**Sifting the flours will ensure your batter will be smoother. If you skip this step, you will have to work extra hard to get the lumps out when you stir everything!
Here is a picture of how I made the cake look for it's 6" size. I used a strawberry buttercream on this one instead of whipped cream. Although, if you make your whipped cream stiff enough, you can certainly use it for icing. I would add some confectioner's sugar and/or Ener-G egg powder to it for stability.
Happy baking, fellow MoFo'ers! =P
This post for VeganMoFo is a bit more simple. Ever since I decided to create Japanese-inspired recipes, I've been on a matcha kick. I have another recipe including matcha for later this week that I hope will be a hit!
Matcha is a powdered green tea for anyone who isn't familiar. It's very concentrated and can be quite bitter. The traditional way to prepare matcha is quite a long and specific process. There is an entire tea ceremony culture tied to the preparation and serving of matcha tea. I've had very good quality matcha before and it's absolutely delicious. It comes out almost like a frothy latte without anything added to it but hot water.
I've tried to obtain a frothy and thick texture with this matcha smoothie recipe. Matcha tastes much different when it is cold to me. I taste more bitter notes and less grassy ones. I feel as though matcha needs some sort of sweetness to balance out its bold flavor. I kept this smoothie (or shake, if you prefer) simple but with balanced ingredients that also offer substantial nutritional benefits. The spinach offers awesome amounts of vitamins and minerals while also being full of phytochemicals. The matcha is packed with antioxidants and is an essential ingredient to a long and healthy life. I've added some soft and sweet banana to the mix to give flavor, a creamy texture, and a bunch of fiber.
This smoothie is best served cold, but you could try it warmed up if you'd like. I wanted to keep the spinach and banana raw since it's still summer. I love this as a dessert, breakfast or light snack. It's also your best friend when you find yourself craving green tea ice cream!
Matcha Green Smoothie
*Try frozen for a delicious icy treat that will definitely remind you of green tea ice cream! ^_^
There aren't a whole lot of traditional Japanese dishes that call for cheese...or any dairy, actually. Dairy products were not a part of the Japanese diet until they came over from other countries. The consumption of cheese and milk is still less in the East than in the West these days. However, milk has made its way around the world and left a lasting impression on global cuisine. Most often I have seen dairy in Japanese baking, but not so much in savory cooking.
I have not missed dairy one bit since I went vegan. I often get strange looks from people when I tell them that I miss cheese, milk and cream the least. It's pretty easy to explain why when everywhere you look you can find a new trendy dairy-free product. Also, when you don't eat dairy, you don't want it. It's an interesting phenomenon.
Of course, that isn't to say that vegans don't enjoy a creamy, savory dish once in a while! Over time, I've learned how to make many mock dairy dishes including plant based alfredo sauce, ice cream, cashew milk, and queso dip among others. One of my favorite things to make from scratch is queso (or a creamy cheesy dip that kind of reminds you of the bagged neon orange stuff from movie theaters. YUM/YUCK!).
This dip is one of the best crowd pleasing recipes because it's just as delicious and addictive as actual queso dip and it's so easy to customize! The recipe I based this variation off of is a knock-off "nacho" style queso. (It's neon orange in color, but it's totally natural, I promise!) I may post that recipe at some point, but for now, I'm keeping things Asian. ^_^v
The base of this sauce consists of cashews and water. How easy and affordable is that? The not so affordable part of this recipe is the (almost) requirement of a Vitamix or other high-speed blender. You can achieve the same results with a food processor, but you will need to wait a little longer. I prefer using my food processor for thicker mixtures like hummus. Because the consistency of this recipe is more liquid than solid before cooking, I like to use a blender to make sure it comes out smoothly.
The best part about this "queso" is that it's totally customizable to your taste! If you like things more spicy, add some chillies to it. If you like it more nutty, add some more tahini. If you like it more sweet, add mirin or maple syrup. Oh, and if you don't like the taste of seaweed (I used dulse), you can omit it. But, I must say, it's pretty delish. ;P
* I didn't soak my cashews because I used pieces. If you are using whole ones, you may want to soak them before blending to speed up the process. I would recommend soaking for a minimum of 2 hours.
I'm not sure why I wanted to do this recipe. I'm not a huge fan of soda. I used to when I was a kid, but I always loved the Japanese sodas the most. I think they were a novelty item because of their fun shaped bottle. The best thing is giving the bottle to someone who has never opened it before and letting them figure it out. It's amusing to watch. (There's actually a YouTube video on how to open the bottle. That's intense.)
For reference, the soda I am using as inspiration is a flavor of Ramune. This is a soda that has many different flavors. My favorite is melon, simply because we don't have melon flavored anything in the U.S. unless it's a fake artificial watermelon flavor. This flavor is much like honeydew and it's actually quite delicious and not overly sweet.
I decided to try to make a reincarnation of melon ramune. This is an extremely easy process if you have a blender. The blender only needs to blend ripe melon so it doesn't need to be a Vitamix (although if you have one, absolutely use it!). You can always strain the melon puree later if you're worried about chunks.
I love this soda because it's very pretty to look at and it takes advantage of the summer melon harvest. You may absolutely use any type of melon for this drink. I just wanted to use honeydew since it is the flavor of the ramune that I wanted to recreate. Watermelon would also be delicious!
This recipe is also naturally sweet from the melon with no added sweetener. If you would like to add sugar, stevia, agave, or anything else, please use a taste test to make sure you like the level of sweetness. I found that the syrup was delicious with nothing else, but definitely make it to your taste!
Also, if you wanna spike this with a little Midori I'm totally down with that idea! ;)
Yield: Single Serving
Happy Vegan MOFO, everyone!
I feel like it's a holiday! It is, in actuality, a holiday. It's definitely Labor Day but I care more about the vegan month of food than that. I spent today off from work but working in my kitchen all the same. I prepared some deliciousness to share with everyone and I'm excited to unveil my first recipe.
I have decided to choose a theme for this month's blog posts since it would help me narrow down my ideas. I need to do that or I will be indecisive and all over the place. So, I chose...
I have wanted to make this blog inclusive of foods and flavors that I have grown up with. I also wanted to feature recipes and ideas that are fusions of my ethnicity from both sides of my family. I have mostly grown up on a standard American diet with bits of Japanese, Italian, and German cooking. After I decided to become a vegan, I branched out of my comfort zone and tried all different types of food. I still have many ethnic foods to explore, but for now I will showcase my number one favorite type!
This is hardly a recipe. I think onigiri, or rice balls, are a very simple home cooked snack that don't require a whole lot of thinking. I do, however, see many places with fancy onigiri these days. It really makes me happy to see people embracing this simple comfort food. I used to eat these when I was little as a lunch, breakfast or snack. I would use only white rice and nori (seaweed). The ones I have made here a little more substantial because they have delicious azuki beans inside them!
Azuki beans are small red beans that are used in Japanese cooking for many savory and sweet dishes. I used to hate them when I was little, but I've learned to absolutely love them today. They don't have much flavor which lends them to many different uses. These onigiri were created with the dish seki-han in mind, which is a modest rice and beans dish usually served for celebrations in Japan (weddings, New Year's...). I ate seki-han with my family recently to celebrate my grandparents' 50th anniversary.
If you are making seki-han from scratch, cook the rice and beans together. Traditionally, the dish is cooked this way to impart a red hue to the rice (usually white Japanese sushi rice). I used a sweet brown rice which is the unrefined version of sushi rice. I love its nutty and sweet flavor. This rice, along with the azuki beans, can be used for dessert dishes as well. (Anyone else thinking rice pudding? YUM.)
I used a canned variety of azuki beans here, which is fine if you don't feel like waiting for the dried ones to cook. I recommend Eden brand beans. They have a BPA-free can liner and they don't add anything weird to their beans. They are also organic! ( Don't be confused by the romanization of azuki as "aduki" or "adzuki". It's the same word just using different letters to spell out the Japanese word: あずき . I just like to use the most literal translation possible because I'm anal. ^_^' )
* I use a rice cooker to make my rice. I usually use a ratio of 1 cup of rice to 2 cups water. You can always cook your rice on the stove using the same ratio. If you are using white rice, follow the instructions on the package or from the bulk section where you bought it from.
This is my very first food blog! I post revised conventional recipes of foods that I hold near and dear to my heart. My cooking here is all gluten-free and cruelty-free, but full of flavor and comfort.