Saturday, July 21, 2012


This past Monday, I toted back a load of groceries with plans to try out some new recipes. After pretty much spending the rest of the day making stuff - chopping, whisking, kneading, etc - I realized something. And I only realized it after I sat down at the end of the day to take a break, when I noticed my arms were sore and uncontrollably quivering a bit.

Above: A 4koma of my Monday.

Conclusion: My arms are weak and have low endurance. ^o^;

However, I think I managed to make a few interesting dishes. Since the rest of this post is picture heavy, here's just two preview pics of the chocolate Kahlua mousse and dango (Japanese dumpling) dish I made - you can click through the jump break to read more. :)

Above: Chocolate Kahlua Mousse, served with strawberries.

Above: Dango with two varieties of toppings - 
black sesame and sweet soy sauce.

(Click below to read more!)

Recipe 1: Black sesame and banana milkshake
Inspiration: CookingWithDog (Link to their youtube recipe)
Student advice: A good substitute for a mortar and pestle is a bowl and shotglass.

I've been following CookingWithDog for a while now, and ever since I saw this super simple recipe from them, I've wanted to try it out. The recipe's incredibly easy and requires little preparation - bananas, milk, sugar, crushed black sesame seeds and ice cubes for coldness. I used whole milk instead of the recommended soy milk, and roasted black sesame seeds instead of regular black sesame seeds, but as far as I can tell, that didn't lessen the deliciousness of it whatsoever! It was so delicious that I ended up using all the bananas I had bought for this, and just continuously drank it while I was making the other dishes.

Above: Crushing the roasted black sesame seeds.
Don't have a mortar and pestle? Grab a bowl and shotglass!

Above: All the gathered materials.

Above: Blender ready.

Above: Yummyyyyy.

Above: Fills one giant cup of delicious cold smoothie.

Recipe 2: Chocolate Kahlua mousse
Inspiration: FoodWishes for mousse (link to youtube recipe) and CookingWithKarma for Kahlua (link to youtube recipe)
Student advice: A good substitute for a whisk is a bunch of chopsticks bundled together. Try and use chopsticks that slope to a finer point at one end, instead of the plain straight sort. I used about 6 chopsticks, tied together with a hairband. It's slower acting than a whisk, but it still gets the job done!

My roommate and I had an unopened bottle of Kahlua in the fridge, so I decided to make some chocolate Kahlua mousse for us. This was my first time using a whisk/whisk-substitute (electronic beaters are much handier) to thicken cream and fluff up egg whites, so that process was tremendously tedious. I had to take several breaks to shake the tension out of my arm. The ingredients went unmodified from Karma's version, but I did deviate a bit from the measurements given, which is probably why my mousse ended up a bit more fluid than fluff. I also left it in the fridge to chill overnight, which didn't seem to affect the consistency of the mousse.

Two things to look out for:
(1) Make sure your chocolate is completely melted and has a smooth consistency, and
(2) Make sure the cream and egg white form soft peaks (and are not liquidy) before adding it to the chocolate.

Above: Collective ingredients.
And yes, I did use my shotglass pestle to ground the instant coffee.

Above: Whipping heavy cream - also quite tedious.
Don't have a whisk? Tie together a bunch of chopsticks!

Above: Adding the ground coffee...

Above: ...and the Kahlua. Oh la la~

Above: Folding in the Kahlua-cream-mixture to the chocolate.

Above: Serving the dessert up in some wine glasses.

Above: Strawberries for decoration on top!

Sadly, my roommate and I didn't have any matching tableware, nor any fancy ramekins or bowls to serve up the dessert. So I settled for a pair of mismatched wine glasses. :)

Recipe 3: Dango (with black sesame and sweet soy sauce topping)
Inspiration: CookingWithDog (Link to their youtube recipe)

Strangely enough, my first introduction to the sweet Japanese dumpling called dango was through the anime Samurai Champloo. It's a rather fascinating take on feudal Japan - tradition and history intermingling with a helping of hip-hop and 21st century references, all the while being interrupted with well-choreographed fight scenes and food, among plenty of other events. I remember watching it for the first time and wondering what all the food they've eaten tasted like, and in particular, what those little skewered round donut-shaped things tasted like. (Of course, I also later saw dango appear in several other Japanese dramas and anime, but it was always Samurai Champloo that popped into my mind whenever I recall dango.)

Having never eaten it before, I decided to make them someday. And after recently seeing CookingWithDog's tofu dango version (remastered), which required only shiratama-ko and silken tofu, I figured this was the simplest way to create the dango I wanted to eat. For the black sesame topping, I mixed a bit of confectioner's sugar with crushed roasted black sesame seeds, and for the sweet soy sauce topping, I just boiled some water, soy sauce and sugar to taste. For more dango types, check out Wikipedia's list ([LINK]).

Two things to keep in mind:
(1) Add a lot more Shiratama-ko flour than silken tofu. I made the mistake of putting almost equal parts tofu, which resulted in a very liquidy dough. I had to add about a cup more of shiratama-ko to balance it out.
(2) Kneading takes forever. Or maybe I was just not doing it right - a more probably case. Whichever the reason, don't worry if kneading starts to drag on. It may start off incredibly sticky, but it will yield and become workable eventually.

Above: Shiratama-ko and silken tofu.

Above: After what felt like an hour of kneading. x_x;;;

Above: Workable dango dough!

Above: Shape the dough into balls.

Above: Boil until they float!

Above: Skewer and season with favorite topping.

Above: Yummy dango!

The tofu dango I made was much chewier and gummier than I had anticipated; I had the impression dango would taste more like a denser donut. But I still loved eating them! Hopefully I will one day eat a real dango dish made by a real Japanese chef.


So this concludes my food adventures for the week! I had a blast making all the food, even if my arms didn't. Because Otakon is now fast approaching, I'll be posting updates on the art I'll be selling at the Art Show in the upcoming days. Peace!

No comments:

Post a Comment