Posts tagged asian
Honey Salted Peanut Mooncakes
Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food

Friday is the Mid-Autumn Festival! The Mid-Autumn festival is probably the second most important holiday on the Chinese calendar, right behind Chinese New Year. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve actually been home to celebrate with my family, but every year we would gather at my grandparents’ house, eat dinner, split some mooncakes, and go stand outside in my grandma’s garden to stare at the moon while eating taro. Despite the name Mid-Autumn Festival, it actually occurs at the beginning of Fall, when the seasons are changing and a new harvest is about to start. It you want to get technical, the Mid-Autumn Festival happens every year on the 15th day of the 8th month in the Lunar Calendar. I had to remind my mom this morning that it’s this Friday lol

My grandma grew up in a farming family in China, which you can definitely tell when you look at her garden. So I could imagine how important this tradition would be to her family and the community she grew up in. Farming families would offer things like mooncakes, fruit, and taro to the Moon to ensure a prosperous and bountiful harvest in the upcoming season. Mooncakes are typically incredibly dense. I think if you ate a whole one on your own you would get sick! You would cut up the mooncake into little wedges and split them amongst your family! I love this sweet little tradition. I also like that I can take little wedges and sample all the different flavors! My favorite flavor by far is white lotus with a salted egg yolk. It’s a classic. Some other favorites are red bean, black sesame, mixed nuts, and the ever elusive mixed nut and ham flavor! I recently tried a winter melon mooncake when I was home a few weeks ago and I was not a fan…

Chinese people almost never make their own mooncakes. Baking is not very common in traditional Chinese households and they rarely ever use their ovens. I don’t think my grandma has ever turned her’s on. Up until this year, I had only ever bought my mooncakes from the store. Then I finally mustered the energy to order some mooncake molds and try my hand at making mooncakes! The first time I made them it was sort of disaster. My filling was too loose and everything got too soft and goopy. NOT GOOD. I learned from my mistakes and pushed through. Thankfully, all my trials afterwards were actually super easy! I’ll go into detail about how I made these Honey Salted Peanut Mooncakes below! The filling is not traditional but inspired by the mixed nut variety of mooncakes. Somehow these Honey Salted Peanut Mooncakes ended up tasting like the best peanut butter cookie I’ve ever had! It made me so happy!

Before you panic, there is still plenty of time for you to go out to your local asian market to buy a fancy tin of mooncakes or to make your own!

Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food

Special Equipment for Mooncakes

I’m going to be honest with you, there are a few special ingredients and tools that you need to make mooncakes. I know it seems like a lot when this is something you’re only going to make once a year, but I think it’s worth it!

Mooncake Molds - this is the set that I bought, but you can use whatever pattern you like!

*** if you really don’t want to use a mooncake mold you could form them into little pigs like I did!

Golden Syrup

Alkaline Water

you could make your own golden syrup and alkaline water from scratch, but I really didn’t want to mess with the chemistry of these ingredients, so I just ordered everything online and made my life so much easier.

Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food

How to Make Cantonese Baked Mooncakes

Once you have all your special tools and ingredients in hand, you’re ready to make mooncakes! I just wanted to note this method is for traditional Cantonese baked mooncakes. There are a few other variety of mooncakes out there, one being more like a mochi and another that has a flakey pastry like crust.

To make the dough of the mooncake, you combine flour, golden syrup, alkaline water, and olive oil in a large bowl. Stir everything together until you have shaggy dough. Then begin kneading with your hands for a few minutes until you have a smooth dough ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow it to rest and hydrate for at least 45 minutes. This rest period makes the dough much easier to work with.

While the dough is resting make your filling. If your peanuts are not already roasted, roasted them in the oven or in a skillet until toasty and fragrant. Watch the peanuts carefully as they have a tendency to burn easily when you’re not paying attention. Allow the peanuts to completely cool before processing them.

Place the peanuts in a food processor and blend for a few seconds until you have a coarse crumb texture. Add the honey, coconut oil, and salt. If you only have salted peanuts just taste the filling before adding any additional salt. Blend again until you have a fine crumbly texture and the filling sticks together if you apply pressure. It’s important that the mooncake filling is fairly firm so it’s easier to work with.

Now that the filling and dough has been made, it’s time to form the mooncakes! Divide the dough into 12 equal parts. Roll the dough portion into a ball and then flatten the dough with the palm of your hand. Roll out the dough into 3.5”ish circle. Scoop out 1.5 tablespoons of the peanut filling and roll it into a ball, pressing firmly so it stays together. Place the filling in the center of the dough round. Fold the dough around the filling. The dough won’t initially cover all of the filling. Just pinch the dough until it completely wraps the filling. Lightly dust the round mooncake in flour and place in a mooncake mold. Apply pressure to your mooncake mold using the plunger to form the mooncake into the desired pattern. Gently release and place mooncake on a baking tray lined with parchment or a silpat. Then repeat with the remaining mooncakes. Place the mooncakes so that there is about 1.5” in between them.

Bake mooncakes for 8 minutes in a 350 degree oven and remove from the oven to cool for 10 minutes. Mix together egg wash and brush the mooncakes with egg wash, making sure to brush all edges. Using a bristled pastry brush works best. The silicone brushes take on too much egg wash and messes up the mooncake patterns. Bake for 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the mooncakes to completely cool. Once cooled, place in an airtight container for 1-2 day to allow the exterior dough to soften. Then they are ready to enjoy!

Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food
Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food

How to Celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival

The idea of making mooncakes at home might seem daunting, but I swear that once you get the hang of the mooncake press it’s actually pretty easy! The filling literally couldn’t be easier if you have access to a food processor. Again, these tastes like the best peanut butter cookies on the plant. The exterior of the mooncakes soften after a few days and the filling stays soft and gooey - almost candy bar like - after baking. My mom gave me the great of idea of using pistachios next year!!!!! It sounds soooooooo good, I might not be able to wait until next year to try making one.

I hope you give making your own mooncakes a try! It’s so satisfying to bake them and share them with your family. No shame in buying the ones out of the fancy tins though. The important thing this weekend is spending time with your loved ones over some good food, splitting a mooncake cake, and admiring the moon.

So do these things for me on Friday night:

  1. Invite your family and/or friends over for dinner. If your family is far away, give them a call!

  2. Cook a feast or order a feast from your favorite Chinese restaurant.

  3. Cut your mooncakes into little wedges and savor them.

  4. Step outside and admire the beauty of the full moon.

  5. Feel hopefully for a great new season!

Honey Salted Peanut Mooncake Recipe - Eat Cho Food

Honey Salted Peanut Mooncakes

makes 12 small mooncakes

dough materials:

1/2 cup golden syrup
1 tsp alkaline water
4 tbsp olive oil
2 cups all purpose flour

honey salted peanut filling:

1 1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
1/2 cup honey
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 1/2 tsp salt

egg wash - 1 egg + 2 tbsp water

steps:

  1. Add all the dough materials into a large bowl. Mix together with a wooden spoon or spatula until you have a shaggy dough. Begin kneading with your hands. Knead for a 2-3 minutes, until you have a smooth and cohesive dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest for 45 minutes.

  2. While the dough is resting, make your filling. Add peanuts to a food processor and blend for a few seconds until you have a course chopped texture. Add honey, coconut oil, and salt. Blend again for 10-15 more. The peanut filling should be able to stick together when pressed together. Set filling aside until ready to form moon cakes.

  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  4. Unwrap the dough and divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Use a digital scale if necessary. Roll out 1 piece of dough into a 3.5” diameter circle. Roll up 1.5 tbsp of peanut into a ball and place in the center of the dough round. Fold the dough around the filling. The dough won’t initially cover all of the filling. Just pinch the dough until it completely wraps the filling.

  5. Lightly dust the round mooncake in flour and place in a mooncake mold. Apply pressure to your mooncake mold to form the mooncake into the desired pattern. Gently release and place mooncake on a baking tray lined with parchment or a silpat. Repeat steps 3-4 for remaining mooncakes.

  6. Bake mooncakes for 8 minutes and remove from the oven to cool for 10 minutes. Mix together egg wash and brush the mooncakes with egg wash, making sure to brush all edges. Bake for 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the mooncakes to completely cool. Once cooled, place in an airtight container for 1-2 day to allow the exterior dough to soften.

  7. Enjoy!

the mooncake dough recipe was adapted from this recipe from Two Red Bowls!

Spiced Hojicha Pudding Pops
Spiced Hojicha Pudding Popsicles

Ah, September. September is that awkward month where EVERYONE is coming down from a high of Labor Day Weekend and have pumpkin spice lattes pumping through their veins… but I’m over here still making popsicles and cold noodle salads because summer is actually just starting in the Bay Area. Hopefully… I’m looking out my window right now the sky is pretty grey and I’m looking for my sweater. I bet you a pudding pop that the Sun will come out and I’ll be all sweaty after my grocery store run this afternoon.

Before I rant about how I’ll be cooking recipes in a seasonal limbo this month, tell me how your LDW was! Reuben and I rarely plan to leave town during holiday weekends because we have a fear of holiday traffic and large groups of people trying to do the same thing… BUT we actually booked a weekend away without realizing that it was in fact Labor Day Weekend. Silly us. It worked out for us because it turns out not that many people know about Placerville, CA! We were looking for nature-y Airbnbs with a pool or access to water without the Lake Tahoe price tag or mass of people. So we found this lovely spot called Reverie Retreat complete with an insane pool, an edible garden, and some yurts! We stayed in the cottage though because I’m too much of a wuss to stay in a yurt right now.

It couldn’t have been more perfect. The mountains and views were like a Bob Ross painting, the pool was crisp, the rivers were chilly but refreshing and not too far, and the closest city was quirky and weird. We swam every day, got a little tan, watched a Reggae Dance Hall show and a Folky Bluegrass concert without even trying, ate the best coconut shrimp and hush puppies, and consumed enough chips and beer cheese for the rest of the year. I would say it was an A+++ weekend! We started looking at property around the area and day dreaming about having our own land with yurts and a garden. Could you imagine a mountain dumpling workshop?!!!! We will see…

Spiced Hojicha Pudding Popsicles
Spiced Hojicha Pudding Popsicles
Spiced Hojicha Pudding Popsicles

Let’s get back to these pudding pops! These Spiced Hojicha Pudding Pops are going to help me transition during this weird season of Summer/Fall flip flopping. Popsicles are summery for obvious chilly reasons, but I feel like pudding pops are a great medium for bolder and deeper flavors. The creamy milky consistency is just calling for some spices to cut through the richness of the milk!

Hojicha is a roasted green tea. I love it so much! It’s nutty, smokey, toasty, and a little caramel-y. For people who say that tea is just not their thing and they must have coffee in the morning, I recommend giving hojicha a shot. It has a similar deep richness as a cup of coffee, especially if you brew it strong! When you add in a dash of cinnamon and cloves elevates all those cozy flavors even more!

Spiced Hojicha Pudding Popsicles

How To Make Hojicha Pudding Pops

I’ve historically been a icy popsicle person because those recipes require almost no effort at all. But when I first started making pudding pops I realized that pretty much all popsicles are super easy to make! Pudding pops require maybe 1 extra step of cooking the milk to thicken the consistency, but that step only takes a few extra minutes! I also forgot how satisfying having creamy popsicle can be!

The step in making these Hojicha Pudding pops is infusing the tea with the milk. I use this method in all my tea based recipes. All you do is simmer the milk with the tea leaves to extract as much tea flavor as you can. In this case, we simmer the tea and milk for 5-7 minutes. The milk will have a nice caramel color to it. You then strain out the tea leaves and place the milk back in the pot to continue cooking with some cornstarch (as the thickener), some spices, and sugar. Once the mixture is thick you pour it into the molds and freeze until solid. THAT’S IT.

If you want to be extra fancy, you can drizzle on some chocolate and add a sprinkle of sea salt. I highly recommend this extra step because the bites with a big salt chuck are just soooooooo good!

Spiced Hojicha Pudding Popsicles
Spiced Hojicha Pudding Popsicles
Spiced Hojicha Pudding Popsicles

These popsicles can keep in the freezer for a few weeks! Until freezer smell starts to creep in or until you invite some friends over and they disappear in a few minutes! I’m having some ladies come over tonight so the few pudding pops left in my freezer might be gone by tomorrow. I’m going to bake my first pumpkin thing today because I’m not a monster. I really do love Fall, I just wish our weather wasn’t so silly and crazy! Happy Fall and transitional popsicle making, friends!

Also! Below are some snaps from our sunny weekend : )

Spiced Hojicha Pudding Popsicles

Spiced Hojicha Pudding Pops

makes 10 - 3oz popsicles

materials:

3 1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup loose leaf hojicha tea leaves
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 cup dark chocolate - optional
1 tsp coconut oil - optional
flakey sea salt - optional

steps:

  1. Add milk and tea leaves to sauce pan or medium pot. Bring to a gentle simmer and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Watch the milk because it has a tendency to boil over. Turn off the heat and pour the milk and tea mixture through a fine mesh sieve and into a heat proof container. Discard the tea leaves.

  2. Add the tea infused milk back into the pot. Turn the heat onto medium low - barely simmering. Whisk together cornstarch and water and pour into the milk while continually whisking. Add spices and sugar. Whisk for an additional 3-4 minutes until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of a spoon.

  3. Pour the mixture into a glass measuring cup and allow to slightly cool for 2 minutes. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze until solid - about 4 hours.

optional decoration step:

  1. Melt chocolate and coconut oil over a double boiler until smooth. Or melt in the microwave in 15 second increments, mixing in between. It’s important to only microwave in 15 second increments so the chocolate doesn’t burn.

  2. Remove the pudding pops out of the molds and place on a parchment paper line baking tray.

  3. Drizzle the chocolate over the pudding pops and sprinkle with flakey sea salt. Place pudding pops back in the freezer to firm up or until ready to enjoy.


Labor+Day+Weekend+2019+-+Eat+Cho+Food
Labor Day Weekend 2019 - Eat Cho Food
Labor Day Weekend 2019 - Eat Cho Food
Labor Day Weekend 2019 - Eat Cho Food
Labor Day Weekend 2019 - Eat Cho Food
Labor Day Weekend 2019 - Eat Cho Food
Labor Day Weekend 2019 - Eat Cho Food
Labor Day Weekend 2019 - Eat Cho Food
Labor Day Weekend 2019 - Eat Cho Food
Labor Day Weekend 2019 - Eat Cho Food
Nori (Seaweed) Biscuits
Nori Seaweed Buttermilk Biscuits - Eat Cho Food

Who’s ready for the long weekend?! Reuben and I are packing up for a weekend in Garden Valley! It’s a few hours north of San Francisco in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We haven’t planned anything but I do know that our Airbnb has a pool, so I’m really hoping Reuben let’s us just chill out at the house and float for a few hours. He has a tendency to trick me into +10 mile long hikes up really big mountains, when he very well knows I have the athleticism of a baked potato.

I’ve been looking forward to this trip for months! I love just getting out of the city. We’ve spent some time near Garden Valley before and everything is so quaint and quiet. People have space and peace to move around without fear of stepping on scary sidewalk objects or bumping into a crazy person. I’m especially looking forward to hitting up some farmers markets up there and hoping to find something new I haven’t eaten or cooked with before!

I’m not sure yet if we’re going to be cooking meals up there yet. I sort of hate cooking in Airbnbs… okay, hate is not the right word… it’s just very challenging. Airbnb kitchens look cute but then the knives are sooooo dull, the pots and pans are weird sizes, and the bowls are too small. I rather just bring up a box of my own kitchen things, but then that in itself is not very relaxing. 

Nori Seaweed Buttermilk Biscuits - Eat Cho Food
Nori Seaweed Buttermilk Biscuits - Eat Cho Food
Nori Seaweed Buttermilk Biscuits - Eat Cho Food

Easy Weekend Breakfast

Breakfast is normally pretty doable though, no matter what your basic kitchen set up is like. For eggs and bacon, all you really need is a frying pan! But would you think of homemade buttermilk biscuits as an easy-no-fancy-kitchen-tool-necessary breakfast option? Well, ya should! 3 years ago when we first moved into our apartment together I couldn’t stop making biscuits because they were so easy to make, I felt so proud of myself for whipping up a fresh bread like thing in the morning! Since then, I’ve continued to adapt my basic buttermilk biscuit recipe with new ingredients I’m loving at the moment. I’ve done everything bagel biscuits, classic cheddar scallion, an asian everything bagel seasoning (with Sichuan peppercorns, coconut, sesame seeds, and salt), and now I’ve brought you Nori Buttermilk Biscuits! 

Nori Seaweed Buttermilk Biscuits - Eat Cho Food
Nori Seaweed Buttermilk Biscuits - Eat Cho Food
Nori Seaweed Buttermilk Biscuits - Eat Cho Food

Nori Buttermilk Biscuits

Nori, if you didn’t already know, is roasted seaweed! You typically find them in large square sheets for rolling sushi, gimbap, spam musubis, and onigiri, but the packages of seaweed snacks are essentially the same thing! I could eat seaweed snacks endlessly. It’s like eating light wafers of salty ocean. That’s a good thing. I love adding nori sheets to my noodles soups or crumbling up the sheets to sprinkle over rice (like furikake) or salads. There are A LOT of Korean seaweed snacks at my go-to Asian market, so I always end up grab some of those when I’m shopping!

When you add pieces of nori into layers of flaky buttermilk biscuits, it will be hard to go back to just plain biscuits! It adds so much flavor to the biscuits - extra saltiness and a lot of umami that pairs so well with the rich buttery flavor of the biscuit dough. They taste amazing fresh out of the oven with a pat of butter or a light drizzle of honey. But imagine them with some eggs, crispy bacon, gooey cheese, or a crunchy piece of fried chicken in the middle! OMGGGGGGG Okay, maybe I’ll try to pack the fixings for a little nori buttermilk biscuit breakfast this weekend!

Nori Seaweed Buttermilk Biscuits - Eat Cho Food

Nori Buttermilk Biscuits

Makes 15-18 biscuits

Materials:

3 C all purpose flour + more for dusting
1 cup torn nori/seaweed sheets
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
8 tbsp frozen butter
1 1/2 cup cold buttermilk 
2 tbsp melted butter
Furikake - for topping

steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees

  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, torn nori, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine.

  3. Cut your butter into 1/2" cubes. Add the cubed butter into the flour mixture. Incorporate the butter into the flour mixture by pinching the butter with the tips of your fingers and breaking them apart. You still want to be able to see the chunks of butter. The flour mixture should be crumbly and sandy. Pour in the buttermilk and mix everything with a wooden spoon or by hand until just combined.

  4. Lightly flour your work surface and dump your biscuit mixture onto it. Knead the dough for 2 - 3 mins until you have a consistent dough ball. Roll out your dough into a rectangle and fold the dough onto itself in thirds. Roll out into a rectangle again and fold the dough onto itself in thirds one more time. You just built in your layers!

  5. Roll out your dough until it is ½” thick and cut out biscuits using a 2 ½” - 3” round cutter. Avoid twisting the biscuit cutter as you lift up, that will seal the layers and they won’t be as flakey.

  6. Place the biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush melted butter on each biscuit and sprinkle furikake on each biscuit. Bake the biscuits for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

  7. Allow to slightly cool and enjoy with butter.

Thanks, Korean Seaweed, for sponsoring this post!