Monday, November 29, 2010

Easy Peasy Edamame (毛豆荚)

Pronounced: Máo dòu jiá.
Quiz time!!!
This is a popular appetizer that...
a) I almost always bring to potlucks.

b) is super easy to make.
c) a great substitute for potato chips.
d) all of the above.

If you picked (d), then you WIN! Anything else and you FAIL (k
Anyways, about this dish...
it's, um, a bit...addicting because you can just keep munching and munching and munching...and get the point. :)So I made this the night before I returned to school to eat on the bus ride. Unfortunately, that didn't work out too well because I was crammed into a teensy space for seven hours and could not eat in peace. Eating should be done in a very pleasurable fashion, and the bus, my friends, was not very pleasurable at all. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the delicious snack when I got back to the city.

Here's what you need:
-1 bag of frozen Edamame (with shells intact)
-3-4 pieces of dried Chinese Star Anises (八角--Bā jiǎo)
-sea salt

In case you're wondering what a star anise is a spice commonly used in Asian dishes (which you could've easily guessed). It's shaped like an eight-pointed star and that's why the Chinese call it 八角, or quite literally, eight angles. Star anises have a strong flavor and are discarded after cooking. You can look for them in your local Chinese market. If you can't find any, it's okay to omit it too.

1. Fill a pot halfway with water. Make sure that the amount of water you use will be able to cover the entire bag of edamame. Add the star anises and bring to boil.
2. Add edamame. Bring to boil again.
3. Mix salt and pepper in a separate small bowl. The ratio is up to your taste.
(I used about 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper. I'm not particularly concerned with my sodium intake, which is terrible, I know...but no one eats the shells anyways!)
4. Drain the edamames by using a colander or a strainer. Let cool.
5. Mix the salt/pepper mixture with the Edamame.
6. Discard the anises or use them as decorations, and serve!

Extreme close up!!!

Now wasn't that easy?
Happy snacking!

P.S. Been getting a lot of inquiries about this, so a little clarification is needed. Like pistachios, the shells are not meant to be eaten!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Family Friendly Chocogasm Cake

Made this last night for Thanksgiving guests. I first made this during my time abroad in Paris, where there were few vegan dessert options. Nobody could resist seconds then, nobody could resist seconds now. 'Twas a smashing hit and I am happy to report that the entire thing is gone now. Furthermore, I've been getting numerous requests for this recipe for future dinner occasions. So, without further ado, here it is! I tweaked the recipe I found on Instructables by substituting apple sauce for oil and decreasing the sugar amount.


-1 1/4 cup flour (I used a combo of whole wheat and all purpose flour)
-1/2 cup sugar (I used turbinado sugar for the cake and the glazing)
-1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 cup warm water
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
-1 tsp distilled white vinegar

-1/3 cup sugar
-4 tbsp margarine
-2 tbsp soymilk
-2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-almond flakes (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 °F.
2.Mix all the dry ingredients for the cake. (Use a fork to stir and make sure it's thoroughly mixed.)
3. Add the wet ingredients for the cake. Use spatula to mix until smooth and pour into an 8x8 cake pan, or a pie pan in my case.
4. Bake for 30 minutes. Stick a knife into it to check if it's done; it should come out clean. If not, leave it in there for 5-10 more minutes.
5. Let it cool for about 1 hour.
6. Mix all the ingredients for the glaze in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for about 2 minutes. Remember to keep stirring!
7. Let the glaze cool for about a minute before pouring it evenly onto the cake. Sprinkle with almond flakes or a topping of your choice.
8. Stick in the fridge overnight, or 2 hours if you can't wait any longer. It tastes better when chilled.

Happy eating! :)

P.S. Also, since I have been peer-pressured (you know who you are) into continuing to update this blog after my long'll hopefully be hearing from me soon. Yay!
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