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Shiba Inu Mitarashi Dango

Yay for three day weekends "as a fourth year", since everyone in medical school probably doesn't have this day off 😁. Even though I've been going out to eat and cooking up a storm, this weekend is also the last weekend to put in our residency spots for the match! Gah! I've probably explained the match system a gazillion time to my friends and family, but NO it isn't like a job offer and NO you can't pick and choose where you end up. Instead, you only get that ONE SPOT that you rank highest (if the hospital ranks you high too) and everyone finds out on the SAME day and SAME time.
It is definitely a strange system and sometimes I do wish it was like applying to college, where you can get "offers". But alas, our fate is pretty much dependent on some algorithm that matches each person to a residency spot so that no spots are left unfilled. So my life is in a limbo, since I have no idea if I want to go to the East or West coast. I'm still living out of boxes and our apartment still looks like a homeless shelter. Although, no excuse because it's been looking like that for the last 4 years haha. Totally not out of laziness... 😌
To keep this weekend nice and lighthearted for me and my roommate, I made a traditional Japanese snack called Dango (chewy rice cake mochi like balls) in the shape of Shiba Inus! How doge is that? Mitarashi is the sweetened soy sauce that is brushed onto the dango, which gives and salty sweet flavor. It is also enjoyed with sweet red bean or kinako!

Shiba Inu Mitarashi Dango

makes 24 dumplings

1 cup rice flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup glutinous rice flour (or mochiko flour)
2 tsps sugar
3/4 cup warm water

Sweet Soy sauce
3 tbsps sugar
2 tbsps honey
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp water
1/2 tbsp corn starch (optional)

bamboo skewers
black sesame seeds for eyes
sushi nori
  1. Mix together the all the dry dango ingredients and then add hot/warm water. Using a spoong, mix until it forms a soft dough and then use your hands to knead together. The dough will feel soft and a bit dry to touch
  2. Divide dough in half again and again until you end up with 8 pieces and divide each into 3 so you end up with 24 pieces in total. Shape using your hands into a dog face and butt
  3. Prepare ice water bath and set aside. Bring large pot of water to boil and add a pinch of salt to water. Gently add dango a few at a time. After a few minutes, the dango will float to the surface and let it boil for another 3-4 minutes before scooping them out with a slotted spoon. Place immediately into ice water to help retain chewiness
  4. Place dango pairs onto the skewers and set on a plate
  5. To make the sauce, combine all soy sauce ingredients (except corn starch) into a small pot and bring to simmer. Keep stirring to not let it burn. If needed add corn starch to thicken
  6. Pour or brush sauce over dango and serve warm
  7. To decorate, use black sesame seeds for eyes. I cut nori into thin strips to make the star butt-hole (pardon my French) and circles for the nose
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Heart Beets, Pesto and Feta Pizza

Happy Valentine's day! I know I've taken almost a year hiatus and... and... and... well... I really have no excuse since I'm now in my fourth year of medical school with absolutely nothing to do. Just straight chilling until match day, when we find out about which hospital we end up 😱! *nerve wracking*
I've been meaning to post at new year's for my new year's resolution :/... and then I was going to post for Lunar new year, which also didn't happen hehe. But, since it's the day of love, you guys can forgive me for being so absent, right? 😜
Here's a super cute pizza with a crust naturally colored with beet juice and topped with heart-beets, basil pesto and feta. It'll get your loved one's heart "beeting" in no time! I enjoyed this with my roommate, since the bf is in a different state :D

Heart Beets, Pesto and Feta Pizza

makes 1 large pan pizza

Pizza dough
1 packet active dry yeast
1 can sliced beets (use 1 cup of juice)
2 tsp sugar
2 cup bread flour
1 tbsp oil (plus more for greasing)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika

Favorite basil and pine nut pesto recipe
Crumbled feta
Sliced beets from can
Green onions
Freshly cracked pepper

  1. Drain 1 cup of beet juice from the can into a bowl. Microwave until warm temperature and dissolve sugar and yeast into it. Set aside for 10 minutes or until frothy
  2. In a mixer, stir bread flour, salt and paprika together. Add the yeast mix and oil. Using the dough hook, mix until a firm and smooth (and pink!) dough forms (takes about 5-10mins). Place in a greased bowl and allow to rise in a warm place for about an hour or double in size. You can also overnight rise in the fridge and then set outside until room temperature before baking. Preheat oven to 500F
  3. Punch down dough and shape into a large circle, rectangle or whatever shape you fancy. I like to use my knuckles to spread the dough thin from center out. If using a baking tray (since I have no pizza stone), lightly oil bottom and sprinkle cornmeal before placing rolled out dough over it
  4. Top with pesto leaving a 1 inch border. Using a heart cookie cutter, cut out hearts from the sliced beets. Top with beets and feta.  Bake for 7-10mins. Once out of the oven, crack black pepper and toss on some diced green onions
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Animal Style Waffles

One of the first things to do when I get to LA is to have an In 'n' Out burger... and eat Korean BBQ. I think I can say yes to both :D Yes, I'm in LA, but I'm going to be chained to my desk studying here :( So this is my last post until next month! Here's an In 'n' out animal style rendition of waffles.
You have a crispy pressed tater tots waffle base, topped with American cheese, caramelized onions and that signature sauce (which is probably just thousand island dressing haha). Aaaaand a poached egg over it of course!

See you guys in a month!!

Animal Style Waffles

makes 1 waffle

12-15 tater tots, defrosted
1/2 small onion
1-2 slices of American cheese
1 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp mayo
1 egg

  1. Very thinly slice yellow onion into half moons. Heat a small frying pan with a little oil. Toss onions on low heat and let it sit for a while. It takes A LOT of patience for it to become limp and caramelized. Stir occasionally for about 30 minutes (or longer...who's counting?)
  2. Bring to boil some water in a small pot to poach your egg in. Poach it and take it out with a slotted spoon and lay it on a piece of kitchen towel. Set aside
  3. Now, heat up your waffle iron. Line up defrosted tater tots side by side onto the gaps in the iron and press down. It'll take longer than usual...but make sure it's nice and golden brown when you take it out
  4. Top immediately with slices of american cheese so that it can melt on top. Add the caramelized onions and then mix ketchup and mayo together in a small bowl and drizzle that on top
  5. Place the poached egg over it and season with pepper. 
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Blood Orange Chai Mochi Cakes

It's Mother's day soon, so I thought I might put up this post as an idea for what to make for that special lady in your life! I saw that blood oranges are still being sold at supermarkets, but no idea if we're kind of done with the citrus season :P I made these a while ago so I do apologize!
My mum and I absolutely love mochi and it's chewy texture, so I wanted to make some mini cakes and add some flair to it. The chai pairs really well with the oranges and when the blood orange slices dry in the oven, it looks so pretty!
I'm keeping this short because I actually have to study... But, I hope you spend a lovely day with your mum. Love you mum! Also just found out that she reads my blog soo.... ;)

I used a tea strainer from Dreamfarm, which works like a dream to steep chai loose leaf tea in the milk!

Blood Orange Chai Mochi Cakes

makes 8 mochi cupcakes

1.5 cups sugar
1.5 cups glutinous rice flour
1.5 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp chai spice (mix of cinnamon, ginger powder, anise, pepper)
1 cup whole milk (coconut milk will work too)
3 tbsps loose chai leaves (or 3-4 chai tea bags)
3 tbsp butter, room temp
2 medium eggs, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
zest of 1 blood orange
2 blood oranges, sliced
demerara sugar

  1. Heat milk in a small saucepan and add tea bags. Once it starts to ripple/simmer but not bubble, take off heat and let tea bags steep for 10 mins. Take out tea bags and cut butter into little chunks. Add this to the flavored milk and stir until it melts. Heat a little if necessary to melt. Set aside to cool
  2. Preheat oven to 350 and grease muffin pan. You can use liners but the mochi sticks to it a lot.
  3. In a large bowl, mix sugar, glutinous rice flour, baking powder, salt and chai spices
  4. Once butter/milk is cool, whisk in eggs, vanilla and zest. Pour this into dry mix and stir together until no lumps remain
  5. Pour batter 3/4 up prepared muffin pan and add thinly sliced blood oranges on top. Sprinkle demerara or raw sugar on top generously
  6. Bake for 40-45 mins or until mochi is cooked through. Leave to cool completely in the pan 

I developed this recipe for Dreamfarm; all opinions expressed are my own. I love their cute and innovative kitchen tools and especially their clever names :) Thank you for the support!
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Falafel Waffles and Tzatziki

It's Fri-yay! Can't wait until I can spend this whole weekend just eating, watching Korean dramas and lounging in my bed. Since I won't be seeing the bf for a while as he's finished school, we've spent our weekends packed with activities and now that he's left, I have so much ME time! Haha kidding :P I'm just jelly he's going to Korea next week and I don't....sob :'(
I've been on the psych ward for two weeks now, and boy, it's been interesting. I think especially as a small Asian female, who has to talk to old veterans with absolutely no filter, I get SO many inappropriate comments and weird questions thrown at me. But, my patients otherwise have been really nice to talk to and just interesting.

Anyway, I made these healthy faWAFFLES, because I love chickpeas and falafels that don't taste like they've been deep-fried at least 3 times and rock hard. The waffle iron makes they so crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside like they're supposed too! I guess this could work as pancakes too... but I love the many notches to hold the tzatziki.

Falafel Waffles and Tzatziki

makes 6-7 square fawaffles

1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained
½ small onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
¼ tsp tumeric
1 tsp paprika
¼ tsp fine Black pepper
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 large egg white

Tzatziki sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
½ persian cucumber
½ tsp fresh dill
¾ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt to taste
  1. Drain chickpeas well and coarsely chop onion. Add both to food processor with cloves of garlic. Pulse to a coarse mixture
  2. Add oil, salt, all spices, flour and baking powder. Pulse again and push down sides with spatula to make sure it is evenly mixed.
  3. Add in chopped parsley. Pulse few times. Separate egg white and mix with spatula
  4. Preheat oven to 350F. Heat waffle iron and brush surfaces with olive oil
  5. When ready, place about 1/4 cup of falafel mixture. Make sure not to cover the whole surface because it will squash and spread. Cook until golden brown on surface. Repeat for rest of mixture. Place on baking sheet in single layer and bake to crisp up for 8-10mins
  6. Meanwhile, make the tzatziki. Cut cucumber in half and seed with a small spoon. Dice into small pieces
  7. Mix yogurt, garlic, salt, lemon juice and dill. Just before serving, stir in diced cucumber
  8. Serve hot out of the oven with tzatziki, sliced cucumber and tomatoes and a wedge of lemon. Garnish with parsley too!
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Curry Masala Fondue and Garlic Naan

I'm about to start my last rotation next week! Woop di dooh! I just finished my family rotation out in the boonies of Virginia. I'll say that was interesting... There were patients that came in and was like "I fell on an electric fence, woke up and came here - No Big Deal". Another person came in with a leg half open and was like "I filled it with sawdust when I cut it with my chainsaw to stop the bleeding". Like what?!
Since I'm leaning towards the surgery side, I didn't think I was going to enjoy the rotation that much, but I really did in the end. There's something about the long-term patient care aspect, where you could potentially care for your patient from cradle to the grave, that appealed to me. But, I dunnooo.... I still really enjoy cutting and sewing stuff :P
Anyway, I had an Indian friend who left me with all her spices when she moved. SCORE! Seriously, every time I open my pantry door, it smells like India. And then I receive this fondue pot from Swissmar, and I was like yeaaaa Curry fondue! I usually find cheese fondues really heavy with one flavor profile, but adding all the spices really made in multi-dimensional in flavvahhh! It kind of resembled a cheesy chicken tikka masala (but without the chicken). And with some homemade fluffy garlic naan and roasted vegetables, it'll be a party!
Apparently, fondues are making a come back... so it's time to dust up your old pot and put it to use. Or get this heavy duty cast iron one! I love that it's cast iron because it heats the cheese sauce more evenly and not just under the flame. I was able to cook the sauce directly in the pot and then transfer it onto the set. No pouring cheese over myself by accident! The inside is also enamel coated, so you don't have to worry about seasoning it or avoiding acidic foods and it's very easy to clean. It's a classy no fuss multi-purpose pot!

Hope you guys enjoy the recipe! AAaaand, have an awesome weekend full of fun and of course...lots of cheese :)

Curry Masala Fondue

serves 4-6

2 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 cup milk + 1 cup
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup water
2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
3 dried red chilies
1 tsp black peppercorn (or 2 tsp black pepper)
1 bay leaf
2 cups cheese (cheddar, parmesan)

Roasted cauliflower and red potatoes

  1. In the fondue pot, melt butter and add garlic and stir until fragrant. Whisk in flour and milk until it becomes a paste. Dilute tomato paste in water and whisk that in too
  2. Add in spices (turmeric, paprika, cumin, chilies, pepper and bay leaf). Whisk occasionally until it becomes somewhat thickened. You could honestly mix in any kind of curry spices together and it will taste good! Thin with the extra cup of milk 
  3. Add in a mix of cheese. I liked cheddar to give it some sharpness. I think adding mozzarella could work just to get the stringiness. I used a mix of cheddar and parmesan (mostly because I can't afford expensive cheese :P)
  4. Now fondue is ready for dipping! I roasted some cauliflower and diced red potatoes drizzled in olive oil and seasoned with simply salt and pepper!

Garlic Naan   makes 9

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp greek yogurt
1 egg
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3.5 cups flour
4 tsp garlic, minced
ghee for frying
  1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water for 10 mins until frothy and bubbly
  2. In your mixer bowl, stir sugar, yogurt, egg, salt, baking soda and flour together. Add yeast mister and knead 10-15 mins until smooth
  3. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise for an 1 hour in a warm place until about double it's size
  4. Punch down the dough to release gas (my fave part hehe). Knead in garlic evenly, but don't over knead! Pinch into 9 pieces and roll into balls, cover with wrap or a towel and rest 30 mins
  5. Heat a cast iron pan on medium heat. Roll out with a roller and kind of spread it pretty thin with your hands (like shaping pizza). Brush ghee on one side and place that side onto hot cast iron pan. Cover with lid and fry for 1-2 mins. Spreading it real thin allows you to get all those awesome bubbles in your naan!

I developed this recipe for Swissmar; all opinions expressed are my own. They also have a wide range of fondue pots (think meat!) and other cool kitchen stuff :) Thank you for the support!

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