Aloha Hawaii! Vegan Mochi Recipe

I have been drooling over the various mochi here in Honolulu, from the dango (round) shaped mochi to cake-like mochi slices, they really have it all here! Many mochi are made with condensed milk or other dairy but for this recipe I made it completely cruelty free/plant based!

Hold onto your 靴下 (socks)! Since I’ve never made mochi before, I based this recipe off of one from the Vibrant Wellness Journal. Hers has bananas and berries but I flavored mine with cocoa powder and matcha powder. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Earth Butter
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs agave 
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup matcha powder
  • 1/4 cup oil (I used vegetable oil)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups mochiko flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

To start, I set the oven to 350 degrees F. Then I mixed together the cocoa powder, matcha, oil, almond milk, earth balance, agave, sugar, and vanilla extract. 

In another bowl I combined the rest of the ingredients– mochiko, tapioca starch, baking powder, and salt.  After thoroughly mixing, create a hole in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mix you created earlier. Mix like crazy… seriously! After washing my hands I used my them to squish everything together and then carefully place the mixture into a pan. I used a 9″ x 13″, but it works better to use a smaller pan so that the mochi comes out thicker. 

Place the pan into the 350 degree oven for 50 minutes. Afterwards, let cool for 15 minutes and cut into squares. 

いただきます〜!

Aloooooha!

Man it’s been a while! Aloha from Hawaii, USA, my new home. That’s right, the white chicks with Spanish last names are now thousands of miles apart… But that doesn’t mean we can’t keep cooking great vegan shit and writing our little hearts out. I miss Erin mucho, but hopefully this blog will help her and I keep tabs on our vegan cooking, something that is important and very dear to us both.

Let’s get started. A very merry belated Christmas! I got a whole lot of fun presents (including a Vitamix, holy hell!) but none so vegan specific as the new Thug Kitchen book, “Party Grub”! In an earlier post I noted that Thug Kitchen was one of my fave cookbooks. Still is. Jumping right into this book, it looks to have everything the last one did and MORE. I particularly like that they teach basic shit like how to make tortillas, roast garlic, pop popcorn, etc… It may sound too easy to be in a book, but it’s stuff you just don’t think about and rush to the store to buy pre-made instead. I really appreciated that portion of the book.

Anyways, enough of that. Tonight we felt lazy and decided to make something that looked like lazy people food: the loaded nachos on page 74, accompanied by the queso-ish dip on page 46. We were wrong about the lazy part. It took a lot of dishes and prep to make that queso dip! But it was so worth it. The butternut squash was an interesting filler to use instead of the old cashew recipe we are used to. Topping that cheezy mess on top of some guacamole, black beans, serrano peppers, cilantro, and cabbage… was absolute heaven. And it reminded me of the time we went to Erin’s house and made Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s version of queso and nachos. Here’s the final pic we snapped. Amen!

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Day 26: Rained in, Snowed in

  

Today’s Vegan MoFo Theme: You’re snowed in and can only use ingredients in your household. What do you make?

Brainstorming ideas for this topic, I just thought to myself about foods I used to make in college. Pastas and stir fry were both easy things for me to create, though back then they probably tasted like garbage. They are both something you can wander around your kitchen, pull pretty much anything off your shelves, and make (an at least okay-tasting) dish with. You have to try pretty hard to jack this up.

It doesn’t ever rain in California. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but we are pretty sepia out here. When I moved here the grass

Yeah, we are f**'d.
Yeah, we are f**’d.
was green, trees were flourishing, and everyone had smiles on their faces. Now people’s houses are burnt down, all the grass is dead, and the trees are slowly dying too. It’s a pretty dire situation, and besides price increase in certain items and water, we haven’t specifically been affected as of yet, luckily. Before I continue on this tangent, my point is that we don’t ever get rained in, or snowed in for that matter, though snow does fall in some parts of California (just not here).

Instead of rained in/snowed in, I am often “lazy’d”-in. Meaning I am too tired to put on clothes and leave the house. It’s my inner teenager coming out, but I know you all do it too, so I ain’t ashamed! This was conveniently one of those nights, and went right along with our theme here for the Vegan Month of Food (that’s almost over! omg). If you’re ever at home, and have no idea what to make… the most basic of basics is to stir fry some veggies. Even if you only have one kind, like lettuce, you cannot go wrong. Tonight I had quite a few; bean sprouts, carrots, bamboo, cabbage, spinach, cauliflower, red onion, and green onion. Not to mention I (surprise!) had some flat noodles too! Do you ever find something you didn’t know was in there? Thank you pantry.

Once you chop everything up (the labor part…), start by putting your tougher veggies into your wok, like the cauliflower, carrots,FullSizeRender etc. Once those break down a little, add the softer items like cabbage and spinach. Sautee on medium heat for about 5-7 minutes, then stir in your sauce. The sauce doesn’t look like a lot at first, but it spreads out pretty evenly among everything once you toss it in the wok.

The sauce is as easy as dumping all of the following into a bowl, swirling with a spoon, and dumping on your veggies, post stir-fry:

  • 3 tablespoons peanut/almond/cashew butter (we used almond)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (mmmmmmm..)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon chili paste (we like it HOT)

You can serve this on anything you have; white rice, brown rice, soba noodles, hell… even spaghetti would work. You’re trapped in your house remember, so times are desperate! What did you all make?

– E&E

Day 25: pick a food, any food…

Vegan MoFo theme of the day: Share your fave cuisine!

Erin and I discussed this topic together today. What could we make? What is (together) our favorite cuisine? What could top those empanadas we made last night (which were killer, my husband is asking for them already again)? 

Choosing a favorite cuisine is really tough. Some people imagine that the vegan diet is really limited, and that our favorite cuisine would be something like “SALAD… With water as a dressing”. It’s quite the opposite though. I love empanadas and flautas, but I also love miso and sushi, juk and bibimbap, pakora and samosas, all kinds of shit, you name it! All things you imagine a vegan couldn’t eat can be made vegan nowadays and it’s never been a better time to switch to a plant-based lifestyle. THERE ARE NO EXCUSES ANY MORE, people. 

For me, I don’t think I could choose just one favorite cuisine. So many are fitting to my lifestyle. When I first became vegetarian, and even my early veganism, I preferred Thai and Indian food above all else, mostly due to the wide range of options they had for special eaters like me. My sister and I also discovered a type of food called Buddhist Mountain Cuisine, and diet held by some traditional Buddhist monks, especially in Korea. It is easy on the stomach and vegan. We stumbled into a Korean restaurant in New York’s Korea town, Hangawi, and were exposed to this type of cuisine a few years back (definitely hit this place up if you are visiting Manhattan). 

Nowadays things are different though. I don’t feel restricted by food boundaries, or what others think I should eat, and whatever I prepare by my own hand becomes my favorite type of cuisine. I get the most amazing sense of accomplishment if I cook something that actually tastes GOOD. Doesn’t everyone? And nowadays that happens more and more often (phew!).  Eating out is fun too, but I find myself at work daydreaming about what I’d like to cook that night, instead. It’s a complete 180 from me 5, 10 years ago, who had no passion or interest in cooking. 

So, long answer short, I just wasted your time in reading this to say that I don’t quite know what my favorite is anymore. My favorite is ELLY cuisine, made by me. And when going out to eat, Korean, Japanese, Mexican, Thai, Indian, Lebanese, Italian, all top that list. Eating has become such a pleasure over the past few years, and since going from vegetarian to vegan. Did this happen to anyone else?

Cheers!

– E&E

Day 21 – Being Stranded Ain’t So Bad..

Today’s Vegan MoFo theme: “What three endless food supplies would you take if you were going to be stranded on an island? (Imagine your nutritional needs have been met, these are a bonus!)”

For this post, I’m really taking the “stranded on an island” thing to heart. This means no oven, no dishes, no stove, microwave, blender, etc… If I had to be stranded somewhere with no method to cook and all of my nutritional needs were met, I would eat fruit for the rest of my life! Fruit is something I never tire of. I try to eat at least one fully raw meal each day, and recently those meals have consisted entirely of fruit. The longest I consistently ate only raw was for two weeks, and I have never in my life felt so clean and refreshed each morning. I didn’t need coffee, I was happier, and my body completely changed. It was like a cleanse without the deprivation, and the thing I ate more than anything was fruit. Two social media women (that many of you are probably familiar with) that I really enjoy reading and learning from are Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram (FullyRaw Kristina, who also does posts in Español!) and Freelee the Banana Girl. I especially liked watching Freelee’s recent trip to Thailand and her fruit adventures there. She is a brave voice for animals that I really respect.

I like to imagine, for this scenario, that I end up shipwrecked on an island where there is bountiful amounts of my three favorite fruits; nectarines, lychee, and bananas. Not only are they my favorite, but I also feel they each have such a different consistency that I wouldn’t get bored for a long while. I once at a nectarine that was so juicy, and I was so hungry when I ate it, that I nearly cried. It was the best piece of fruit I have ever had in my life, and I would want that with me on this imaginary island. Hopefully I will have a basketball or something around to draw a funny face on and make friends with, or meet some turtles and dolphins to hang out with too. A girl’s gotta stay busy, right?

IMG_6013I think this was a tough prompt to think about, especially since you can be so creative with how ‘stranded’ you really are. How many of you took this to heart like I did? What are your favorite fruits? And what magical creatures did you make as friends on your island? Until tomorrow… Cheers!

– E&E

Day 20 – Veganizing Things

Today’s Vegan MoFo theme is to veganize an “old family recipe”. Last night I cooked, and today we went for brunch, and so I have two amazing items to talk about.

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Thug Kitchen’s Ravioli Recipe

Growing up I can never remember anyone in my family preparing their own pasta. So sorry, Mom, I didn’t end up veganizing one of your recipes. Last night I made my own ravioli, instead. While ravioli is not my family’s tradition to make, it IS really old school. How old, you might ask? I read a few different sources tracing it to the 14th century in Italy, or the 11th century in the Arabic world. If that isn’t traditional, I don’t know what is! For dinner last night I put in some serious labor. Thug Kitchen‘s cookbook has a great recipe for ravioli. A few months ago when I got the book, it was the first time I had made pasta EVER. There is something so satisfying though about making your own tofu ricotta, house marinara, and preparing the pasta dough and each individual pouch. The effort poured into a dish like this gives that same special home-made feel that you would receive from a meal your grandparents made.

Today after morning mass we finally made it to Mesa Verde in Santa Barbara. They are a mostly-vegan restaurant (they offer eggs for some reason, but there is nothing else animal-based on their menu). For an appetizer we had the hummus with zatar flat bread. I am a huge fan of zatar, and definitely a hummus snob ever since spending a few months in the Middle East. Even so, I loved the seasoning on the flat bread and the harissa sprinkled into the hummus. For our meals I had the empanadas (a vegan version of a traditional Spanish food) while

Mesa Verde's 'ABLT' on seasoned flatbread
Mesa Verde’s ‘ABLT’ on seasoned flatbread

my husband had the ‘ABLT’ (avocado, tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato). I asked my spouse for a comparison between his tempeh bacon and real bacon, and to my surprise he said that although it tasted different, he enjoyed it a lot.

Another reason I like the idea of “veganizing” familiar items is that it helps to introduce new vegans to the lifestyle. Last night we watched the documentary “Cowspiracy” which has finally been released on Netflix. I could talk about it at length, but what I really wanted to mention (for the sake of this post) are the companies interviewed in the documentary, including Beyond Meat and Plant-based Eggs. While I am not a fan of egg-like and meat-like substitutes, products like these are important in revolutionizing the way people think about their diets. With companies like this, there is literally no excuse to not go vegan. You’ll miss the taste? There is a replacement. You’ll miss the dishes you enjoy? There is a replacement. When Chipotle, who champions using animal products in their meals, offered a FREE sofritas burrito to anyone who would try it, I was shocked. A meaty company was encouraging meat-eaters to try a meat substitute, FOR FREE, and I hope in the future there are more companies open to this idea. Veganizing recipes you are familiar with like ravioli, like the ‘BLT’, shows people that vegan lifestyle isn’t about depriving, it is about surviving.

– E&E

vegan-30-days

Day 15: Welcome, President Obama!

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Today’s Vegan MoFo Theme is to prepare a meal for U.S. President Obama if he were coming over to your house.

I’m not going to lie and pretend I know about politics. I don’t know a single thing! But, as far as character goes, I imagine that President Obama and Mrs. Obama are genuinely kind people, who I would love to have over at my house. We pretty much already know them since they sent us a congratulations card for our wedding last year (Try it, it works!). If they had been able to attend, they would have experienced a delicious vegan wedding carrot cake, but they were unfortunately all tied up with Presidential affairs.

So, President and Mrs. are coming over, what would I prepare? I like to think of them as pretty down-to-earth people who would enjoy anything. We all know Michelle loves her veggies, too! A staple in our house is Mexican food. We make some sort of Mexican item (quesadillas, tacos, flautas, guacamole, tostadas) for breakfast, lunch, or dinner probably 5-10 times a week. Not. Even. Exaggerating. If President and Mrs. were coming over, we would most certainly serve them something that represents us, and that is Mexican food. We are from San Antonio, after all.

Angela's pretty steak fajitas (from the book)
Angela’s pretty steak fajitas (from the book)

I usually don’t go off a recipe for Mexican food, we grew up making it! But I wanted to try Angela Liddon‘s take on “Portobello Steak Fajitas” on page 185 of her amazing book, “The Oh She Glows Cookbook“. The first time I tried it my husband cancelled all plans when he saw what I was making. It was something besides our usual Mexican fare, and we were both excited.

I think a lot of vegans tend to replace meat with fake meats such as seitan or fake cheeses like daiya. While I have tried these meats and cheeses, I am just not a huge fan (sorry if you are!). I think it is psychological more than anything. Too close to the real thing scares me (uncanny valley of veganism?). For meats, I am much more a fan of substituting a protein such as lentils, beans, or in this case, portobello mushrooms. I love the lime marinade she spells out for you in the book, and how the mushroom slices taste just off a hot griddle. I accompanied the portobello steak slices with chopped lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, and sauteed red peppers, and carmelized onions. I am sure Michelle would enjoy all the vegetables present in this dish, and President Obama himself would love being treated a vegan representation of the cuisine we both grew up with.

Olé!

– E&E

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