17 May 2013


We bought a pound of sushi-grade salmon from Wholefoods because I don't think there are other places to get sushi-grade salmon in the suburbs. It was $20, which is ok, I suppose. It's something like $14 in Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia.
I used a bread knife to cut the salmon and I ended up making a bunch of nigiri and some salmon and cucumber maki. The  maki near the top of the plate are the ones with too much rice (where I covered the entire nori with rice), while the ones near the bottom are made with a thin layer of rice on only 2/3 of the nori. Also, it was surprisingly more difficult than I expected to cut the maki to the same height.

In the background, you can see my sister's cheese and cucumber sushi. She only eats salmon in sashimi form.

14 May 2013

Coconut Bread!

One year later. 
I am now very confident when baking with yeast. It's simple! Fun! I haven't bought bread in a year. This is weird because I used to go through a loaf of sliced bread a week.
Today I made coconut buns without following a specific recpie. It just looked right. I wish Algorithms were this easy. I've read that baking bread has to be very exact, but I think I use more intuition than measurement when I make successful bread. Perhaps I'm just not very particular about my bread?

The recipe goes something like this:

750 g flour (I used 650 g white flour, 100 g whole wheat flour)
20 g active dry yeast
100-150 ml whipping cream (can possibly substitute with cow or coconut milk)
100-150 ml water (not really sure)
Unsweetened shreds of 1 actual coconut (see note below)
100 g white sugar (make it 200 g if you like sweet buns)

Note: My mum bought a coconut and my sister and I drank the coconut juice. After throwing the coconut (in a plastic bag) onto a brick repeatedly until it cracked, we cut up the flesh into bite-sized chunks, and blended it with 2 cups of warm water (60 degrees C?). After straining the slurry, we ended up with some delicious fatty coconut milk and a lot of shredded coconut. The coconut milk separated in the fridge, and it seems sensible to make coconut buns with the coconut milk, but I had to use up the whipping cream that had been in the freezer for a while. The coconut milk will probably be used for curry tomorrow.


  1. Microwave water for 15-30 seconds, or until it feels a bit warmer than finger temperature.
  2. Mix everything except coconut shreds together in an enormous bowl.
  3. Knead for some 10 minutes. At first, your situation will seem hopeless as there does not seem to be enough liquid, and flour will start sticking to the side of your bowl. After a few minutes of vigorous kneading, however, you will realize that the dough ball has actually become sticky! Now, it will suck up all that flour!
  4. Throw in coconut shreds. They add a bit of moisture so you might want to throw in some more flour too.
  5. Leave to rest (in a plastic bag if you want) for 2 hours. If it's a bit chilly indoors, you can leave it in your car. If you do not have a car, leaving it out for 2-3 hours is fine.
  6. Scoop out lumps of dough, roll (without squeezing too hard), and put onto a foil-lined baking sheet. The bread I make apparently never sticks to foil after it's done baking, which is pretty neat. You can keep the balls of dough about 1 cm apart from each other if you want the buns to touch. If you don't want them to touch, keep them 5 cm apart.
  7. Let rise for 1 hour.
  8. Paint on some coconut milk and sprinkle more coconut/sugar/sesame/whatever on top.
  9. Stick a small container of water (50 ml) on the bottom rack of oven. This makes steam.
  10. Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes in an unpreheated oven, middle rack.


SO FLUFFY!! Look at the wonderful crumb!

My mum said it rivals the buns sold at the Asian supermarket nearby. Or, you know, in those Chinese bakeries in Chinatown.

Here is a bun. It is beautiful.

Had a cookie butter (from Trader Joe's) sandwich. You can taste a hint of coconut texture in every bite. The bun is not very sweet, which is fine.