Manju Red Bean Cookies

Sweets | January 19, 2016 | By

While eating my way through the sample tables at one of my favorite Asian bakeries in Atlanta (guilty as charged!), I popped one of these little delicacies in my mouth and knew I was destined to make a batch! Sweet red bean paste happens to be so good that you could eat it plain by the spoonful. But, please save some for the cookie filling! These cookies taste a lot like sugar cookies, with bean paste filling. For this recipe, I thumb-printed the tops of the cookies and inserted a few golden raisins. They are mmm-mmm good!

Manju Red Bean Cookies
Serves: 40 cookies
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 17 oz. bag or can sweetened red bean paste
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 1 beaten egg for egg wash
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Use two baking sheets with parchment paper on top. In a mixer, beat sugar and butter together until creamy and smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time until smooth. Add vanilla extract and beat well.
  2. Sift together flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Gradually add flour mixture into butter mixture, mixing well after each addition, until dough is smooth.
  3. To make cookies: Generously flour your hands and working surface. Roll 2-inch-size balls from the dough and form into 4-inch flat circles on your floured working surface. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of red bean paste into the center of each dough circle. Gather and pinch the edges around the filling until sealed to form a round dough ball. Place dough balls on the baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Using your thumb, make a thumb imprint in the center of each dough ball making a dent. Insert 3 to 4 golden raisins into the dent. Brush dough balls all over with egg wash.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until tops are lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
Sweetened red bean paste can be found at most specialty Asian markets. I've found that buying it online is very costly.

Adapted from: KJ Lowe/All Recipes

Crispy Salt & Pepper Tofu

Starters | January 18, 2016 | By

When you make this appetizer for the first time, BE WARNED! — you will become obsessed! Just ask my friend, Lisa! I promise you this tofu nibbler will be on the top of your list of faves. For the best consistency I use the firmest tofu I can find, usually the sprouted tofu. It holds up so much better when frying. And you can experiment with different dipping sauces, or simply use my go-to for this app — sweet chili sauce! It’s the perfect accompaniment. Start dipping!

Crispy Salt & Pepper Tofu
Serves: 4
For the Sauté
  • ½ tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 medium leek, white part only, washed and sliced
  • 1 small red or yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 Thai chili pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 tablespoons Soy Vay Hoisin Marinade or teriyaki sauce
For the Tofu
  • 1 block (14 oz when drained) extra firm tofu
  • 4 tablespoons corn starch
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Canola oil for frying
  1. Heat oil in a wok or skillet on medium-high heat. Add chopped leeks and red pepper. Sauté on high heat for about 2 minutes. Add ginger and garlic. Cook another 1-2 minutes. Add scallions and chili pepper. Cook another 1-2 minutes. Add Soy Vay Hoisin marinade and cook 30 seconds. Set this mixture aside and keep warm.
  2. Wrap the drained tofu in paper towels or kitchen towel for 30 minutes. Cut tofu into one inch cubes. Place the corn starch, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the tofu cubes and gently toss until tofu pieces are very well coated.
  3. In a large skillet, pour oil so that it comes up ½ inch. Heat the oil making sure it is hot. Add tofu cubes a few at a time so as not to crowd. Fry the tofu pieces, flipping them around, so that all sides are golden brown. Drain onto paper towels.
  4. Put a layer of the vegetable mixture at the bottom of a dish. Lay the fried tofu cubes on top of mixture or top tofu with mixture. Garnish with more green onion.
Serve with store-bought sweet red chili sauce on the side for dipping!