Taho (Philippine Tofu Pudding)

“Taho….taho….taho….”

Early mornings in the Philippines, you’ll normally hear the man selling this warm, caramel tofu pudding calling out these words. He would have two metal pails balanced by a bamboo rod on his shoulders. Hard work for sure, but surely, it made our day.

Kids and adults alike would wait patiently, holding their little cups, glass containers, and tumblers, for the taho vendor to come by their home. I remember a few times our nanny got a whole Coleman cooler (a gallon one I believe) for us. It’s that delicious!

Everyone asks for extra caramel, as it is the highlight of this sweet dessert/breakfast in a cup.

So…it’s been a while since I’ve had that taho that you can purchase. Taho here in the US is mostly an anemic cousin of the real stuff, flavor wise and texture wise. What to do but make it yourself, right?

I had been making soy milk and sometimes tofu for a while now but I never made a super soft, silky tofu like taho should be. It literally disintegrates when jiggled. I tried to make it but it just curdled, not really forming any solid you could scoop up. Oh well…

My co worker Lisette gave me this tofu mix a few months back. She said they use it to make taho, and you just need the sago pearls and the caramel and you’re good to go. Since my “from scratch” tofu pudding failed, I reached for the box and tried it.

It worked beautifully! See my photo below! And it’s super easy to make!

All you’ll need are the following:

For the tofu pudding:

1 box (6.06oz) Tofu mix

10 cups water mixed

For the caramel:

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup water

For the tapioca pearls:

1/2 cup Tapioca pearls

5 cups water

To make the tofu pudding:

Mix 10 cups water with the tofu packet mixture in a large saucepan. That is the big envelope in the tofu box. Set over medium heat. Bring to a boil.

Stir constantly with a whisk. Lower heat and for 3 minutes.

Add the coagulant, which is in the smaller white envelope, into the mixture, slowly. Give it a quick stir. And stop.

Remove from heat. Cover. Set aside to set. Do not touch or move it while it is setting. I just left it to set in the saucepan I cooked it in. 😊

In the meantime, prepare the Caramel.

Place 1 cup dark brown sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium low heat. When it comes to a boil, lower heat and simmer until the sugar is dissolved and the caramel is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool completely.

For the Sago Pearls,

Bring 5 cups water to boil. Add 1/2 cup sago. Simmer for about 20 – 30 minutes until translucent. Drain and rinse. Place in a bowl of water until ready to use.

To assemble your “taho”

Using a spoon, carefully scrape thin layers of the warm tofu pudding into a glass, cup, or bowl. You only want a few spoonfuls as we will be layering this with the other ingredients.

*If the tofu is getting watery, scoop out and discard the excess water.*

Next, place a spoonful or two of the cooked tapioca pearls in.

Then a spoonful or two of the caramel(I always add more when no one is looking! It’s super delicious!).

Continue layering until you fill the glass almost to the top. I am stopping midway as I might eat everything at one go.

Remember to wipe of any caramel that dripped outside the glass! It will be a sticky mess if you don’t!

You can eat this with a spoon, as we do, or stir itup and drink it like I saw some folks do.

Either way, it is a nutritious and very delicious breakfast/snack/dessert.

I hope you all like this!

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Electric Lunchbox #97: Pistachio Cake

I’m back after not posting for a long time. Have you tried a beautiful, green colored Pistachio Cake?

My coworker (Jonnielyn Rivera) shared this super easy recipe with me a few years ago and I just had to adapt it to the ELB! It did take some time because I sometimes ended up with a cake that is too dense or tasteless, because of the amount of pudding. After a few tries, I think I finally nailed it. 😊 Look at the crumb of this cake in the photo below! Light yet moist and flavorful! 😋

And so here is an easy to make yet delicious recipe to try if you have time. All you’ll need is a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up a box of yellow cake mix, a little box of pistachio pudding mix, a bit of sour cream, an egg, some canola oil, and some water!

I hope you’ll try out and of course, I do hope that you’ll like it!

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients:

1 cup yellow cake mix

3 tablespoons Pistachio Pudding Mix

1/4 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon water

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 egg

3 ELB cups water for the base

Procedure :

1. Spray the big or medium ELB bowl with nonstick spray.

2. In a bowl, place the yellow cake mix,

3. pudding mix,

4. sour cream,

5. water,

6. Oil,

7. and egg.

8. mix well until blended.

9. Pour into the prepared ELB bowl. Cover with foil.

10. Place bowl in the ELB base, pour 3 ELB cups of water in the base, cover and let steam until it shuts off, about 55 minutes.

11. Carefully open the ELB and check the cake for doneness by inserting a skewer in the middle. It should come out clean.

12. Cool completely on a wire rack.

13. Carefully unmold the cake and serve.

14. Enjoy!

Sourdough Focaccia

We have been making homemade pizza for a few years now and it’s become a staple that I have 2 outdoor pizza ovens at the moment.

I also make our sourdough bread every week and need to switch it up with a few varieties using different flours, inclusions, or liquid to flavor the bread. Marshmallow stout instead of water for a chocolate chip sourdough batard anyone??

Between bread and pizza, there’s also focaccia! And here is a very easy recipe complete with a timeline to guide you!

You can split this bread in half crosswise to use for sandwiches, or just cut into squares, or rectangles to eat as is! Dip in olive oil, Trader Joe’s Garlic dip, hummus, baba ganoush…..It’s crunchy and soft, salty and herby…just delicious specially when still warm from the oven.

I use really good olive oil and salt as I believe it contributes to the overall taste of the focaccia. The olives are dry cured from Trader Joe’s, tomatoes and rosemary are from the backyard.

I doubled the recipe and made 2 13”x9” focaccia to eat and have enough to trade with a dozen home grown eggs. So please don’t be confused by the discrepancy between the instructions and the photos. 😊

I hope you will like this recipe as much as we did!

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Ingredients:

423 grams all purpose flour

181 grams bread flour

460 grams water

11 grams salt, plus more for sprinkling

115 grams starter, I used one straight from the fridge

12 grams good quality olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Toppings of choice, chopped herbs, olives, tomatoes, etc.

Procedure:

1. 10 am to 11 am

In a large bowl, mix flours, water, salt and starter. Mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the dough comes together.

Set aside for about 15 to 30 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the water.

Then mix the dough thoroughly, drizzling in the olive oil and pulling the dough up until well mixed. Use a plastic bench/dough scraper to help you pull up the dough and mix the oil in.

Cover (I use a clean, unused plastic hair cover!) and set aside for 30 minutes

#1

2. Bulk 11:15-1:15

#2
#3

Perform 4 sets of stretch and fold every 30 minutes, for 2 hours.

Photos 1 – 4 are the stretch and fold in the first 30 minutes, #2 at an hour, #3 at an hour and thirty minutes, and #4 was after 2 hours, the last of 4 folds. See how stretchy and smooth the dough looks after?

#4

3. Proof 1:15- 5:15

Pour some olive oil in a 13 x 9 inch pan.

Transfer dough to the pan and cover.

Every 30 minutes on the first hour, uncover the dough and stretch gently to fill the pan.

Cover and let rest for the remainder of the 4 hours.

4. 5:15 Preheat oven to 450F.

5. Drizzle the dough with about 2 -3 tablespoons of good olive oil.

6. Wet your finger tips and dimple the dough all the way to the bottom of the pan, multiple times.

7. Sprinkle with chopped herbs, olives, capers, cherry tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, etc.

*I used halved cherry tomatoes, chopped rosemary, olives, and Maldon sea salt. The other focaccia had the same toppings except it did not have tomatoes, as I only got a handful from the garden.*

8. Sprinkle with good quality salt.

9. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown.

*After baking, tops should be golden and edges crusty.

*Bottom should be toasted. This looks perfect!

Cut for sandwiches, this is what the crumb look like on my bake. Yummy!

Electric Lunchbox # 96: Creamed Corn Cornbread

Good morning everyone!

After posting the Jiffy Spoon bread recipe for the ELB, I got a few requests for a “from scratch” recipe as Jiffy is not readily available where they live. I had that problem once in a while too, so I am more than happy to accommodate that request.

The texture if this is not as soft as the spoon bread recipe, but it is close. I hope you try it both and decide which one you like better!

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup sour cream

1 egg

1/2 cup cornmeal

3 tablespoons canola oil

3/4 cup canned creamed corn

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

3 ELB cups water for the base

Procedure:

1. Spray the big ELB bowl with nonstick spray. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, place sour cream,

2. Egg,

3. Cornmeal,

4. Canola oil,

4. Creamed corn,

5. Salt,

6. Baking powder, and sugar.

7. Stir everything together until just mixed.

8. Pour into prepared bowl and level the tops.

9. Cover with foil and set on the ELB base. Pour 3 ELB cups water in the base, cover, and let steam until it shuts off, about 1 hour.

10. Carefully open the ELB and check the bread for doneness by inserting a skewer in the middle. It should have little moist crumbs attached to it.

11. Cool for a few minutes on a wire rack. Invert onto a serving plate and serve warm.

Home made Natto (Fermented Soybeans)

Have you heard of, or even maybe TRIED, Natto (fermented soybeans)?

When you see it in Japanese or other Asian grocery stores, they come in a package of 3 little white, styrofoam boxes. It is usually served with rice in Japanese meals, most often breakfast. You stir it well to make it super stringy and slimy, add the tiny mustard and soy sauce packets that come with it, and pour everyting over hot rice. Then, you dig in!

It is for sure an acquired taste, even for those who grew up eating Japanese food. You either love it or loathe it. However, with all the fermented food craze lately, I read that it is added to everything, and I even saw it used to top a pizza! Now that is something I have to try! 😋

I prefer to use these small, organic soy beans when making natto and soy milk. The ones at the grocery stores are bigger, but are okay to use too.

So, in this post, I will show you how to make this super healthy, fermented food at home. In case you are like me and my mom, who happen to love natto, you can have an unlimited supply if you make it.

You will need an incubator that can keep a constant temperature of 100F. You can use an oven, a proofing box for bread making, yogurt maker, or an Excalibur Dehydrator.

*yogurt makers keep a temperature of about 105-112F and natto fermentation needs a temperature of around 100-105F, which is almost in the same range. I suggest checking the temperature first, if using a yogurt maker.*

A few years ago, I purchased a Japanese Yogurt maker specifically because you can adjust the temperature, unlike the ones available here in the US. The brand is Tanika and it is really a handy little appliance that I always use to make my homemade natto.

Of course, I also have an oven, an Excalibur dehydrator, 3 different kinds of yogurt maker, and a Brod and Taylor Folding Bread Proofer, but I do not like warming up that much space for a little jar of natto.

So, this Tanika yogurt maker is just perfect for me. Labels on the appliance and the manual are in Japanese but I recently saw some on Amazon that are made for the US market with English labels.

Just like yogurt, you need to buy a package first to be able to get the bacteria you need to make natto, then if you make it regularly, you just get a little from the prepared batch to make more. This is the easiest way to get started. Of course, you could also buy some natto spores to start the Bacillus Subtilis culture. Mitoku is the brand I use. It’s from Japan and makes really tasty natto. It comes with a tiny measuring spoon so you get a lot of natto even though the culture bottle is tiny.

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Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups soybeans, preferably organic

Water

Store bought natto, or natto spores

Procedure:

1. Rinse 1 1/2 cups of soybeans in water and soak in at least 5 cups of water overnight at room temperature.

*the soybeans will more than double its size, see photo below, so make sure you use a lot of water when soaking the beans.*

A dry soybean on the left. After soaking for 12 hours, it will look like the one on the right.
I use this footed strainer basket with a handle to steam the soybeans in an Instant pot.

2. Rinse and strain soybeans and place in a metal footed strainer basket (or a colander over a trivet).

3. Pour 1 1/2 cups water in the pressure cooker liner.

4. Place the strainer with soybeans in the pressure cooker and pressure cook for 45 minutes.

5. Let pressure drop for 10 minutes, then release pressure, placing a kitchen towel over the vent to help dissipate the steam.

Cover the vent with a clean towel. I just took a photo to show the release of pressure.
Soybeans after cooking for 45 minutes.

6. In the meantime, prepare your yogurt maker.

7. Place 1/4 cup of water in the Tanika Yogurt Maker’s inner container, place the spoon inside and cover with the clear cover.

8. Position the spoon so that the handle sticks out of the cut out in the cover.

9. Microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds to sterilize. Dump out the water.

10. If using the natto spores, mix 2 teaspoons boiled and cooled water with 1 tiny spoonful (included in the spores box) of the culture. Mix well and set aside.

*water mixed with natto spores*

11. Take one soybean and squeeze it between two fingers, it should be soft enough that it will crush easily.

12. Transfer half of the hot soybeans in the prepared yogurt container.

13. A. *If using spores, pour the half of the diluted culture over the hot soybeans.

13. B. If using ready made natto, add a spoonful of it onto the hot soybeans. Stir with the sterilized spoon.

14. A. *Add the rest of the soybeans to the yogurt container and then the rest of the diluted culture, if using spores. Mix well.

14. B. *If using pre made natto, add a spoonful more to the soybeans, then mix throughly.

15. Make sure to mix well, but be careful not to crush the beans.

16. Set the container into the yogurt maker, cover with a clean towel and place the blue cover over, slightly ajar to allow air in.

17. Set the fermentation temperature to 45C and the timer to 24 hours.

18. Carefully remove the blue cover and check the beans after 24 hours.

19. They should have a white, fuzzy growth around most of the beans.

20. Cover with the clear cover then the blue screw, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before eating.

*this is how it looks like from the bottom of the container.

21. Take a big spoonful of the natto and place on a serving dish. Cover and return the rest to the refrigerator. Using a spoon or chopsticks, thoroughly mix the natto until stringy and slimy. I was told to stir vigorously 100 times! Add a little soy sauce and hot mustard, serve over hot plain rice. Enjoy!

Mackerel Pate

Hello my friends!

Today I’ll be making a delicious fish sandwich spread. As you might know, I make our bread at least once a week and of course, I want the best sandwich fillings to go with it.

My very favorite will always be butter and orange marmalade, but tuna salad, and BLT are close contenders.

We do have the usual Turkey and/or Ham with cheese and mayo quite often too.

My mom was taking about how she eats some canned mackerel more often now as it is very good fo your health, so imagine how excited I was when I found these at Trader Joe’s.

I was going to mix it up like my tuna salad but figured out I can make a more tasty spread using cream cheese. It makes a thicker spread that you can thin out using some mayonnaise. I hope you’ll like it!

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Ingredients:

1/4 red onion, chopped

4-6 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature

Pinch of garlic powder

Pinch of ground black pepper

Pinch of Salt

1 6oz can mackerel, drained

1 hard boiled egg, peeled and chopped

*you can add 1 – 2 tablespoons mayo to loosen up the pate if you like it more spreadable*

Procedure:

1. In a bowl, mix together onions and cream cheese.

2. Add garlic powder,

3. Ground black pepper,

4. And salt.

5. Open the can of mackerel and drain well.

6. Place the fillets in the bowl.

7. Mash and mix everything together.

8. Add in chopped eggs.

9. Mix well. Add mayonnaise if using.

10. Spread on a thick slice of toasted bread.

11. Enjoy!

Electric Lunchbox #94: Apple Rum Cake

Apple. Rum. Cake.

Apples were on sale this past few weeks so I had bought my fair share. Actually MORE than my fair share that I had to dehydrate some to save them from going bad.

So I thought about making apple torte (https://athomewiththeresa.com/2020/11/27/apple-cream-torte/). But then someone mentioned apple cake with rum…so off to testing I went! I was told that spiced rum works best but I only had Bacardi so I used that. It worked!

You can definitely taste the rum in this cake. Which I like, but feel free to lessen the amount if you have to. Or replace it with apple juice to make it kid friendly.

Hope you like this recipe!

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1-2 tablespoons Bacardi rum

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 big apple, peeled and chopped

3 ELB cups water for base

Procedure:

1. Spray the big ELB bowl with nonstick spray. Set aside.

2. Melt butter in a microwave safe dish.

3. In a medium sized bowl, pour melted butter,

4. Brown sugar,

5. Rum,

6. Vanilla,

7. Egg,

8. Mix everything well together.

9. Add four,

10. Baking powder,

11. Salt,

12. Mix until no more trace of dry flour remains and the ingredients are well combined.

13. Gently fold in chopped apples. Make sure to try and coat the apples with the batter.

14. Pour into prepared ELB bowl. Cover with foil and set onto the ELB base,

15. Place 3 ELB cups water in the base, cover and let steam until it shuts off , about 1 hour.

16. Carefully open the ELB and check the cake for doneness. Poke the center with a skewer. It should come out clean.

17. Enjoy warm or cold! A scoop or 2 of ice cream would be great with this too!

18. Enjoy!

Electric Lunchbox #89: 1 hour dinner rolls

Delicious steamed bread in the ELB, done in about an hour or so, and enough for one, or two, or even three if you feel like sharing!

Made with only 6 ingredients, which I believe everyone has in their pantry, you could prep this before 5 pm and have fresh, hot rolls by around 6 pm! Perfect to serve with soup or stew!

Or make them in the morning for hot breakfast bread! Either way, I promise you a very tasty, soft, and delicious bread that you might want to make this often!

I like to use olive oil and enjoy the mild flavor in the finished bread, but feel free to use canola oil if you prefer a more neutral flavored bread.

You can also knead in some chopped rosemary, chopped olives, cheese cubes and jalapeños, or fill the dough rolls with whatever filling you like. I like an – red bean paste, ube – taro paste, cream cheese, cream cheese and strawberry jam, sliced chinese sausage, Filipino Menudo, or nutella. Make it your own!

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup warm water

1 1/2 tablespoons olive or canola oil

1/2 tablespoon sugar

1/2 tablespoon instant yeast

3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Procedure:

1. In a small bowl, place water,

2. Oil,

3. Sugar,

5. And yeast.

6. Mix everything together. Set aside for at least 15 minutes.

7. This is what it’ll look like after 15 minutes.

8. Add flour and salt to the yeast mixture. Stir everything together until it forms a ball.

9. Knead for about 3 minutes, until the dough looks smooth.

10. It should look like this after kneading. Divide dough into 3 or 4 pieces. Roll into smooth balls and pinch seams.

11. This is how it would look like after shaping the dough into balls.

12. Spray the medium or large ELB bowl with nonstick spray.

13. Place the dough balls in the greased bowl, leaving space between them as they will puff up. Cover with foil and place on the ELB base. Add 2 ELB cups of water to the base, cover and set aside for 10 minutes.

14. Turn the ELB on and let steam until done, about 30 – 35 minutes.

5. Carefully open the ELB and check bread for doneness. Add more water and steam longer if needed.

6. Enjoy the bread warm with butter and jam, soup, stew, or curry dinner!