Electric Lunchbox #99: Mangoes with Sticky Rice

This is a very delicious dessert typically found in Southeast asian countries. Rice is a staple eaten 3 times a day in that part of the world – plus for dessert/snack too! Mangoes with Sticky Rice is a simple treat but truly memorable and I know that I crave it often, specially when I see ripe, super fragrant, mangoes at the grocery store.

There are several variations of this Sticky Rice in Asia.

In the Philippines where I grew up, my aunts would wrap the rice mixture in banana leaves then tie them up in pairs before boiling it until the rice is done. They would serve these “Suman” as our midday snack, dipped in sugar, topped with ube halaya, or fried and topped with more sugar. There is also Biko, which is sweetened sticky rice and coconut milk, baked in a pan and topped with caramelly coconut jam. Another of my very favorite sweet!

I tried it served as this recipe is, with a side of mangoes and decorated with an orchid flower, in Singapore. 😋

When there are ripe mangoes available, they are THE perfect partner to this simple Sticky Rice dessert. Just make sure the mangoes are perfectly ripe!

To add more ooomph to this already yummy dessert, I added a drizzle of some Coconut Rum just before serving. I personally do not drink alcohol but somehow I love baking with it! As is evidenced by this recipe, and my famous Rum Cake recipe: https://athomewiththeresa.com/2020/11/16/electric-lunchbox-bacardi-rum-cake/.

This dessert is something I’d gladly skip lunch or dinner for.

It is easy to make and sure to impress! I hope you try it!

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

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Ingredients:

1 cup sticky rice – I use Botan brand sweet rice🔝

2/3 cup canned coconut milk

1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large ripe mangoes, cut from the pit and scooped out

1 1/2 tablespoons coconut rum, more if desired 😉

Procedure:

1. Place measured rice in a fine strainer and rinse under cold water until water runs clear, running your fingers through it to help in rinsing it.

2. Place rice in a bowl, cover with plenty of water and let soak for 4-12 hours.

3. Drain rice and place in the big bottom bowl of your ELB. Place this bowl, uncovered, in the ELB base.

See the difference in size? The one on the right is straight from the bag and the one on the left is after the rice was soaked overnight.

4. Place 3 ELB cups of water in the base, cover and let steam for about 1 hour, until your lunchbox shuts off.

5. Carefully open the ELB and fluff rice with a fork. Cover loosely and set aside.

6. In a small bowl, combine coconut milk, sugar, and salt.

7. Mix until sugar is completely dissolved.

8. Pour mixture onto the hot rice.

9. Place the bowl back in the ELB, add 1 ELB cup of water to the base, cover and let steam until done, about 15 minutes more.

10. Carefully open the ELB and stir the rice. Check to see if rice is done by tasting some. The best part, right? Adjust sweetness if needed by adding more sugar if you like. A reminder though that the mangoes will add sweetness to the dish too.

11. Slice each mango half into thin, lengthwise pieces. ⬇️

12. Mound rice on a serving plate and arrange mango slices around it, or on top of the rice. *I used a small cup to shape the rice into a small dome. Just scoop some rice into a clean, dry cup, level the top while gently packing the rice in. DO NOT pack too much as you want it fluffy, just enough to hold its shape. You could also just scoop some rice onto the plate and top with mangoes. It’ll still be delicious!

13. Pour coconut rum over and serve.

14. Sit back, put your feet up, and enjoy every bite!

Spicy Eggplant

Spicy Eggplant…this is one of my favorite dishes to order when eating out at an Asian restaurant. Of course with COVID-19 I had been cooking almost all of our meals at home for over a year.

Most of the meals I like to eat are easily made at home so I just had to recreate this recipe too as I have been craving spicy, salty, sweet foods lately. Must be because we are in this pandemic longer than anyone thought we would. This dish checks all the boxes – spicy, sweet, and salty – truly delicious with plain steamed rice. As a bonus, you get your veggie serving in there too!

You can make this vegetarian by cooking it as it is but my boys like meat and frowns if they cannot find meat in their plate so I did add a couple of handfuls of chopped meat in there. You can also make it spicier buy adding more chili paste. As always, feel free to tailor my recipes to your tastes!

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For the Sauce:
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon plain white vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili paste (sambal oelek)
1/2 teaspoon ground bean sauce (or hoisin sauce)
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

To finish cooking:
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound eggplant, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

*I added about 200 grams chopped pork to this recipe when I was taking photos of it for this article. You can leave it out if you want, but it sure makes it taste better!*

1. Prepare the sauce by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl and mixing well. Set aside.

2. Heat oil in a wok to 350 degrees F.

3. Add the diced eggplant and cook, stirring once, for about one minute. Remove the eggplant with a slotted spoon and set on paper toweling to drain.

4. Remove all but about a teaspoon of oil from the wok. Turn the heat to high and add the garlic.

5. Add the chopped pork and let it brown for a few minutes.

6. Carefully pour in the sauce.

7. Let the sauce come to a simmer for 30 seconds.

8. Add the eggplant back to the wok and cook for 10-15 seconds while stirring.

9. Combine the cornstarch,

10. and water to make a smooth paste.

11. Stir it into the eggplant mixture.

12. Keep stirring until it thickens.

13. Let it come to a boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

14. Serve hot with lots of steamed white rice.

15. Enjoy!

Trader Joe’s Thai Style Yellow Curry Sauce

I love the convenience of bottled simmer sauces that are becoming available at the grocery stores. They are truly life savers for when you come home late from work and need something on the dinner table real quick. The trick is finding out which ones you like, which means trying out a few brands.

I’ve always been lucky with almost anything I get at Trader Joe’s. They’re reasonably priced and always delicious, but sometimes you get hooked but you can never get it again. I had some favorite cheeses and sauces that was not available anymore when I came back for more. Sad.

So if I see something I want to try, I usually buy a couple to start with. They do have expiration dates so I cannot really get a dozen or so as we will get tired of it if I cook it too often. 😊

So…this is my most recent find!

I’ll cook this with some cut up chicken, garlic, onions, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, and a couple of bell peppers from the garden.

You can definitely eyeball the amounts and adjust anything to your taste.

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Begin by preparing all of your ingredients. I used the following:

1-2 tablespoons oil

3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 onion, peeled and diced

1 pound of chicken breast, cubed

1 big potato, peeled and diced

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 zucchini, trimmed and cut into half moons

A handful of mushrooms, chopped

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 bottle of Trader Joe’s Yellow Curry Sauce

Water

Freshly cooked rice and chopped cilantro, for serving

1. Heat oil in a saucepan. Sauté garlic and onions until lightly browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned. Next add the potatoes and carrots. Stir and cook for a few minutes.

3. Add the zucchini, mushrooms, and bell pepper.

4. Pour the curry sauce over. Fill the bottle halfway with water, cover and shake to get every last bit of the delicious sauce, open the bottle then pour contents into the pan.

5. Stir the mixture and cover with a lid. Lower heat to medium low and simmer until chicken and vegetables are done, around 10-20 minutes.

6. Serve over freshly cooked, hot rice. Top with chopped cilantro. Enjoy!

Electric Lunchbox #91: Strawberry Nesquick Mochi

I always have this big can of Nesquick Strawberry mix as my son loves it mixed in his morning mug of milk. I started buying it when I was pregnant, as I didn’t like chocolate then, so was happy to see they offered it in strawberry flavor! It was the only way i could drink milk then. I guess it got passed on to my son! 😊

When I was making the mochi recipes for the ELB, I happened to see the can of Nesquick and immediately thought of using it as flavoring. And here is the result of the experiment!

I would add more Nesquick next time as the flavors and color was minimal. Otherwise, the mochi was chewy, sweet, and delicious enough for a snack.

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

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup mochiko rice flour

1/4 cup sugar

2- 3 tablespoon Nesquick Strawberry drink powder

1/2 cup water

Katakuriko or cornstarch for dusting

Procedure:

1. In a bowl, mix rice flour,

2. Sugar,

3. Nesquick powder,

4. And water,

5. Mix well until blended.

6. The mixture will be thin, see photo below.

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

8. Pour mochi mixture into the bowl. Cover with foil and place in the ELB base. Pour 3 ELB cups of water in the base, cover and let steam until it shuts off, about an hour.

9. Carefully open the ELB, and check if mochi is set. Add more water to the base and steam longer if needed.

10. Dust the top with katakuriko or cornstarch.

11. Turn out onto a plate dusted generously with katakuriko or cornstarch.

12. Using a plastic knife, cut mochi into bite sized pieces.

13. Dust with more katakuriko or cornstarch to prevent sticking.

14. Enjoy!

Electric Lunchbox #87: Minestrone

It’s been cold this week here in Southern California so when I told my husband that I do not have any ideas on what else to make in the ELB, he said “soup!”

He went on naming different soups he grew up eating in Peru…and I stopped him when i heard Minestrone. I love Minestrone and I haven’t made it in a long time!

When I was a high school student at Herbert Hoover High in Glendale, CA, I chose a cooking/baking as my elective class. Not only as a way to nurture a life skill/hobby, but also to rest my brain between classes. And the basic Minestrone I make all these years always comes back to the recipe I learned in Mrs. Baker’s class.

So here it is! The original recipe I scribbled down when I was 15 years old – sure brings back a lot of memories! I didn’t even have to scale it down for the big ELB bowl as it fits perfectly!

Do not feel like you have to follow the recipe to the letter. Any bean or veggie you want, or have on hand, can be used instead of the ones listed in the recipe but I do encourage you to try the recipe as it is at least once. Then you can make adjustments after you’ve tried the recipe as is.

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

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Ingredients:

2 tablespoons onions

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon rice

1 tablespoon small pasta

1 tablespoon canned beans

1/2 cup peeled and diced potatoes

1 tablespoon green peas (used celery as I was out of green peas)

Salt and pepper

A few rosemary leaves

3/4 cup beef broth

2/3 cup water

Procedure:

1. Place the chopped onions in the big ELB bowl.

2. Add the butter,

3. Cornstarch,

4. Tomato paste,

5. Rice,

6. Pasta

7. Beans,

8. Potatoes,

9. Celery or green peas

10. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper, and the rosemary leaves,

11. Add the beef broth and water. Stir to mix everything together.

12. The butter will be a big blob but it will melt as the soup cooks the pasta and rice. It makes this soup rich and velvety!

13. Place the bowl in the ELB base. Add 3 ELB cups of water to the base, cover and let steam until it shuts off, about an hour.

14. Carefully open the ELB. Stir the soup and check the pasta and rice if it’s cooked through.

15. Serve hot! Enjoy!

Tiger Mochi Maker

One of the ladies at an ELB group I’m in mentioned a blogger making mochi like I did at the beginning of the year. Since I am making some that day, I figured I’ll just write about it too.

The holidays got a bit too busy to catch up with writing recipes (even though it was the perfect time as kitchens all over are definitely churning out yummy goodies non stop!). But I was able to snap photos (and videos!) along the way and I hope you’ll enjoy this read! Oh the beautiful chaos in the kitchen!

Mochi is traditionally eaten in Japan during New Year’s, it is added to soups like Ozoni, (made with chicken, vegetables and mochi) or Zenzai (sweet red bean soup with soft mochi pieces swimmimg around!) we also have kiri mochi, which is made from pounded sweet rice shaped into bars and dried. You toast them and dip in soy sauce. Yummy!! I like all those but I love stuffed mochi even more!

I had always used this brand of sweet rice so I’m not sure if there is any other brand out there. Filipino cuisine uses a sweet, sticky rice too but the appearance is different. These ones are almost round and the “malagkit” rice is more elongated. Not sure if they are interchangeable as I have both and never tried to replace one with another.

For my New Year’s mochi, I start the process a day before I want to cook and pound the rice.

I use 10 cups of rice. This is the maximum amount this mochi maker can handle and since I’ll be bringing some over to my mom, I figured I’ll just make a big batch. You HAVE to use the rice measuring cup that came with the mochi maker. Do not lose it!

Wash the rice thoroughly, until water runs clear. To do this, you place the measured rice in a big bowl, fill with water and run your fingers through it. I try to gently rub the grains together too. Drain and refill the bowl. Do this several times. Then fill the bowl with water one last time. Soak for at least 6 hours, ideally overnight.

After soaking, drain the rice and place in a strainer for 30 minutes. This is important as you do not want the rice too wet which will make your mochi too soft.

Add 2 1/2 cups water in the base of the mochi maker. This amount corresponds to the amount of rice you’ll cook. There is a chart in the manual. Reminder that you HAVE to use the cup that came with the machine to measure both the rice and the water.

Next, attach the bowl, twisting to set it in place. Place the impeller in the bowl turning until it settles in.

Carefully place the drained rice to the bowl.

Level out the top if needed.

Place the plastic cover over the bowl.

Press “steam”. It will steam until the reservoir runs out of water. When it is done, the buzzer beep loudly. Press “off”.

Remove cover, test rice for doneness. You should be able to crush it between two fingers.

Press “pound” and start a timer. This time, you DO NOT use the cover. It’ll take about 10-15 minutes. See the videos below to help you estimate the texture.

This is what the rice looks like in the beginning.

After a few minutes, a ball starts to form and the texture starts to look smoother.

In about 12 to 15 minutes, you would have a homogenous, smooth looking ball.

There should be no rice grains visible, just one smooth, white mass.

Sprinkle katakuriko (or cornstarch)on the cover or a clean board.

Invert the hot mochi onto the prepared surface.

Lift the hot bowl with pot holders and gently nudge all of the delicious mochi out of the bowl. Go ahead and taste some! I pinch a few pieces here and there and fill with an. See the last photo! Work (and eat!) quickly as this mochi hardens really fast.

You can roll them in the tray, sprinkling with katakuriko or cornstarch as needed.

Or you can transfer them into 2 plastic, one gallon freezer bags, snipping both sealed ends so you can roll the mochi all the way to the corners.

Leave bag open after rolling to dry the mochi a little. I leave it for several hours, turning it over and loosening the plastic a couple of times. Then remove from bag, cut into pieces and let dry a few more hours.

Store these in the freezer as it will get moldy rather fast at room temperature.

To serve, toast the squares until puffed and toasty. I use my toaster oven for this but a pan on the stove over low to medium heat, or even just microwaving till it puffs up, are both good too. Dip in lots of soy sauce and enjoy!

Mochi stuffed with An. 😋

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Electric Lunchbox #81: Daifukumochi or Daifuku

Happy New Year’s Day my friends!

Here’s to hoping 2021 will behave and allow us to go back and do what we used to do – enjoy life with people that matter, get together with family, eat together, and travel all over collecting memories to cherish forever.

Back to food…and ELB…today I will show you how to make one of my favorite sweets in the ELB.

Daifukumochi or daifuku (literally “great luck”), is a Japanese sweet made from sweet rice flour. It is formed into a round mochi then stuffed with sweet filling, most commonly anko, sweetened red bean paste made from azuki beans and sugar. Daifuku is a popular wagashi in Japan, and often served with green tea.

I made this in the ELB since mochi is traditionally served for New Year in Japan. The actual mochi for New Year’s is a block of pounded sweet rice, which cannot be made in the ELB. I do have a mochi maker, it cooks the soaked rice and pounds it perfectly so you don’t have to. All I do is pat it into a rectangle and slice. Then eat, of course! 😊

This sweet mochi is served all year round as a snack. I love eating it and I can finish a package of 6 in one sitting. It’s that good! Or bad….

You can also wrap a clean, dry, fresh strawberry with the red bean paste before wrapping in the mochi. That is a real treat specially if the strawberry is ripe and sweet.

I hope you enjoy this little Japanese dessert/snack! I tried to make it real easy using readily available ingredients. 😊

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

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup mochiko rice flour

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Pinch salt

1/2 cup water

Katakuriko (Potato starch), for dusting

1/4 cup red bean paste

3 ELB cups water for the base

Procedure:

1. Place the rice flour in the large ELB bowl.

2. Add the sugar and salt next.

3. Pour in water.

4. Slowly stir the mixture.

5. Keep stirring until the mixture becomes thick and well blended.

6. Cover the bowl with foil and place the bowl in the ELB base. Pour 3 ELB cups of water in the base, cover and let steam until done, about 1 hour.

7. In the meantime, pour some katakuriko (potato starch) in a plate and set aside.

8. Roll up a tablespoon or so of red bean paste into balls. Make 4 of these. Set aside.

9. When the ELB shuts off, carefully open it and drain any liquid on top of the mochi.

10. While hot, divide the mochi into 4 pieces using a butter knife. D

11. Dust your fingers with katakuriko.

12. Working quickly, while the mixture is hot, scrape 1 portion of the mochi into your hands and stretch it out a little.

13. Place 1 red bean paste ball in the middle and pull edges over, pinching to seal. Roll into a ball, dusting with katakuriko as needed.

*I was rushing to leave when I made this so apologies for the irregular shapes. It took me less than 5 minutes from the time I took the mochi from the ELB to taking this final photo. I might re do the photo when I get another chance to make these leisurely *

14. Give the mochi one final roll in the katakuriko, place on a serving dish, and devour!

Electric Lunchbox #53: Beef with Eggplant

A perfect lunch for tomorrow! Mix the ingredients for the meat and eggplant in the big bowl, place the rice without the water in the top bowl and take to work. Keep cold until ready to cook. Add water to the rice and to the ELB base about an hour or so before you want to eat.

Lunch is hot and ready when you are! If you can’t get to it right away, it’ll be fine as most ELB, if not all, shuts off automatically when the water in the base is gone. It might turn on again when enough condensation reaches the heating element but it will shut off again when the water evaporates. It’s kind of like a “keep hot” function.

Yo can definitely add more spice to this by upping the amount of chili pepper flakes. It’s so good as there’s a medley of flavors going on – salty, sweet, spicy – together with the textures of the meat and eggplant. I sometimes add tofu, sugar snap peas, or mushrooms, if I have them so you can tailor this to your taste.

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

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1/2 cup ground beef

1/2 cup diced eggplant (the small round eggplant is perfect for this! I think they’re called Indian eggplant.)

2 tablespoon chopped onions

2 tablespoon soysauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pinch of ground black pepper

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons chili pepper flakes

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 ELB cups rice

2 ELB cups water

1. Place beef, eggplant, onions, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic powder, salt , pepper, chili pepper flakes, and cornstarch in the big ELB bowl. Mix together, breaking up the ground beef into little pieces. Place bowl in the ELB base.

2. Place the rice in the smaller ELB bowl. Rinse and drain. Pour in 2 ELB cups water and stir. Place this bowl on top of the bigger bowl.

3. Add 3 ELB cups water to the base, cover and let steam until done, about 55 minutes.

4. Carefully remove the ELB cover, use a spoon to break up the ground beef and mix with the sauce.

5. Serve hot with the rice. Enjoy!

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