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I knew I wanted to draw desserts with beans, and upon doing some research, I found that different countries around Asia have their own versions of shaved ice and sweet beans. I wanted to highlight this fact in my illustration, so I made sure to include other ingredients that are particular to each country's interpretation of the dessert. I personally love having lots of beans in my halo-halo!
Adzuki bean in Japan and their Stories!
Nerikiri is an edible art. They are traditional Japanese sweets that are mochi on the outside, and adzuki bean paste on the inside. They are beautifully molded into flowers, fruits and birds of the season. It used to be a luxury confectionery for the Japanese Nobility in the Edo Era. Nowadays, they are often served together with green tea in Japanese tea ceremony.
Sekihan literary means “red rice” in Japanese because the rice is red from cooking with adzuki beans. It is a traditional dish served during New Years, birthdays, and weddings. The red color represents good luck, good health and happy life.
Oshiruko is a sweet adzuki paste soup with mochi. It is loved by many Japanese, especially during the winter. It is believed to have mysterious power to fight evil spirits!!
Taiyaki a fish-shaped pancake filled with sweet adzuki bean paste. Why Tai fish? The original taiyaki iron mold was round. Back in Meiji Era, Tai (sea bream) was considered a very expensive fish and only eaten for special celebrations. They decided to change the snack from its circular shape to the sea bream shape to make it more special, and became a huge hit!
I grew up eating beans as desserts, and they remain my favorite kind of sweets to this day. Adzuki and mung beans were always served as soups, or made into a sweet paste and stuffed into mochi (daifuku), pancake batter (taiyaki), or a flaky pastry (hopia). Soybeans were made into soy milk, and turned into a savory soybean soup (doujiang) or a sweet tofu pudding (douhua). One of my favorite desserts of all time is shaved ice (baobing) with as many toppings possible, including adzuki beans, mung beans, kidney beans, tofu pudding, boba, and a scoop of red bean ice cream, which are all then drizzled with condensed milk.
I've not yet BEAN to Japan but it is my number one food fantasy trip! I love love love red bean desserts so this recipe is an ode to how this important ingredient wears so many cute disguises. I've attempted to learn some Japanese over the years and I get friends to send me snack packets for extra inspiration! Super kawaii foods with faces from Japanese pop culture and food packaging have been a big design influence on me so I tried to work that into this recipe as well. And finally, the little star shapes are a hard candy called konpeitō which I put in there for my lively anko to snack on. Sorry for any mistakes in my Japanese labels! The only thing trickier than learning a new alphabet is trying to do cute hand-lettering in a new alphabet!
This piece is for the Bean Contest! I wanted to illustrate a Vietnamese bean dessert I used to love as a child called Che Ba Mau which translates to Three Color Dessert. It consists of sweetened red beans, mashed mung beans, pandan jelly, and a sweet coconut sauce on top! Yum! The dish is typically served over crushed ice and was a favorite of mine during hot summers.
I thought it would be a good way to celebrate the 'full of protein' bean. Adzuki and Lima beans are an unexpected main ingredient of Namagashi (生菓子), which literally translates to "raw sweets". I taught English as a foreign language in Tokyo for a while and really enjoyed these beautiful sweets. These are traditional Japanese sweets that are made of rice flour and sweet bean paste filling, namagashi is delicately shaped by hand to reflect the season and is usually served at tea ceremonies.
Brenebon soup (red kidney bean soup) is a Manado (North Sulawesi of Indonesia) recipe adopted from the Dutch from their colonialism period. It has become the family recipes from generations, even now it is considered one of the best grandma's soup, that flavor of cloves will get anyone down with a fever feel better! The surprise is not only brenebon can be enjoyed as soup for rainy days, it can be enjoyed as shave ice for hot and sunny days. The texture of kidney beans goes so well with the smoothness of avocado and the sweetness from pandan-scent-brown sugar, and the mountain of crystal shaved ice ? It's like having magical snow and the ethnicity of tropical land into your mouth.
This is a fancy-looking but very simple dessert I often bring to parties and potlucks when a dessert is requested. At this point I’ve come to be known for this trifle, even though I’ve mixed up my offerings and often bring non-trifle goodies. It’s easy to put together~ even easier with ready-made pudding, whipped cream, and frozen cream puffs.
This illustrated recipe is a Christmas version of the Croquembouche, an impressive pyramidal confection popular in France for weddings and important celebrations. Comprised of cream puffs dipped in warm caramel and stacked to form a tree/pyramid, it is often finished off with a web of spun caramel or powdered sugar.
I first saw one of these beautiful structures in Provence back in 2015, when I came upon a
celebration for French firefighters in the town square. I've been wanting to make one ever since!
One winter, I was able to escape to the Southern Hemisphere to visit a friend in Chile. After a tiresome plane ride, my friend picked me up and we hit the streets of Santiago. The sun was hot and the jet lag was setting in, so we stopped for one of Chile’s favorite treats: mote con huesillos. After we ordered, two cups were filled with cooked wheat berries, dried peaches and finally an icy sweet liquid steeped in peaches, sugar, cinnamon and orange. Standing there, under the hot afternoon sun and drenched in sweat from a day of exploring, it was a most welcome treat that reminded me of one of the reasons I love traveling.