Asian Flavours in Baking

Asian flavours have been invading the baking world these days from the ever-green matcha, to the recent boba invasion. These flavours are very distinctive and suitable to be incorporated in various kinds of desserts and baked goods.

In this article, we’ll be discussing on a Asian flavours that are quite prominent and trendy at the moment. Are you ready? Cause we certainly are! Let’s dive in! 

 

1. Matcha 

We wouldn’t dare to say that matcha is a new trend in baking, because it was discovered hundreds of years ago- but it is still relevant to us these days as people have been making it into varieties of dessert, baked goods and drinks.

Because of this we felt that it belonged in the number 1 of our list. We won’t bore you with the recipes or ideas on what to do with it because, well, we’ve seen it all these days. 

However it is important to note that there are quite  a number of varieties of quality when it comes to matcha, and it always comes down to your preferences and what the recipe called for.

2.Yuzu

What is Yuzu, you might wonder. It is a Japanese citrus with a sharp and sour taste. It’s quite like lemon but its flavour and fragrance are very distinct. Although it does look like an orange, trust us you wouldn’t want to peel yuzu the same way you did with orange and to even eat it.  

People usually turn yuzu’s peel into marmalade; for example the Koreans make yuzu marmalade and add it to hot water to drink as herbal remedy called yuja-cha. Some people even bring yuzu to bathe and float the whole fruit in their bathtubs to extract its essential oils and infuse the bathwater. 

However if you’d ask us, we’d make a yuzu cheesecake! Just like regular cheesecake, but with a yuzu curd as toppings. Yum! And just in case if you wanted to learn the basics and tips on how to make cheesecake we might have just the solution for you.

 

3.Hojicha

The next on the list is hojicha. Hōjicha is a Japanese green tea that is distinctive from other Japanese green teas. What makes it different is because it is roasted in a porcelain pot on charcoal whilst other Japanese teas are steamed. Due to this, it altered the leaf colour from green to reddish brown. 

One of the ways you can incorporate hojicha into baking is by making hojicha madeleines! Its moist and dense interior complements the smokiness of the hojicha. Try it out! If you’re a fan of hojicha, you’ll definitely LOVE this.

 

4.Miso

Miso is a Japanese invention condiment made by combining soybeans and sea salt which then being fermented and aging in barrels. This then results in a powerful paste that is packed with flavours. 

There are 3 varieties of misos; a buttery miso (shiro), medium-bodied (shinsu) and beefy, pungent miso (aka). Simply put, the darker the colour of the miso, the saltier and more pungent it tastes. 

As we all know, salt and chocolate is quite a popular combination of flavours e.g. salted brownies and whatnot– and since miso does carry saltiness in its taste, some people actually made miso brownies!

It is surprisingly good and with the addition of miso into the batter, it gives a luscious and buttery dimension to the end product. Dare we say, you should try it too!

 

5.Black sesame

Black sesame or also known as kala til is considered as a superfood and is packed with loads of nutrients and is very beneficial to health. It is also a very good source of energy and are multipurpose i.e. you can sprinkle/incorporate them with a lot of things like cereals, toasts, smoothie- just to name a few. 

It may be a small seed but no doubt a very powerful one, used for many health-promoting and anti-ageing benefits. Black sesame is used all over the world in their cuisines including Africa! 

The usage is even more popular now that some even use it in baking! As such, one of the recipes that stands out is black sesame chiffon cake. What’s unique about this cake is that it gives off a very alluring colour to the cake and with addition of the seeds into the batter, it adds a crunchy texture which is interesting.

However, chiffon cakes in general are quite technical to make and if you’d love to learn the basics, check this out for a comprehensive chiffon cake 101.

 

6.Yam 

The purple yam or also called Filipino ube or ubi has a dark, rough-looking skin that is brown and looks like a tree bark. It is a major crop and food source in the Philippines. It is usually made into powder, which then is used in desserts and baked goods. 

When using it in baking, be aware that it will take some time so you will need to bake them anywhere from 90 minutes to a couple of hours. 

And if you’re going to use it in baked goods, please take note and be cautious about recipes that use baking soda. Combining baking soda and ube may turn the purple yam to green! 

For a recipe idea using ube, we’d recommend ube cotton cheesecake! It’s fluffy, with the hint of the yam flavour– a perfect combo!

 

7. Durian

Ah, the King of Fruits! As Asians, we are so accustomed to eating durian ever since we’re little and it’s safe to say that durian is almost everyone’s favourite. Started off with durian crepe, recipes that incorporate durian into dessert and baking has evolved ever since.

Durian to some are smelly and pungent but chances are, they either haven’t found the right ones or have gotten a rotten one. Durian as we all know comes in a lot of varieties with D-24 and Musang King being the ‘flagship’ premium of the varieties.

There are a lot of ways to use durian aside from eating it as is; some use it in cooking i.e. turning it into tempoyak, some make it into pengat or a sweet porridge and the list goes on. 

If you’re interested, we’d recommend trying to bake a cream puff with durian fillings. It will give off light and airy texture of the cream and choux pastry with a slight hint of the durian which is perfect as a dessert. 

It’s interesting to see some of your kitchen staples, or favourite fruits or veg can be incorporated into dessert and even baking! Ask away if you have any questions.

 

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