Strawberry Nutella Pizza

I don’t know if you’ve been to Brazilian barbecue before but if you haven’t it’s essentially meat served buffet style. You have a little token that has a red side and a green side. Red means stop. Green means go. Go means an endless parade of waiters (probably in flouncy gaucho-style pants) will bring platter upon platter of picanha, tri tip, pork ribs, garlic picanha, linguiça, bacon wrapped filet mignon, and if you are in Brazil one of my personal favorites, fraldinha forever and ever. Its kind of insane. But its also kind of the norm in Brazil for a lot of things. Brazilians love buffets. Salad buffets, dessert buffets, pasta buffets and let me blow your mind a little – PIZZA BUFFETS. Yup.

 

*Do not be scared by the literal Google translation of fraldinha as ‘little diaper’, it has nothing to do with a cow’s butt I promise.

 

Strawberry Nutella Pizza

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Strawberry Nutella Pizza

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And the thing is that Americans loves buffets too, but most of the time here, buffets = shitty food. In Brazil there are many fine dining restaurants that are buffet style. It’s not cheap but the food is also decidedly not shitty. In fact one of my mom’s favorite restaurants in São Paulo was Badebec which describes itself as ‘a buffet of the gods’ whatever that means. This was no lame cheap pasta dishes suffering under the oppressive dry glare of heating lamps. This was filet mignon in Madeira mushroom sauce, fluffy golden manioc gnocchi covered in parmesan cheese, mushroom and pumpkin terrine, and fresh fettucine with huge fresh prawns. My favorite buffet was probably the dessert buffet at Figueira Rubayat: a mixture of traditional Brazilian desserts like quindim, condensed milk and coconut pudding, passion fruit mousse and more traditionally European desserts like mille feuille, chocolate mousse, crème brûlée. And pretty platters of lots of tropical fruits. What more could you want really.

 

But right pizza buffets. This was and still is a thing. I can’t even tell you how magical it is to not have to wait for fresh hot pizza. And to get to have slices of fresh from the oven margarita pizza followed by a slice of palm heart pizza (so good, trust) and then some catupiry com frango. And then just when you think you never want to see another slice of pizza in your life, there it is: dessert pizzas. The most common flavor is brigadeiro, a chocolate and condensed milk based spread covered in chocolate sprinkles. But its not uncommon to see banana, cinnamon and caramel or brigadeiro with fresh strawberries. At this point you activate your dessert stomach (ZZzzzuuuupppp you tried.

 

Strawberry, Ricotta and Nutella Dessert Pizza

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Strawberry, Ricotta and Nutella Dessert Pizza

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Strawberry, Ricotta and Nutella Dessert Pizza

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I kind of forgot all about dessert pizzas until I started seeing them pop up around here – I think I spied a s’mores pizza at URBN the other day and I saw a couple dessert pizza posts on Pinterest. So here’s my contribution to the wonderful world of dessert pizza. I swap the brigadeiro for Nutella, add some honey-sweetened whipped ricotta (if you don’t like the graininess in ricotta your life is about to change) and then top it with some rhubarb compote and fresh strawberries. And because no one wants to turn your oven on to 500 degrees to properly bake pizza the best way to make yummy pizza crust is grilled! And if you live in a building with a totalitarian HOA that doesn’t let you have barbecues, these were done on a panini press. And it turned out just perfect. So whatever. I don’t even need a BBQ.

 

(jk plz let us have a bbq neighbors)

 

RECIPE:

 

Strawberry, Ricotta and Nutella Dessert Pizza
Makes one

 

INGREDIENTS:

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat a panini press or grill.
  2. Add in the ricotta and 3 tablespoons of milk to a blender. Blend until completely smooth. If its too thick to blend add another tablespoon or two of milk and try blending again.
  3. Once smooth add 2 tablespoons of honey and blend. Taste and if needed add more honey and blend again.
  4. Set aside ricotta honey mixture covered in the fridge.
  5. Roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface to desired size and about 1/4 in to 1/2 in in thickness depending on your preference for thin or thicker dough. Brush grill or panini press with olive oil.
  6. Place rolled out pizza dough on grill/panini press. It’s hard to give times since it will depend on what you are using and the thickness of the dough, but once you see definite grill marks flip and do the other side until its browned but not overly dry or tough. In a panini press it will be cooking from both sides so no need to flip. It took about 2-3 minutes for me.
  7. Note: When using a grill make sure the grill is HOT before adding the pizza dough or else it will stick to the grill and burn and stick and you’ll have dough in your grill forever. I’m telling you now so eez not my fault if this happens :)
  8. Remove and set on serving platter. Immediately (generously) top with Nutella, the hot dough should make it easier to spread.
  9. Add rhubarb compote (if using), honey whipped ricotta, and then top with fresh strawberries.
    Serve immediately.

 

Strawberry Nutella Pizza

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Strawberry Nutella Pizza

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Strawberry Nutella Pizza

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Strawberry Nutella Pizza

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Strawberry Nutella Pizza

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Strawberry Nutella Pizza

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Strawberry Nutella Pizza

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You will slay any Memorial Day BBQ with this pizza.

 

Strawberry Nutella Pizza

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Seriously just talking about all this Brazilian food is making me want to fast forward to November so I can hop on my flight to São Paulo and have ALL the buffets. Is there such a thing as being homesick but mostly for you know…food??

 

Sveti Jakov

Final installment of my Dubrovnik posts, see part one here and a post of the Elafiti islands by Dubrovnik here. The last day and a half in the city was when we finally got to go to Buza Bar, precariously perched on a cliff hugging the outside of the city walls. The bar is not fancy, it is plastic chairs and tables covered by a thin thatched roof, the bathroom is dirty, its often crowded and the drinks are expensive but the view is unparalleled. You will have to get there early to secure a seat, but you can also get there not early like us and sit yourself on a nice rock. Slightly less comfy but all the more better for spotting the sun descend into the inky blue Adriatic and to place will-they-or-won’t-they bets on some of the more anxious people trying to gather up the courage to jump the 70 or so feet from the Lion’s Head rock to the ocean down below. Pro tip: if they ascend the rock clutching on for dear life and nearly folded over as opposed to strolling on standing up straight it will probably not happen.

 

Buza Bar

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To get to Buza Bar you must walk up the stairs away from the main street of Stradun and west. As you walk along the inner perimeter of the walls you will eventually happen onto arrows that point to Buza and soon enough there will be a narrow passageway. Bowing your head down while placing your hands against the cool rock on either side of you, you will traverse the thick city walls into a a set of stairs that winds down into the jutting rock shelves that support the bar. Note there are two Buza Bar locations and Buza 1 is where the Lion’s Head rock is while Buza 2 is set a bit further closer to the city gate and has less shorter/less terrifying cliff jumping spots.

 

Dubrovnik

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Dubrovnik

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Dubrovnik

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Buza Bar

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Buza Bar

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Buza Bar

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Buza Bar

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Buza Bar

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Buza Bar

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Buza Bar

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I think cliff jumping is a lot like going on roller coasters. You might hem and haw in the line and when the seat belts clangs shut over you you might decide its not for you after all. Then if you stick with it the ominous click-click-click of your car inching up a steep slope as the world around you gets smaller is sure to muster up some silent panic while you frantically regret your decision. But as soon as its all over – the initial sudden drop and the cold feeling in the pit of your stomach, the twists, the sharp turns, the pressure on the back of your head every time you get propelled into a loop – and you slowly coast back into the loading zone, you are grinning from ear to ear and can’t wait to go back again. Or at least that’s my experience, ha. On the other hand you should see me on those elevator-y drop type rides. I don’t know why but those scare the f*** out of me (exhibit A).

 

That being said I decidedly did not jump off this giant thing and I’m glad I didn’t because it should probably not be the first time you ever jump off something that tall. One girl (the only girl really) that we saw jump did not land into the water very well and emerged grimacing in pain and looking red all over. So I was more than content to just sit on the rocks, drink our overpriced beers and peach juice and watch other people plummet into the ocean. Not a bad way to end the day.

 

Buza Bar

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Buza Bar

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Buza Bar

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The walk back to our apartment outside the city was not too shabby either with the sky going from a fiery orange to dreamy muted pinks and purples.

 

Dubrovnik

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Dubrovnik

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Dubrovnik

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Dubrovnik

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The next morning we decided to explore another beach that was outside the city walls, Sveti Jakov. It was nice to walk down the residential streets to Sveti Jakov. So empty and quiet compared to walking around the old walled portion of Dubrovnik that is so clogged with people during the summer months. We saw no one else walking down there as we passed overgrown ivy meandering in and out of stone walls underneath the shade of tall cyprus trees and bright shocks of bougainvillea spilling out of houses and rusted gates, shedding pretty fuchsia tears over the sidewalk. When we finally found the steep stairs that start behind a church and descend to the beach we spotted the narrow little cove; teal blue water contrasting with the most vividly purple umbrellas. Although there were other people in the beach, it was no problem to find plenty of room to lay down our thin little Turkish towels we had bought at the farmer’s market in Paris. Although I did wish for something a bit thicker as nearly all the beaches in Croatia are quite rocky and after every beach session I was left with a neat constellation of pebble imprints on the back of my legs and shoulders…

 

Sveti Jakov

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Sveti Jakov

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Sveti Jakov

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Sveti Jakov

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Sveti Jakov

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Sveti Jakov

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I liked this beach so much better than the more popular Banje (or East-West) beach right outside the city walls. There is a tiki bar at the back of the beach (veryyy solid mojitos) and a shower to rinse off. And to the left here is a single restaurant that specializes in grilled seafood. They have outdoor seating but I chose to get some grilled calamari with potatoes and greens to go. The gentleman at the ordering window kept asking me where I was sitting and I kept insisting that I was taking it to go. Finally I pointed at the beach and said I was sitting there. Satisfied he nodded and 10 minutes later this materialized by my beach towel:

 

Sveti Jakov

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Sveti Jakov

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How handy is that? Quite liked this. The food was good: the squid had char on it but wasn’t rubbery at all, the greens had a squeeze of lemon to brighten things up and the potatoes despite their plain appearance were really reallyy delicious. I shared my squid with one of the skinny little stray cats that was mewling around the beach but kept all the potatoes myself. I concede my recollection of the food might be tainted by the positive associations with the beach, the cute cat and that cool little portable table but I would still recommend you try this place out after a day at the beach. If hunger is the best spice, then surely the second best is a swim in the ocean.

 

The walk back to our hotel was just as scenic and we even stopped by a gorgeous hotel called Villa Dubrovnik to inquire about getting massages in their spa. They were unfortunately all booked up but it was fun just to explore, unlike most of the other hotels that emulate a more Old World style Villa Dubrovnik is all white walls, glass and clean lines; like a spaceship descended onto Earth and attached itself to a cliff overlooking the Dalmatian coast. You have to take an elevator from the street level to get down to the hotel. Very Bond villain lair-esque. No pictures because it was one of those places that felt too intimidatingly fancy to be gawking and snapping photos of and just the sound of our rubber flip flops squeaking on the Carrara marble floor felt gauche enough reverberating off the tinted glass hallways. But eh, I am also not someone who is not used to staying in posh hotels. My dad is super against fancy hotels and although we were/are so lucky to travel frequently you should see some of the ‘hotels’ we’ve stayed at – there was a jungle lodge in Belize with a spider on the ceiling that was so huge, when we took a picture of it IT’S EYES REFLECTED BACK. I could literally use iPhoto to get rid of the red eye on the gigantic spider.

 

Sveti Jakov

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Sveti Jakov

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Sveti Jakov

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Since the (surprisingly normal priced) massages were off the table we decided to just go with good old fashioned naps. When we woke up I wanted us to get drinks at Villa Argentina, a stately manor looking place that we always walked by on the way to Old Town. We also may have semi broken in and walked around the property on our first night in Dubrovnik when post-street mojitos and post-1 liter bottle of wine we decided we MUST find somewhere to eat and were hoping their kitchen was still open at 2AM. It was not.

 

Grand Villa Argentina

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Grand Villa Argentina

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Grand Villa Argentina

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Grand Villa Argentina

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But now it was. There is a terrace for the restaurant that has one of those grand stone railings and has grape vines overhead. We were just getting drinks and the patio next to the bar was equally scenic, a covered alcove with a view of the sea and the city and expansive white couches. We ordered a charcuterie board (amazing) and ordered our drinks. The service was outstanding, despite just ordering one round of drinks and a cheese and meat board to share we stayed for a while and the waiter put up with all our requests for group pictures as well as volunteered to call a taxi company we had been trying to book for the next day. Its a bit pricy naturally but highly recommended and incredibly worth it. At least for the bar area.

 

Grand Villa Argentina

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Grand Villa Argentina

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Grand Villa Argentina

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Grand Villa Argentina

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Grand Villa Argentina

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Grand Villa Argentina

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The place we had dinner at was in the city, the restaurant we had wanted to go to was unfortunately already closed so we ate at another one that had decent Trip Advisor reviews. The meal was unimpressive but we decided that the drinks at Villa Argentina had been enough of a proper send off for our last night in Dubrovnik.

 

Dubrovnik

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Next morning we woke up bright and early, and in the end didn’t need that taxi after all as our AirBnB host drove us to the bus stop to catch the bus headed north to Split. Hvar here we come.

 

Dubrovnik

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Burmese Coconut Steamed Buns with Matcha

I’ve been really into travel food blogs lately. I love finding the less notorious foods in other countries. Not the pho and the pad thai but the fact that people squeeze lime into coffee in Vietnam or the street side banana roti pancakes we ate almost every day in Thailand. The little quirky snacks that are not as flashy and not as entirely unique but very particular to that region. My main inspirations are The Funnelogy Channel and Roads & Kingdom’s Food & Drink section. And the day I saw these beautiful Burmese Fried Coconut Buns (scroll down) on The Funnelogy Channel I decided I had to find a recipe for them.

 

Burmese Coconut Steamed Buns with Matcha

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Burmese Coconut Steamed Buns with Matcha

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Anddd then I found no such recipe. I found a Youtube video, I found pictures of these fried coconut buns in other travel blogs and I found passing references to them. But no recipe. But instead I came upon a recipe for steamed Burmese coconut buns. These are really Chinese steamed buns that have made their way to Burma and have been handily appropriated with a tropical twist. Myanmar’s cuisine is a wonderful hodge podge of all the countries that loom around or have loomed over them including China, India, Portugal and the UK.

 

Burmese Coconut Steamed Buns with Matcha

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Burmese Coconut Steamed Buns with Matcha

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And then I decided to add a bit of my own twist, I brushed matcha onto the dough and folded it before I rolled it out flat creating dusty green veins of matcha through the dough. And in some of the buns I even went ahead and pressed some dark chocolate chunks into the filling. Because why not.

 

Burmese Steamed Coconut Buns

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Burmese Coconut Steamed Buns with Matcha

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RECIPE:

 

Burmese Steamed Coconut Buns with Matcha
Makes 8 buns

 

INGREDIENTS:

Dough:

  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons of matcha

Filling:

  • 6 ounces or 2.5 cups fresh grated coconut – alternatively steamed dry grated coconut or rehydrated dry grated coconut (add 1 cup of water to the coconut and microwave for 1 minute then drain)
  • 3-5 tablespoons honey
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chunks

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Combine the lukewarm water, yeast, oil and sugar in a bowl and mix with a spoon until well combined.
  2. Add in flour and salt to the liquids and stir. When fully incorporated, knead dough with hands (or dough hook) until smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Coat a bowl with oil, turn out dough onto bowl, coat the dough with oil as well then cover and let it rise somewhere warm for about 40 minutes or until doubled in size. I like to let it rise in the oven with the oven light on (but oven turned off).
  4. Once rise, knead the dough for about a minute then cover and let it rise again for another 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in a pan combine the grated coconut, honey, and salt then cook over medium low heat stirring frequently for 2 to 3 minutes. Once the honey has melted into the coconut remove from heat and let it cool completely.
  6. Place cupcake liner or parchment paper about an inch apart on the rack of a steamer. Add water to the pan underneath the steamer and start heating over medium low heat.
  7. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Cover unused dough to prevent drying.
  8. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a circle. Generously brush the surface of the circle with matcha powder. Fold the dough over and then brush it again with matcha. Fold over again and then roll out into a 4 inch or so circle trying to leave the center slightly thicker than edges.
  9. Take a heaping tablespoon of the cooled filling and place in the middle of the circle. If using the chocolate place 3-5 chunks of chocolate on top of the coconut. Gather the edges of the dough and pinch the edges together to form pleats. Twist ends off to seal and close. Repeat for all the buns.
  10. Once done, cover and let the buns rise for 20 minutes.
  11. Steam the buns for 18-20 minutes, covered and undisturbed.
  12. Turn off the heat, remove buns from steamer and serve still warm.
  13. Before serving, dust with more matcha if desired
  14. If storing in the fridge, before serving, wrap with damp paper towel and microwave for 10 to 15 seconds.

 

Very lightly adapted from Tasty Memories – Steamed Buns with Coconut Fillings.

 

Matcha

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Coconut

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Burmese Coconut Steamed Buns with Matcha

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Burmese Coconut Steamed Buns with Matcha

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Burmese Coconut Steamed Buns with Matcha

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Burmese Coconut Steamed Buns with Matcha

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You have to eat these fresh, take them off the steamer and let them cool for a while but eat them warm. They are incredibly satisfying to tear apart, fluffy white bun gives way to steam curling out of the shreds of juicy coconut and if you add the dark chocolate, an appropriately oozy dark chocolate core. The matcha not only adds pretty green swirls but also adds a nice, slightly bitter green tea edge.

 

Note that these buns are not very sweet, they are a nice accompaniment to tea or coffee, more of a breakfast than a dessert. You can obviously make them sweeter if you like. One potentially tasty way to accomplish this is to substitute white chocolate chunks for the dark chocolate. I’m can also attest to the fact that these freeze wonderfully.

 

Burmese Coconut Steamed Buns with Matcha

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Burmese Coconut Steamed Buns with Matcha

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Burmese Coconut Steamed Buns with Matcha

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Burmese Coconut Steamed Buns with Matcha

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For the trial that I photographed I actually used rehydrated grated coconut as the fresh coconut I bought from Vons was entirely moldy inside. The best way to get grated coconut is to buy the little tubs of coconut meat they have at Whole Foods (and sometimes regular grocery stores too) and grate them with a food processor attachment or by hand. The worst way to harvest it is to buy a whole coconut (the hairy looking brown ones mind you not the green ones), poke the ‘eyes’ of the coconut out and see suspiciously brown water pour out, ignore it, try to smash it with a hammer, fail, almost cut off a finger trying to chop at it with a hatchet, ask your boyfriend to to try to chop it with the hatchet, fail again and then finally find this super handy Youtube video, succeed in opening it and find out its entirely moldy inside. Yup.

 

Burmese Coconut Steamed Buns with Matcha

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