Hong Kong

(From L to R, top to bottom:) Pearl Buck, a Karakuri puppet, Japanese Izakaya food in Beijing, Singaporean designer Peir Wu's FW 2011 Collection, Korean thriller 'Poongsan', and the cast of Korean musical '200-pound Beauty''

@The great train tragedy in Zhejiang China continues to unfold. The death toll is now 40, and the government has decided to nearly double compensation for the families of victims.

@NYC’s MTA Chairman Jay Walder announced to quit in October, and who can blame him, when Hong Kong’s subways look like this.

@Great news for book lovers. ‘Pearl Buck in China‘ (Simon & Shuster, 2010) is now out in paperback. Buck, by the way, is probably the most fascinating “blond-haired, blue-eyed Chinese girl” who ever lived.

@LaughingSquid posted a video of Karakuri, or the Japanese art of clockwork puppets that run without electricity. Let’s just say these puppets blow me away!

@WOWSAN introduces SAI, unusual shelving system from South Korea that’s customizable and perfect for city dwellers.

@Koreaboo reports hit romantic comedy ‘200-pound Beauty’ will be remade into a musical that will then ambitiously begin a tour across Asia. Kara’s Gyuri and Supernova’s Sungje are involved.

@Hollywood Reporter likes Poongsan (2011), a Korean thriller that “injects new life into Korean North-South espionage thrillers with its edgy portrayal of a mysterious man.”

@Whatever happened to luxury brand Chloé’s online push in China?

@Hip fashion mag Dazed profiles London-based Singaporean designer Peir Wu whose latest collection is based on an “alien tribe of men from an imaginary planet.”

@The Beijinger reviews a new Izakaya restaurant in China’s capital, with a nice woodsy Izakaya vibe but where the food is a little bit hit-and-miss.


@Shanghai Shiok! blogs about how Singaporeans are frowning at the latest influx of Chinese immigrants. But Singapore, isn’t that how you got started?



Thai Chili Brownie with Cardamom Milkshake

by Liz on November 17, 2010

in Food

One of the reasons I began this blog was to really get a message going, about how not only Asian influences are all around us in the arts, entertainment, food, but also how these influences are a change for good. If you’re still reading this paragraph, hopefully you’ll agree. But if you’re a tad skeptical, may I suggest you look no further than the Thai Chili Brownie and its yin-to-the-yang: an ice cold Cardamom milkshake.

I originally created this dessert duo as my entry for the Cathay Pacific Art of the Dessert contest. After looking through the numerous entries, I completely understand I have at best a slim chance of winning two business class tickets to Hong Kong, but the very thought of traveling transpacific in a flat-bed-cum-mega-entertainment-center was enough to spend most of my weekend plotting, scheming, and baking.

The result will be announced soon, but for now dear reader, I present to you a little Bangkok sizzle in your favorite comfort food. Just don’t forget to wash it down with the most fragrant milkshake around.

Thai Chili Brownie (adapted from Alice Medrich’s New Bittersweet Brownies)
Makes sixteen, 2-inch brownies

8 ounces 70% bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
1/8 teaspoon Thai chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (1.2 ounces) all-purpose flour

1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350˚F. Line bottom and sides of 8-inch square baking pan with foil.

2. Place chocolate, butter, Thai chili powder, and cinnamon in a heatproof bowl and set in wide skillet of almost-simmering water. Stir frequently until mixture is melted and smooth and quite warm. Remove from the pan and set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla with a hand-held mixer on high speed until the eggs are thick and light colored, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the warm chocolate. Fold in the flour.

4. Scrape the batter into the lined pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack.

5. Invert the brownies on rack and peel off the foil. Turn right side up on cutting board and cut into sixteen 2-inch squares.

6. If you like, grate some nutmeg over the brownies to balance the bittersweet taste of the chocolate.

Cardamom Milkshake (makes 6, 1/2 cup servings)

1 pint (2 cups) vanilla ice cream
1 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1. Blend ice cream, coconut milk, vanilla and cardamom. Blend on high speed until a smooth consistency is formed.
2. Serve in half-cups, or glass shooters with the Thai chili brownie. Grate some pistachio nuts over the milk if desired.


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