I hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day weekend.  Hopefully you shared it with someone special.  I was taken out by my sweetie to Belladonna, a fairly new European restaurant on Waialae Ave between 12th and 13th avenue.  The food there is remarkable.  We had a 4 course menu consisting of beef carpaccio, onion soup, duck breast with gooseberry sauce, and a chocolate fondant for me.  She had butternut squash ravioli instead of the carpaccio and seared Ono with risotto instead of duck.  All in all, it’s a great place you have to see for yourself.  Their regular menu is outstanding as well.  Last time I had a beef wellington; it was marvelous.

Coincidentally, V-day also fell on Chinese New Year this year.  I’m not chinese, nor do I ever really celebrate it, but some family friends gave us Gau, or chinese mochi.  It’s a traditional chinese food eaten for new years.  Its stickiness represents family bonds, the sesame seeds are related to fertility, and the red date on top is for good luck.  Like I said, I don’t get into cultural holidays much, but I wanted to make gau for some reason.

My grandmother makes a good version so I tried that one out.  It’s simply a mix of brown sugar and rice flour.  There are a few additions in this recipe to make it more flavorful though.

Rice flour is found at any grocery store here in Hawaii.  For those on the mainland, check out an Asian grocery store or somewhere in Chinatown.  I used Ti leaves to hold moisture during the steaming process.  It adds a Hawaiian touch and it was free from my grandmother’s yard.  Any wide leaf will do though to hold moisture.

It’s very sticky at this point so be sure to oil the leaves well and try to avoid touching it.

I also used a towel tied tightly over the top to prevent moisture from accumulating on top the gau.  

After it comes out, sprinkle some seeds on there.  I don’t have chinese dates.

At this point, I used the leaves to grab it out of the hot glass dish and let it cool before peeling the leaves off and wrapping it in plastic wrap to let it hold its shape.  You could let it sit in there because as it cools, it holds its shape.


1 cup canned yams, mashed
1 can coconut milk, warmed
1 lb box dark brown sugar
1 lb box Mochiko rice flour
2 T vegetable oil

Dissolve sugar in milk.  Add the rice flour and mix well until there are no lumps.  Add to the mashed yams.  Add oil and mix well until it creates a web between two fingers.  It should be sticky, but not watery.

Oil leaves and set in a pie pan or casserole dish.  If you’re not using leaves, grease dish well. Pour mixture onto leaves or dish.  Cover with a towel and tie tightly with kitchen twine.  Steam for 5 hours and sprinkle with sesame seeds upon removal.  Let cool at least 1 hour.

And V-day wouldn’t be complete without a corny gift, like the one I made my mother…

Take that fruit bouquet shops! You’ve got competition.

*next up…Rotisserie Style Chicken…*


2 Responses

  1. I thought it was from a store..that’s how good you are :).

  2. haha i don’t know about that. It’s not that difficult actually.

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