Tag: make ahead

Tsubuan (sweet red bean paste)

Tsubuan (sweet red bean paste)

Sweetened red bean paste, or Tsubuan, is probably one of Japan’s most recognized sweet flavors. It’s used in mochi, ice cream, and pastries. It’s even delightful just spread on toast. You can find tsubuan in Asian markets, but it’s so much better when made from read more

Mango Sago

Mango Sago

  When I need a really fast, make ahead sweet, I reach for this Mango Sago. Especially now, when mangoes are at their peak. Even with all of the annoying squirrels racing to get their fair share, I still have plenty left to make this read more

Eggplant Dip

Eggplant Dip

Got a bumper crop of eggplants? This Eggplant Dip is an effortlessly delicious way to use them up! The eggplant gets broiled until the flesh is meltingly tender, with the slightly charred and smoky flavor you’d get from the grill. Without the whole standing outside in the heat over a grill part. Served with pita chips, this is perfect summer fare.

eggplant dip ingredients

Eggplants Love High Heat!

Whether it’s Lebanon’s baba ganoush, Morocco’s roasted eggplant salads, or Italy’s deep fried eggplant parmesan, eggplant benefits from high heat cooking methods. The flesh is rendered so soft and silky you can eat it with a spoon, and the heat concentrates the natural sugar. So if you know someone who says ‘eggplant is bitter’, whip up this eggplant dish and change their mind!

broil eggplant dip

steam eggplant dip

While I’m waiting for the eggplant to cool, I make the flavor base for the dip.

Spiced Eggplant Dip

The seasonings really make this eggplant dip sing. Tomato paste and paprika add to the smoky flavor. Cinnamon and cumin add earthy warmth. Peanut butter and cilantro bring an unexpected Southeast Asian twist. I start by sautéing an onion.

Stir in the spices and cook for another minute.

I like this dip a little chunky, so I pulse it about 10 times. If you would prefer it to be completely smooth you can skip the pulsing part and just process it to a smooth paste.

If you manage to not devour all of it with some pita chips, this eggplant dip makes an excellent sandwich spread. Or serve it with some plant based dishes for a fun mix and match meatless meal. It would be wonderful served alongside:

Try this Eggplant Dip and let me know what you think. Take a moment to rate the recipe below and leave a comment. And don’t forget to tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!


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feature eggplant dip

Eggplant Dip

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4-6 1x
  • Category: small plates
  • Cuisine: Pan-Asian


  • 2 large globe eggplants
  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped (or ¾ large onion)
  • 2 Tablespoons peeled and minced ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  •  ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter (almond would be fine too)
  • 1 large handful of cilantro leaves (about ¼ bunch) chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon ground pepper


  1. Heat your oven on broil high or heat a cast iron skillet until very hot. Put the eggplant on a baking tray as close to the broiling element as you can and broil for about 20-25 mins, rotating a little every 5-6 mins. The eggplant should be very soft and a little charred.
  2. Or if using the cast iron skillet, heat the skillet for several minutes on medium high. Cook the eggplant for 5-6 minutes, then rotate the eggplant. Cook for about 20-25 minutes until very soft and charred. 
  3. Put the eggplant in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap until cool enough to handle. 
  4. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of oil, the diced onion, and ½ teaspoon salt. Saute for 5-6 minutes until softened and starting to brown. 
  5. Lower the heat to medium and add the garlic, ginger, and the tomato paste. Saute for another 2-3 mins. 
  6. Add the cumin, cinnamon, ground black pepper, and paprika. Stir the ingredients to combine them, cooking for about 1 minute. Turn off the heat.
  7. Trim off the end of the eggplant, cut the eggplant in half, scoop out the flesh, and add the eggplant to the food processor.
  8. Add the contents of the pan to the food processor plus the remaining ¾ teaspoon salt, peanut butter, chopped cilantro, and lime juice. Pulse the mixture approximately 10 times, until it has broken down but still a little chunky. 
  9. If you prefer it smooth, pulse a couple more times or just turn it on for a couple seconds. 
  10. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed and serve eggplant dip with bread, crudité, or as a condiment to a large meal.

Keywords: eggplant, peanuts, cilantro, dips, southeast asian, dips, condiments

Coconut Flan

Coconut Flan

Coconut Flan is one of the most popular desserts on our menu. And while it is a nod to the enduring love Miamians have for Latin American flan (you can seriously get flan even at our gas stations), the addition of coconut makes it closer read more

Coconut Shrimp

Coconut Shrimp

Who else loves fried food but doesn’t exactly love deep frying at home? The heat, the splatters, having to dispose of all that oil afterwards… But we still want our yummy, crispy fried foods, right? I’ve come up this Coconut Shrimp recipe that captures everything read more

Halo halo

Halo halo

I love traveling: discovering new places, seeing new things, and especially eating new things. Even though exotic destinations have been put on hold, there are still plenty of fun and interesting destinations here at home. One city I visit often that always inspires me in the kitchen is Chicago. And this summer I stopped by for a quick breakfast at the cute and insta-ready Wake N’ Bacon. There are lots of creative and over the top breakfast places in Chi-Town but what drew me there was the Filipino influence on some of their menu items. And the one thing that caught my eye immediately was their Halo Halo Chia Pudding. A combination of chia pudding with colorful fruity toppings? Yup, ordering one right up.

Breakfast For Dessert

Don’t you love when breakfast can double for dessert? Such is the case with Halo halo. Halo halo means “mix-mix” and it is one of the iconic sweet dishes in the Philippines. Endlessly customizable, I modeled my chia pudding after Wake N’ Bacon’s and loaded it with fruit, coconut milk, and protein packed chia seeds. Since there’s no sugar in this chia pudding, I added a couple of sweet touches that you typically see in halo halo. Some cubes of coconut jelly and a dollop of condensed milk give it just enough sweetness that you could legitimately serve it as either breakfast or dessert. Day or night, the combination of textures and flavors will have you clamoring for more.

Plus, you will love the convenience of making it ahead and having a fresh, colorful grab and go breakfast in the fridge. Perfect for easing back into the school routine…

halo-halo ingredients

What is Halo halo?

Typically enjoyed as a dessert throughout the Philippines, this summer time treat is a playful mix of everything from shaved ice, scoops of ice cream, chunks of flan, and every variety of fruit, jellies, cereal, and sweet beans, all artfully layered in tall glasses or big bowls. It’s served with a spoon to “mix-mix” it all up.

ice cream halo-halo

For our breakfast version though we are going to forgo the ice cream, flan, and shaved ice, for a streamlined and healthier version. I opt instead for chia pudding layered with coconut jelly and fruit.

chia halo-halo

The chia seeds are so light that they have a tendency to float on top of the liquid, so you need to mix them really well, and then mix them again a few minutes later to make sure they aren’t clumping together.

chia stir halo-halo

After about 10 minutes, the chia pudding should have thickened, and it will thicken more as it chills. While the chia seeds are busy absorbing the liquid, I prep the fruit.

hull halo-halo

coco jelly halo-halo

Pour the chia pudding on top of the berries. Then top with more fruit and chill for a couple of hours.

pudding halo-halo

finish halo halo

milk halo-halo

A few things: if you are making these the day before, leave the cereal topping off until right before serving so they are the right crunchy texture. You can also make these in storage containers to pack in the fridge and take on the go. They last a couple of days but no more than that or the fresh fruit will not be so fresh.

If you want to make these dairy free/vegan, you can omit the condensed milk. There is canned condensed coconut milk you can use instead. And if you are a thief of joy and want to use a healthier cereal than Fruity Pebbles, go for it, but Fruity Pebbles add the perfect crunch and pop of color. Nothing turns that first day of school frown upside down faster.

halo halo recipe card

I hope you love this breakfast treat as much as we do. If you make it, let us know. Leave a comment or rate the recipe below. And let’s see those beautiful Halo halos-tag us @funkyasiankitchen.

halo-halo beauty



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halo halo recipe card

Halo Halo

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: breakfast
  • Cuisine: Filipino


  • ½ cup chia seeds
  • 1 can (13.5 oz) coconut cream or milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • ½ cup condensed milk
  • 1 cup strawberries 
  • 1 cup blueberries 
  • 1 cup nate de coco (coconut jelly)*
  • 8 tablespoons fruity pebbles or other crunchy cereal


  1. In a medium bowl or tall mixing glass, mix together the chia seeds, water, and coconut milk. The chia seeds are very light so you need to mix well. After a couple of minutes, mix again to make sure all of the chia is soaking in the coconut milk and there are no pockets of dry grains.
  2. Let the chia seeds continue absorbing the liquid and thickening, about 15 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, prep the fruit:
  4. Wash the strawberries. Next cut off the stems of the strawberries and cut into quarters. Set aside.
  5. Wash the blueberries and set aside.
  6. Use 4 clear wine glasses or small clear bowls for your puddings. At the bottom of each cup put 2 tablespoons each of the nate de coco, chopped strawberries, and blueberries. 
  7. Evenly pour the chia pudding on top of the fruit in the four glasses. Next top each pudding with 2 tablespoons of nate de coco, strawberries, and blueberries.
  8. Cover the chia pudding with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  9. When ready to serve, pour a couple of tablespoons of condensed milk on top of the pudding and top with the fruity pebbles. 
  10. Then mix-mix (halo halo) and enjoy.


*Nato de coco, little cubes of coconut jelly, can be found in Asian markets. You can also use any of the flavored ones used for bubble tea.

*This pudding chills up firm. If you prefer a looser, softer pudding, increase the water to 1 cup.

Keywords: halo halo, chia, chia pudding, healthy breakfast, filipino food