The holidays are around the corner, and it’s safe to say that they’ll be unlike any we’ve ever experienced before. Due to COVID-19 still being an ever-looming threat across the globe, many will be unable to travel home for the upcoming holiday season. Aside from missing family, friends and traditions, many will also miss out on a critical aspect of this time of year: the food!

Food has the power to bring people together. It has the power to create lifelong memories, burying deep into our subconscious. Missing out on your favorite traditional food shouldn’t have to happen just because this year looks a little different. 

This is exactly why Mochi has compiled a list of some holiday baking ideas with an Asian flair to them. We still want to create some joy in this strange season of our lives. These 15 recipes will help you honor your old traditions and create new ones, so look through the list and get to baking!

  1. Black Sesame Cookies (Just One Cookbook)
    Black sesame is a common ingredient in most East Asian cultures, so these cookies are a perfect treat for when you’re missing the flavors of home. With a rich, nutty flavor, these are perfect with a cup of tea or to give as a gift.
  1. Chinese Peanut Cookies (Daily Cooking Quest)
    A common New Year’s treat in China, peanut cookies are a quick and easy bake for when you’re short on time or ingredients. This particular recipe is a traditional one, so be sure to follow it step by step for a super authentic taste! 
  1. Baked Custard Bun (Cooking in Chinglish)
    Popular in Taiwan, custard buns are a staple in every bakery. This recipe is for the more experienced baker, but don’t be afraid to give it a try during the inevitable downtime in quarantine.
  1. Hotteok (My Korean Kitchen)
    Hotteok, or Korean sweet pancakes, is a popular street food in South Korea that’ll keep anyone warm and cozy during the winter months. Crispy on the outside, sweet and gooey on the inside, what’s not to love about this easy pancake recipe? 
  1. Kabocha Pumpkin Pie (Omnivore’s Cookbook)
    If you’re looking for something a little more interesting than your typical pumpkin pie, look no further. Using kabocha squash creates a lighter and fluffier version of the traditional holiday staple, making it the ideal dessert after a heavy holiday meal.
  1. Mai Lai Go (The Woks of Life)
    Also known as Chinese steamed cake, this sweet dessert is originally from Malaysia. While traditionally made in a bamboo steamer basket, this treat can also be made in a regular cake tin with the same delicious results.  
  1. Castella Cake (Pickled Plum)
    Castella cake is a staple in Japan, traditionally made with a few kitchen staple ingredients. This recipe uses more honey than usual, but it only enhances the sweet flavor of the cake even more.
  1. Banh Cam (Vicky Pham)
    Banh Cam are Vietnamese deep-fried sesame balls filled with a coconut and sweet mung bean paste. These doughnut-like confections are perfect for a chilly winter breakfast!
  1. Besan Ladoo (Mallika Basu)
    A popular Indian treat made by roasting gram flour and ghee together, this version uses pistachios and cardamom. Be sure to cook them long enough so all the flavors of the ingredients are experienced in the first bite.
  1. Japanese Christmas Cake (No Recipes)
    Christmas Eve in Japan means strawberry shortcake. Western-style sweets known as “yogashi” became popular after World War II, since ingredients like milk and sugar were easier to find. By turning it into a Swiss roll cake, this light and fluffy sponge is a perfect way to celebrate the holidays!
  1. Besan Burfi (Swasthi’s Recipes) 
    A North Indian sweet made with ghee, sugar, and cardamom, this melt-in-your-mouth confection is similar in texture to fudge and a scrumptious treat for any holiday festivities you may have planned.
  1. Pandan Waffle (Hungry Huy)
    Pandan is a flavor used commonly in Vietnamese cooking and baking. Chewy and fluffy, the coconut flavor of the pandan elevates the flavor of these already delicious waffles.
  1. Pineapple Buns (China Sichuan Food)
    Also known as bolo bao, these sweet buns are found all around Hong Kong. These buns don’t actually contain any pineapples; the name comes from the criss-cross effect on the crust (similar to melon pan). Be sure to serve and eat them warm with a slab of butter placed right in the middle, and enjoy the crispy topping.
  1. Toasted Coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Rum and Ube Jam (Burnt Lumpia)
    Thumbprint cookies are an essential part of holiday baking, but by adding rum and ube jam, these sweets transform into something even more festive. Surprise your friends and family with a gift of a traditional cookie with an East Asian twist.
  1. Japanese Cheesecake (Run Away Rice)
    Everyone has seen the wiggly jiggly goodness of Japanese-style cheesecakes on the Internet, so why not try and make one yourself? Serve it with some fresh berries for a fluffy, joyous dessert.

Photo credit: Just One Cookbook


  • Danielle Slauter currently lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is a Social Media Coordinator and Staff Writer for Mochi Magazine. When she's not working on Mochi, Danielle is a content creator for a local YouTube channel and tennis coach. Her hobbies include traveling, reading, and CrossFit.

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