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AAPI Heritage Month: Week 3

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. As part of the school’s activities this month, the Equity and Inclusion Committee has prepared a diverse and engaging list of things families can do outside of school to support the AAPI community and celebrate AAPI heritage.

Created with a variety of ages and developmental levels in mind, the list includes book and song recommendations, family-friendly fields trips, restaurants, and events, equity-and-inclusion-based discussion topics, and delicious recipes – all centered around Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage.

Each week this month we’ll send a new set of activities from the committee’s list. Here are Week 3’s offerings.

Book Recommendations

The Name Jar by YangSook Choi Age Range: Children

Mela the Elephant by Dow Phumiruk Age Range: 5–8

Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story by Paula Yoo Age Range: 5–10

Journey to Topaz by Yoshiko Uchida Age Range: 10–12

Songs to Explore (From Cartoons and Movies)

Ni Hao, Kai-lan (Chinese)

Recommended Field Trips

Gen Korean Barbeque House, 1353 Willow Pass Rd., Concord

Vanda Thai, 1250 J Newell Ave., Walnut Creek

My Tofu House, 4627 Geary Blvd., San Francisco

Sargam Indian Cuisine, 140 N. Civic Dr., Walnut Creek

Discussion Topic

Talking About Race: The Lee Family (for parents and children), Sesame Street


Braised Tofu (Korea)


1 18-oz pack firm tofu

1 tbsp vegetable/canola oil

3 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp water

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp minced garlic

Optional: 2 scallions (1 if large), finely chopped, about 1/4 cup


  1. Cut the tofu block into 1/2-inch rectangular pieces.

  2. Pat dry with a paper towel.

  3. Prepare the sauce by mixing all ingredients together.

  4. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick skillet, carefully add the tofu pieces (tofu breaks easily), and sear over medium to medium-high heat until lightly golden brown (about 3–4 minutes each side).

  5. Spoon the sauce over the tofu pieces. Slightly lift a side of the tofu pieces to get the sauce under them.

  6. Simmer for 3–4 minutes over medium to medium low heat. Flip them over and simmer for another minute or two, spooning the sauce over the tofu pieces.

  7. Serve warm or cold with a bowl of rice.


Mongolian Chicken


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-to-2-inch cubes (chicken drumsticks can be used instead); use poultry function on Instant Pot)

2 tbsp sesame oil (or extra-virgin olive oil)

3/4 cup brown sugar

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced

3/4 cup lite soy sauce (or 1/2 cup regular soy sauce)

3/4 cup water or chicken broth

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tbsp garlic powder

2 tbsp cornstarch

Optional: Cooked rice


  1. Heat your Instant Pot, press Sauté.

  2. Add the oil to the hot pot, add the chicken and sauté for 2–3 minutes, stirring a few times.

  3. Cook until it just starts to get golden.

  4. When sautéing it, stir constantly so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

  5. Deglaze the pot with 1/4 cup water and scrape it with a wooden spoon. If you leave the bits stuck to the bottom, they may burn or cause the pot not to come to pressure.

  6. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot: minced garlic, minced ginger, lite soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and red pepper flakes.

  7. Stir well until all the ingredients are combined and coated in sauce.

  8. Close the lid and pressure cook at High Pressure for 5 minutes + 10 minutes Natural Release.

  9. Turn off the heat. Release the remaining pressure.

  10. Open the lid. Select the Sauté function, on LOW.

  11. In a medium bowl, combine 2 tbsp cornstarch with 1/4 cup water, whisk until all combined with no lumps.

  12. Add the mixture to the pot and gently stir to combine.

  13. Cook on Sauté function on LOW for a few more minutes without the lid, stirring gently, until the sauce thickens.

  14. Serve with cooked rice.


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