top 7 foods to make for Chinese New Year

IMG_4094
Radish Cake 蘿蔔糕

Happy Chinese New Year!

Our New year is like Western’s thanks giving day or Christmas day where we will make a big fat feast like you would for xmas. And when we do feast, not only would we prepare the main festival chinese meals, we would also prepare side snacks or foods that resemble some good luck.

The typical dish that I will make will be radish cake, its a cake that you shreds the radish, add in the fried diced chinese sausage, mushroom etc and then sift the rice flours in where you take it to steam, once done. You will then let it cool down to set before you slice out and pan fry it until golden; serve with some hoi sin sauce!

There’s actually a reason to make this savoury cake, not only its yummy full of goodies but it also has a meaning, radish (菜頭, chhài-thâu) is a homophone for “good fortune” (好彩頭, hó-chhái-thâu) in Hokkien and this is why people reckon if you ate this over CNY, you will gain good fortune for the coming year.


New Year Dumplings 油角

When I was young, I love eating this because all kids love deep fried snacks and this one makes it even tastier with ground peanuts, sugar and coconuts inside each little dumplings pastry. Though, the pastry tastes super flakey that melts in your mouth. Its really time consuming to make from roasting the peanuts to kneading and rolling the pastry. It takes a long amount of time to deep fry a dozen out. The more you make, the easier it will get and faster I would say. I personally would recommend you to deep fry it twice, not only it will be more crunchy but deep frying it second time will get the dumplings to release any extra oil that it first got absorbed, so worth doing this. Give this a try if you want to try a different dumplings to the hot dumplings that you eat in restaurants.

Water Chestnut Cake 馬蹄糕
This is classified as a sweet cake and you often get this in dim sum but we would also make this as a CNY foods. It have the meaning of “馬到功成、步步高陞”; homophone for “step to high rise and succeed in it”.  The ultimate tips that I would give you is to use either palm sugar or damerara sugar to make the syrup, this actually enhance the flavour of the cake, not as plain as using normal white caster.

Tang Yuan 湯圓
This often comes in a sweet form as well as savoury form, however, for CNY wise, you often see people making the sweet version of this in varies sweet fillings, ie red beans, black sesame, peanut filing etc. This dish symbolise the family togetherness and often eat on the CNY eve dinner when the entire family are sitting together for their final year end meal. I would suggest to make the sweet soup using slate sugar with loads of ginger. Yet, there are varies version, my next favourite is putting tangyuen in coconut sago or red bean soup.

IMG_4142 (1)
Coconut Milk Nian Gao  椰汁年糕
My favourite of the CNY dishes and yet it is the one that I first ever learnt to make for CNY. I have tune the original recipe to my own taste bud, so feel free to change the sugar level or reduce the coconut milk to suit your taste. Yet, You can reduce the recipe to one can coconut milk and up the ginger juice quantity to make it as a more traditional nian gao.
The little story of why this is called Nian gao and associated with CNY is that “the Chinese word 粘 (nián), meaning “sticky”, is identical in sound to 年, meaning “year”, and the word 糕 (gāo), meaning “cake” is identical in sound to 高, meaning “high or tall”. As such, eating nian gao has the symbolism of raising oneself taller in each coming year 年年高升” (Wikipedia).

Red Beans Nian Gao 紅豆椰汁年糕
I have once again adapted the original recipe turning it into red beans nian gao. This has been a bit of trial and error, referring to other existing recipe online and tuning it into my own. I was fearing that the water quantity got lower would cause it to be really thick and dry, but thank god it came out perfect. Indeed to be sure to use brown sugar but not overly too much, else you might get a sour taste from the sugar.

Both of which involves making the syrup,mix into the flour and steam for an hour. Once cooled, you can slice and pan fry to eat… and loads of variation to consume this gao, my favourite is pan fry with egg!!!! Yummy!

IMG_4112
Dumplings 餃子
Jiaozi, I’m sure everyone know the existent of this savoury dumplings, you would get all sorts of filing, yet this time round I have made it with radish, mince, chinese mushroom, dried shrimps and spring onion. Indeed, you can change the recipe to whatever meat you preferred etc. You wonder what does dumpling got to do with CNY? how do they look like? because the shape looks like golden ingots “yuan bao” and the name sounds like the word for the earliest paper money, so serving them is believed to bring prosperity.

Advertisements

red beans nian gao 紅豆椰汁年糕

IMG_4171

Happy Chinese New Year 2016!

I thought I would share a revised recipe that I have changed from an original coconut milk nian gao into red bean nian gao recipe. The product came out pretty decent, when I was worry about adjusting the water content due to the water in the red beans.. but it actually came out pretty well. thick enough to hold the beans in place and not like every beans sink into the bottom!

這個做法是將我很喜愛的椰汁年糕原食譜改過來的。。

紅豆椰汁年糕

糯米粉 600g
澄麵 150g
椰漿 400cc
片糖 400g **
紅糖 50g **
清水340cc *如果喜歡軟身一點,可以多加100cc水
蜜紅豆 500g

做法是片糖跟190水,一起煮至片糖都融化掉。放涼。
糯米粉和澄麵一起放﹐然後慢慢倒入椰漿﹐攪拌勻。
然後再分幾次加入放涼了的糖漿。慢慢攪拌,每次加入糖漿的時候,好好拌均再加。
如果想確保口感好一點的話,可在拌勻後﹐過濾兩次。
倒入已抹油的盤裡﹐拿去蒸約一個小時﹐即成。我是用外賣盒來蒸的。

蜜紅豆做法

蜜紅豆 250g
紅糖 100g
砂糖 200g

用水和豆一起煮至沸騰,關火,讓豆悶一下,約30分鐘。 再開火,煮軟。
到大慨可以軟的時候,可以加入糖,再煮至水分剛好和豆一個高度。
記得方涼後,水分會收的,變的稠稠。

後記
個人覺得,這個食譜糖份剛好,家裡的人不是很喜歡太甜的東西,你當然也可以看你自己喜歡的甜度再去加糖。記得加太多紅糖的話,年糕會很重味。

soft boiled egg and avocado on seeded toast

Photo 11-07-2015 13 05 32

What’s the best thing on weekend? Instead of breakfast, you make brunch that’s because I need to sleep in!
And what makes it even better is when you have avocado and your favourite 5 seeds bread at home.

This is what I have made to make myself happy on my last Saturday.

Soft boiled eggs x 2, shell peeled
Perfectly ripen Avocado half, sliced
Two 5 seeds bread, toasted

Cut the toasts into triangle, it work better in uneven number on plate. Eat one triangle of toast.
Scatter the toast freely as you like.
Then line the avocado freely and half one egg while keeping one as whole, line them as you wish.
A little salt and grounded pepper on top, ½ teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil drizzle lightly over and serve.

I did one of the egg poorly where the yolk is in the corner!!! Tips; turn the egg around when you place it in the sauce pan to boil to make the yolk going to the middle.

Now have this with a cuppa and enjoy the rest of the day.

pizzetta

IMG_1045
I want to try to cook something new every weekend as my mother cooks during the week… and there I want to play around with dough ball and make the famous spinach and egg pizzette!! It taste so good when the egg is warm but runny…

Pizza dough
**Make half a portion if you just got to serve two person with sides
500g strong white flour
300ml tepid water
15g salt (2 teaspoons)
7g fast action dried yeast (or 15g if you can get your hands on fresh)
Once mixed into a ball, you knead the dough for about 10 minutes on a floured surface, stretching the dough using the palm of your hand to push out and roll it back into the centre. Continue until you get a bouncy dough ball.
Once kneaded, you can place your dough in a bowl covered with cling film and leave it in somewhere warm to raise. I normally heat the microwave up with a mug of water for a mintue, after place the dough in bowl and the mug into the microwave and leave it there, until its double in size.

Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll it out approx 20 cm disk and then add whatever toppings you want. And bake for 6-7 mins in gas mark 9 or 350C depending on the ingredients you used.

Reference
http://daily-norm.com/2013/01/14/pizzetta-by-polpo/
http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2013/11/spinach-and-egg-pizzettes/

full english brunch

IMG_5435

Oh la la….. simply, this is how you do it for a weekend full english brunch…

Sunny side up or pan fry eggs
English sausages
Crispy bacons *Emphasis it has to be crispy!!*
Mushrooms
Baked beans
Toasts
Yoghurt with fresh fruits
A glass of orange juice
A cup of English tea with milk / coffee

oh la la… i m looking forward for my weekend. xx