Hong Kong Style Tang Yuan

Vanessa made some Hong Kong style Tang Yuan for dessert. It was a day just before Valentine’s Day. She is so thoughtful. Something sweet for your Valentines. The Hong Kong style Tang Yuan is different from the Taiwanese style in the soup. The Taiwanese Tang Yuan is flavoured with fermented glutinous rice and has egg flower in the soup while the Hong Kong style is flavoured with ginger and slab sugar.

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I’m more used to the Hong Kong style Tang Yuan as it’s quite similar to the Malaysian style.

Ingredients

  • a package of glutinous rice flour
  • one or two tablespoons of rice flour
  • cold water
  • ginger
  • sugar slab
  • red bean paste

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Click on the link below for the instructions.

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Yee Sang in Metro Vancouver

We had a gathering among friends from Singapore and Malaysia today to celebrate the Chinese New Year. We had been meeting every year and these group of friends had been very much like family to us.

This year we gathered in Mark’s and Jess’ place where each family brought something for potluck. The planning for this gathering started a month before the Chinese New Year. This year we had TWO, not one, potlucks. One for during lunch time and the followed by a dinner steamboat (or better known as hot pot in Canada) out in the cold.

I just wanted to share the Yee Sang that we had. Yee Sang (sometimes spelt as Yusheng or Yuu Sahng) is a Chinese style fish salad. I think this is served and eaten during Chinese New Year only among Chinese in Malaysia and Singapore. So, if you ask other Chinese about Yee Sang, they will give you a puzzled look! Yee Sang is served from the 7th to 15th day of Chinese New Year.

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We had great fun today tossing the Yee Sang. It is an act called Low Sang (or Low Hei) which signifies abundance, prosperity and vigor for the new year. Here is how we did it today:

Now, I have never seen anywhere in Metro Vancouver where one could buy Yee Sang. Do you know of anywhere one sells it? Suanne had blogged about the recipe here before. Check it out if you want to see how this is made. The recipe is from our master Yee Sang chef, Jess Chim. Jess makes this and sells it by the “mai” (a “mai” is a serving for four people) and could deliver it to (almost) anywhere in the Lower Mainland. So, if you want to place an order for Yee Sang, just send her an email at jesschim@shaw.ca.

Steamed Rice Cake

For the Chinese New Year celebration, I also made a Steamed Rice Cake. This is slightly different from the Pak Thong Koh. Pak Tong Koh is leavened by yeast while this Steamed Rice Cake is leavened by double acting baking powder. It does not have the hint of sourness as the Pak Thong Koh.

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This Steamed Rice Cake is lightly sweet. It is eaten during Chinese New Year because of the way the cake rises and blossoms. Rise in Cantonese is “fatt” and “fatt” in Cantonese also means prosperity or wealth.

Ingredients

Step 1:

  • 200g rice flour
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 160ml boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon double acting baking powder

Step 2:

  • 120g sugar
  • 1 teaspoon double acting baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence

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Nian Gao (Chinese New Year Cake)

Nian Gao is a traditional Chinese New Year dessert. It is a sticky rice cake which requires long hours (7 hours!) of steaming. It is eaten in Chinese New Year because its pronunciation is a homophone for “a more prosperous year, higher position, grow taller, etc, year after year”. For example, businesses to grow more prosper, working class people to go higher in their career path and for kids to grow taller.

I do have a baked version which takes less than 1 hour to make.

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Nian Gao can be kept for a long time. It just need to be re-steamed to regain its soft texture.

Ingredients

For the golden syrup:

  • 300g sugar
  • 200ml water
  • 2 slices lemon

For the Nian Gao:

  • 300g glutinous rice flour
  • 300g sugar
  • 300ml water
  • 4 tablespoons golden syrup
  • banana leaves or parchment papers for lining tins

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Garlic Chives Jiaozi

At the South Arm Community Kitchen, Vanessa brought along a new friend, Ming. Ming is from Beijing and she was a chef back there. We are fortunate to learn from Ming how to make jiaozi from scratch. Yes, even the dough is made from scratch.

The timing is just right as Chinese New Year is just around the corner. Jiaozi is a traditional food during Chinese New Year. Ming enlightened us on why jiaozi is eaten during Chinese New Year. For one, the shape of jiaozi resembles the gold ingots which is a form of money used during the past. Therefore, jiaozi is believed to bring wealth in the new year. Also, the Cantonese believes that the way the filings is wrapped in a wrapper keeps the wealth within the family.

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Jiaozi is also believed to get its name from the shape which resembled horn shape.

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There are various filings for jiaozi. Garlic chives or also known as Chinese chives is the most common one. The mild garlicky flavour of the chives complements the flavour of the pork very well. I had blogged about other types of jiaozi here and here.

Ingredients

  • ground pork (can also use ground beef or lamb), about 2 lbs
  • garlic chives, 1 bundle, finely chopped
  • minced ginger
  • salt
  • sesame oil
  • cooking oil
  • chicken bouillon powder (optional)
  • flour
  • water

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The garlic chives has flat leaves unlike the regular chives which has hollow rounded leaves.

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Pork Floss Recipe

I sure had a nice looooong break during this summer. Ben had been eager to blog because I think he wants to show off his pictures! He is bored now and is soooo eager to pass back the baton to me.

I did not cook much during the summer due to the hot weather. We had simple Chinese meal with stir fries at home and eat out on weekends. However, this is something I made during the summer, home-made pork floss. I’m sure some of you would say why go to all the trouble making it when it’s easily available in Chinese groceries which are abundant in Richmond. Well, for one, I just want to try to make it once and at least I know that its fresh.

We had blogged about the store bought version before here. Back then we remember that blog entry did generate a lot of comments about the name “floss”.

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Ingredients

  • 3 lbs pork shoulder
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1.5 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons white pepper powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 250g sugar

Please click on the link below for the instructions.

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Bak Kwa

We had a picnic among friends just in the past weekend. It was perhaps the largest we had organized with over 50 adults and children attending. We could not have chosen a better weekend as the day was simply beautiful and a great time to be outdoors. Feels like summer already to us!

It was a pot luck picnic and as usual, everyone tries to bring something unique to the picnic to share. Suanne had a great idea to make something new for a change — Bak Kwa (or Rougan in Mandarin or Yoke Kon in Cantonese). Bak Kwa is basically dried meat … perhaps like the western Jerky but not quite. Bak Kwa is miles better than any Jerkies in the world, I swear.

Surprisingly the way to make it is a simple process although it could be tedious and time consuming to prepare the slices. There is a two step process … the first is to prepare dried slices from minced meat (Suanne used pork) and then the second part is to grill it to release the juiciness.

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The pictures below does not do justice to the taste. Well, it was my first time grilling the Bak Kwa but really it should look like this (click here). However it looked, it actually tastes not bad … not great but really good.

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Update 03-Mar-2010: Someone wrote that this recipe originates from the site Lily’s Wai Sek Hong. Because this recipe had been posted almost 3 years ago, I cannot recall exactly where this recipe originates from.

Here is how you make it …

Ingredients

  • 1 kg ground pork (from the part called Mui Tao Sao)

Marinate:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 200g sugar (more if you like it sweeter)
  • 1/8 teaspoon five spiced powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kam cho (licorice) powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 tablespoons rose wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey

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Click on the link below for the instructions.

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Taiwanese Tang Yuan

Julie’s second dish is Taiwanese Tang Yuan, which is Glutinous Rice Balls. The twist from the regular Glutinous Rice Balls which is served in a light syrup is that the Taiwanese version is served in a soup with egg swirls and fermented glutinous rice.

Julie made two types of glutinous rice balls; plain ones and another stuffed with red bean paste. The large ones are the one with filings. Most people preferred the those stuffed ones which are sweeter.

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The Taiwanese Tang Yuan has a winery taste in it due to the addition of fermented glutinous rice.

Ingredients

  • one packet of glutinous rice flour
  • red bean paste
  • 4 eggs
  • fermented glutinous rice
  • water

Fermented glutinous rice can be purchased from Chinese grocery stores. One of the member told us that she made it at home by steaming the glutinous rice and then add yeast to the steamed glutinous rice and let it ferment for a few days.

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The fermented glutinous rice is slightly sweet and tastes like wine.

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Pineapple Fillings

Pineapple is native to Brazil and central America, but is now a favorite crop in tropical and subtropical climates. Pineapple is a good source of manganese, as well as containing significant amounts of Vitamin C and B1.

Pineapple makes an excellent marinade and tenderizer because it contains bromeline, an enzyme that digests protein. The enzyme also keeps gelatin from setting, so pineapple is not good for fruit jellies.

I love pineapple but I seldom buy a whole pineapple. This is because I’m intimidated by the task of cutting up a pineapple. There are lots of so called eyes on the pineapple which need to be removed.

I guessed the exporter of pineapples are aware of this and nowadays, you’ll find a little brochure attached with the pineapple illustrating how to cut up a pineapple.

First, you remove the top and bottom of the pineapple.

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Then, you stand the pineapple up on the flat bottom and cut the pineapple into quarters.

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Remove the core which is too fibrous to eat.

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Tangerine Cookies

During Chinese New Year, tangerine is the official fruit. Every Chinese family will surely have tangerines. Tangerine in Cantonese is ‘kum’ which has the same pronunciation as gold in Cantonese. So, tangerine is an auspicious fruit during this festive season.

It is the Chinese customs to visit families and friends during the 15 days of Chinese New Year celebration. During such visits, the visitor will bring gifts which always include tangerines.

I saw this Tangerine Cookies in a recipe book which Ben brought back from Malaysia and its just perfect for Chinese New Year celebration. Unfortunately, the Tangerine Cookies did not turn out as pretty as those in the recipe book. I think its the temperature of the oven which caused the cookies to be slightly burn. Anyway, if you would like to try this recipe, I’ll recommend you lower the oven temperature.

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Since the first batch of the Tangerine Cookies did not turn out as I expected, I used the rest of the pastry to make Pineapple Tarts. Actually its more to a Thump Print Pineapple Cookies because I do not have a pineapple tart cutter.

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The Pineapple Tart turned out pretty good. Of course, I bake them in lower temperature that the recipe book recommended. I have always love the tartness of the pineapple in a slightly sweet pastry cookie.

Ingredients

  • Pineapple filling (I will blog about this tomorrow)
  • 300g plain flour
  • 50g custard powder
  • 1 tablespoon milk powder
  • 180g butter
  • 70g icing sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 beaten egg yolk
  • Cloves for decoration

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