Kueh Bangkit

Kueh Bangkit is one of the traditional cookies served during Chinese New Year. It is a very light and fragrant cookie that melts in your mouth.

Traditionally, its made with a mold in the shape of little chick. I do not have such mold, so I tried to use my cookie press to make it.

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I was successful with the cookie press for the first batch of the Kueh Bangkit and ran into difficulty with the second batch. The dough just wont come out from the press. So, for the rest of the dough, I just shaped the dough into long strips and cut them into 2 cms strips for baking.

Ingredients

  • 300g tapioca flour
  • 3-4 pieces pandan leaves (screwpine leaves)
  • 20g margarine, softened
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 140g icing sugar
  • 120ml coconut milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder (I substituted with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract)

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Chinese New Year Series: Hotpot

Believe it or not, we virtually ate non-stop for 5 hours after the Yee Sang. I had never been so full for as long as I remember. We just ate and chatted … and ate and chatted. The primary dish is the hotpot. Because of the number of people there, we had two separate hotpots going.

Hotpot is also known as Da Been Lo or Sang Woh in Cantonese. The best time to enjoy this is during the colder winter months. That is why at this time of the year, some of the Chinese grocery stores have sections dedicated only to hotpot ingredients.

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Hotpot is supposed to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace. It consists of a simmering pot of stock at the center of the dining table. While the hot pot is kept simmering, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table. It’s popular these days to use a double pot with a centre divider to have two types of broth — one a normal chicken/pork broth and the other the ultra spicy Thai tomyam broth.

Suanne and I were in charge of the “condiments” and sauces. We had once had hotpot in a restaurant in Richmond where they had available something like 15 sauces. So, we thought that we do the same too. Here is what Suanne prepared: green onions, ginger, cilantro, and three different types of chilli peppers.

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We went around the chinese grocery stores to scour for sauces. I think we got a dozen different ones. They include abalone sauce, hoisin sauce, minced garlic, crispy prawn chili sauce … and …

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… soya sauce, pickled chilli sauce, Thai chilli sauce, sesame sauce and satay sauce.

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The best sauce is still the Sah Cha sauce. This is a popular hotpot sauce originated from Taiwan which is also known as Barbecue sauce. These sauces are meant to be used as a dip and is not something you add to the hotpot.

I guess everyone just did not “get it” because the sauces and condiments went relatively untouched! Next time, I think I will do a demonstration first!

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There are also lots of meat balls of every kind … pork, beef, fish, prawns, squid and what nots. These are the only things that we can be sure the kids will eat. Polly and Vincent provided this, I believe.

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Prawns cooked very fast and adds a lot of flavor to the already flavorful broth. Yummy! Prawns with the shell on will impart more flavor. Double Yummy! Peeling the shells is half the fun when you are sitting around the table chatting. Nice touch, Janice and Bernie.

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Chinese New Year Series: Yee Sang

Check out our other Yee Sang post and video here.

Eating Yee Sang in Malaysia and Singapore is a tradition every Chinese New Year. Yee Sang is basically a Chinese raw fish salad. Unlike Japanese, Chinese do not eat raw fish, preferring it cooked. However, this is the only Chinese dish which we know contains raw fish. However, I must add that this is a dish invented in Singapore and is popular only in Malaysia and Singapore. So, if you ask Chinese outside of Malaysia and Singapore, they will very likely not know what Yee Sang is.

Half the fun in eating Yee Sang is by a communal tossing of the salad with chopsticks. The action of tossing is known as Lo Hei which symbolizes increasing prosperity, abundance and vigor. That is why this dish is very popular among businessmen.

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We gathered around the table with the kids to toss the Yee Sang. We had to make sure we briefed the kids how to toss or else, heaven forbid, they will throw the salad all over the place! They were excited over this alright. However, most of the kids does not like Yee Sang but the adults do.

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The Yee Sang is characterized by it’s colorfulness. It is served in a large flat platter with vegetables arranged around a small serving of raw fish in the middle. It had been many, many years since Suanne and I have last eaten Yee Sang. So, we were glad when Jess told us she knows how to make it. It looked really good and it smells great too … just like the Yee Sangs I used to know.

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Suey Choy (Napa Cabbage) Pork Dumpling

Betty made Suey Choy Pork Dumpling in the Caring Place Community Kitchen a couple weeks ago.

This is the pan fried version which I find is more tasty than the boiled version. The boiled version is best served in hot broth to keep it warm. You can check out the technique of making the boiled version at this link.

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Ingredients

  • 1 package of fresh dumpling skin (about 50 pieces)
  • 1 lb lean ground pork
  • 1 1 small suey choy (napa cabbage), finely chopped
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

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Jiaozi (Chinese Dumpling)

Polly also showed me how to make Jiaozi (Chinese Dumpling) when she came over to make the salted mustard with pork belly dish. Polly learned how to make Jiaozi from Xiao Qin who came from Taiwan.

Jiaozi is a Chinese dumpling which consists of minced meat and chopped vegetables wrapped into a piece of thin dough. The more popular meat filings are ground pork, ground beef, ground lamb, or shrimp. The vegetables can be Chinese cabbage, green onion, leek, chives, shiitake mushroom, water chestnut, etc.

Jiaozi can be boiled or shallow-fried and then steamed. When shallow-fried and steamed, it’s call potsticker.

On Chinese New Year’s eve, making and eating dumpling is a tradition in China. Family members would get together to make jiaozi.

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Ingredients

  • 3 lbs lean ground pork
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 8 pieces shallots
  • 2 medium onions
  • few celery sticks
  • 10 pieces of dried shiitake mushroom, soak overnight
  • 4 packages of dumpling skins, about 200 pieces

Seasoning:

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 eggs

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All the ingredients except the dumpling skins and eggs have to be chopped finely. Mix all the ingredients except the dumpling skins together with the seasonings in a large bowl.

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Click on the link below for the instructions.

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Chinese Vegetarian Dish (Loh Hon Jai)

My late mum used to make a Chinese vegetarian dish (Loh Hon Jai) on the first day of Chinese New Year. I have not eaten this dish for a long time until my next door neighbour, Richard and Jeanie shared it with me. The dish brought back so much sweet memories and I’m really grateful to Richard and Jeanie for sharing the recipe with me.

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Ingredients

  • Fresh oyster mushrooms
  • Dried shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted or fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • Cloud ear mushrooms, reconstituted
  • Cabbages, blanched
  • Fried gluten (mien gen), blanched to remove excess oil
  • Can fried gluten, remove top later of oil but reserve the liquid
  • Fried tofu puff, the rectangular type
  • Fried bean curd stick, blanched until soft
  • Bean curd skin, lightly fried
  • Vemicelli (tung fen), cooked in boiling water for 2 minutes and rinse off in cold water
  • Shanghai bean curd, red (lam yue), mushed up to dissolve in some water and strain if necessary
  • Corn starch solution
  • few cloves of garlic, chopped

You may any mushrooms in season or can mushroom like straw mushroom, button mushroom, inoki mushroom, etc. The Shanghai red bean curd can be substituted with oyster sauce.

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Click on the link below for the instructions.

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Glutinous Rice Ball (Tangyuan) with Sesame Peanuts

Words that come from the heart stay warm three winters long.
~ Chinese Proverb

Today’s blog is about Winnie’s recipe which she shared on our Cooking Club. There are many steps to making this but are pretty simple. We took 1 hour to make this including cooking time.

Tangyuan can be unfilled or filled, fillings can include red bean paste, chopped peanuts and sugar, sesame paste (ground black sesame seeds mixed with lard), rock sugar (which would create a hot, melting caramel-like filling), etc. We used peanut butter and instant sesame powder which gives a strong peanut butter taste.

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To the Chinese, Glutinous rice ball (tangyuan) is eaten all year round, although it is commonly associated with the Chinese New Year, and the Lantern Festival. Glutinous rice ball is made by mixing glutinous rice flour with a small amount of water and form into balls and is then cooked in boiling water and served in syrup water.

Ingredients

These ingredients is sufficient to make about 20 rice balls — good enough serving for 4-5 people.

For the glutinous rice balls:

  • Peanut Butter: 3 tablespoon
  • Instant Sesame Powder: 2 tablespoon (buy them from Asian stores)
  • Icing Sugar: 2 tablespoon
  • Roasted Sesame Seeds: 3 tablespoon
  • Glutinous Rice Flour: 400g

For the syrup:

  • Ginger: 1 piece
  • Brown Sugar: 150g
  • Mandarin Orange Peel: 1 piece

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Lo Bak Go (Chinese Turnip Cake)

The only unsinkable ship is friendship.
~ Jeff Sczpanski

Polly came over and helped me make Lo Bak Go. I am glad she came over because it’s a lot of work making this. I learned this from a previous Community Kitchen class.

Lo bak go is a savory cake which primary ingredient is grated daikon radishes. The daikons are mixed with bits of dried shrimp and Chinese sausages that are steamed and then cut into slices and pan-fried. Chinese people normally make Lo Bak Go in the Chinese New Year.

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As the name implies, the main ingredient is the daikon radish, which is also known as Chinese turnip (or lo bak). The rice flour and corn starch is used to hold the cake together. The other ingredients such as Chinese sausage, mushrooms, shallots and dried shrimp are used for flavouring.

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