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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Loh Mei Chi

Tanni’s second dessert is Loh Mei Chi. It is a dough filled with red bean paste. In my home country, Loh Mei Chi is often sold in open market for breakfast or in night market as snack. It is usually filled with finely chopped peanuts and sugar mixture. There is also another version with no filing but coated with finely chopped peanuts and with a hint of sesame oil.

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I simply love the texture of this dessert. It is soft and chewy at the same time. If you filled it with the peanut and sugar filing, it will be crunchy as well.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup glutinous rice flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (for chewier dough but with the addition of the cornstarch, a white layer developed on top when using the microwaving method)
  • a couple drops of oil
  • red bean paste

Click on the link below for the instructions.

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Mango Pudding

Grace Lee made this delicious Mango Pudding with the guidance from Tanni and Heidy. Heidy brought a Mango Pudding during a Gilmore Community Kitchen potluck and the recipe was shared with other members of the Gilmore community kitchen.

This Mango Pudding is very rich in mango flavour and the addition of whipping cream made it extra rich. If you are watching your diet, you may just substitute the whipping cream with milk or cold water to make it less sinful.

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Ingredients

  • 500ml whipping cream or water
  • 1 can (750ml) mango pulp
  • 3 packages (15ml) unflavoured gelatine
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 ripe mango, optional

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Steamed Red Bean Rice Cake (Poot Jei Gou)

Heidi also made a dessert which is Steamed Red Bean Rice Cake. It is normally known as ‘Poot Jai Gou’ in Cantonese which simply means ‘dessert in a little bowl’. This is because the rice cake is steamed in small bowls. You can use bowl made in clay, porcelain, aluminum, etc. It does not matter, you just need bowls or else you cannot call this ‘Poot Jai Gou’. 🙂

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The Steamed Red Bean Rice Cake is very easy to make but requires a lot of time in preparing the red bean. The red bean has to be soaked in water at least two hours (preferably overnight) and steamed for at least 40 minutes. This is to make sure they are softened but not mushy. To sweeten the red bean, add 1 oz of granulated sugar after it is softened. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of red bean.

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Steamed Rice Cake is a popular snack Malaysia, found commonly in open air markets. However, those found on Malaysian market they are salty types and with topping made from salted radish. Anyone has a recipe for this?

Heidi made the sweet version of the rice cake. She made two different flavours — which is coconut milk and cane sugar flavour. The photo below is the cane sugar version.

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Ingredients

  • 320g rice flour
  • 300g cane sugar (slab sugar) or 300g of granulated sugar for the coconut milk flavour version
  • 960g (4 1/2 cups) water
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
  • 1 tablespoon wheat starch
  • 1 packet of instant coconut cream powder (50g) for the coconut milk flavour version only

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Longan Jelly

Longan is Arkensen’s favourite fruit. He prefers those from the can with syrup than the fresh ones. It seems that the canned ones are more meaty.

This Longan Jelly is another recipe from the Delicious and Fragrant Local Cakes recipe book. Some of the recipes which I had blogged before from this recipe book are Glutinous Rice Cake and Steamed Rice Cake.

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Ingredients

  • 1 can longans
  • 20g agar-agar
  • 300g sugar
  • 1 litre water
  • sufficient food colouring

Agar in an unbranched polysacharide obtained from the cell walls of some species of red algae or seaweed.

Agar-agar is a Malay word for jelly. Agar-agar will dissolve in hot water and when cooled, it becomes gelatinous. It is often used as a vegetarian substitute to gelatin, in jellies, ice-cream and as a thickener for soup.

Click on the link below for the instructions.

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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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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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Cassava Cake (Kuih Ubi Kayu)

Cassava Cake is another dessert cake commonly found in the morning market in Malaysia. I’ve been searching for the recipe and found a few variations which some involve steaming the cake first before baking them. Then I remembered my friend Jessica who brought the Cassava Cake for last year’s Chinese New Year gathering. So I got this recipe from her which is the simplest Cassava Cake recipe of all.

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Cassava Cake is soft and chewy and fragrance. Ben loves this dessert.

Ingredients

  • 1 tin coconut milk (398ml)
  • 2 packets grated cassava (you may find this in stores which carry Phillipines products)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

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Click on the link below for the instructions.

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