Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Red Bean Year Cake (Nian Gao) 年糕

Nian GaoContinued the Bunny year Chinese new year goodies baking marathon, here comes the red bean year cake (Nian Gao) 年糕. This is another traditional popular Chinese New Year dessert.

It is mainly made of glutinous rice so it is actually gluten free. There are many different kinds of flavors of year cake. It can be sweet or savory. I always use my family's recipe to make this sweet brown sugar red bean flavor year cake.

Nian GaoIt is considered good luck to eat year cake during Chinese new year. The word 糕 (Gao) means "cake" is identical in sound to the word, 高 which means "high". Therefore, it is going to raise oneself higher in each coming year by eating year cake. The cake batter is mixed and put it in a big steamer to steam until it is done. Then, the cake will stay in the refrigerator for several days until it is a little bit dry and hard for cutting. We usually either eat it just the way it is (my Mom would definitely disgree about this way!) or dip it in flour/egg batter and deep fry it. It is good either way.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chinese New Year Fa Cake 發糕

It is so cold outside today again! It is only 4'F (-15'C) and windchill -25'F (-32'C) even though it is bright and sunny. Chinese new year is just around the corner (February 3) so it is time to make some Chines new year Fa Cake (Fa Gao 發糕). This year, I decide to make some changes instead of the tradition brown sugar flavor. I ended of making the chocolate and cherry cranberry flavors besides the usual brown sugar. The chocolate ones turns out so good that my local American friends just cannot have enough of them! My personal favorite actually is the cherry cranberry one. The dried cranberry just adds so much texture and different layers to the taste. And the red color is definitely good for Chinese new year. Now it is time to go to make the year cake...

p.s. Forgot to explain what Fa Cake is. It is a dessert usually made in Chinese New Fa means rise and expand in Chinese. It is very important to have the nice cracking on the top of the cake to make it look like a flower. It also means prospering or becoming rich. The bigger the crack is, the more fortunate your family will be in this coming year.

That's the reason why Fa cake is very popular in Chinese new year and is treated as a fortune cake.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Foxes Come To Visit

Happy new year! It has been snowed more this week. Two foxes decided to come to play around outside my office! I have never seen live foxes so close before and it was really cool! They were actually more orange even though people called them "red" foxes! Hope that everybody has a wonderful year 2011!