Make, Jane, make!: Chinese New Year Cooking


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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chinese New Year Cooking

The house is a flurry of cooking right now as I get some traditional and non-traditional dishes ready for the Year of the Rabbit. And yes, I do live in a major city with lots of Asian food stores, but being allergic to shellfish and sensitive to MSG makes buying ready-made food a little challenging.

So firstly, one of my favs, Lo Bak cake. I made two of them this year because I just can't get enough of this thing. My version uses only lo bak, Chinese sausage and Chinese mushrooms - no dried shrimp for me or my kids. (Actually hubby is not too fond of them either, so it works for all of us!)

Recipe adapted from epicurious

Can't wait to slice into this baby on Wednesday night with my family. Love it, all fried and crisp with some sweet soy dipping sauce.... mum mum.

Then, of course, you can't forget the New Year's cake (neen gow). No red dates on mine - I know the colour is symbolic and all, but I don't like eating them and it seems a waste to put them on merely for decoration. Also, I used organic cane sugar instead of rock suga, so the colour of the cake is more tan than caramel brown.

Recipe from epicurious

I already sliced into this one just to taste it to give some to my big boy who loves both the sweet and savoury kinds of neen gow. It was perfect sweetened this year and delicious right off the slab. OOooh, it'll be so good fried up in some beaten egg... nice and crispy on the outside with the taste of caramelized sugar and soft and gooey on the inside.

Also, had to post a picture of these custard tarts I just made. Not really a food specific to Chinese New Year, they were just coincidentally made for a playdate/potluck lunch tomorrow. Before I post my picture, you'll need to look at these pictures to understand what made me laugh out loud in my kitchen tonight.

Goo Goo Goliath

Baby Barney

Okay, so keep the mental image of a cute baby being grotesquely large... And keep in mind that there is always leftover tart dough and filling whenever you make anything of that sort....

Recipe from here (subbed butter for lard)

lol... look at that monstrosity! I didn't want to break out another muffin tin just to make two or three more tarts, so I figured I would just make one large tart in a mini souffle dish. No worries though, someone in the house will "take one for the team" and eat it.

Bought a taro root today because they were on sale. Going to make a taro root cake next. Although the method is the same as for lo bak cake, I've never actually made taro root cake. Partly because I'm notoriously bad at picking taros and also because I'm afraid the taro will be all mush instead of nice soft pieces.

I'm still worried that I'll break the taro into mashed potatoes while trying to mix the batter, but at least the taro looks good... the supermarket had them cut open and on sale which definitely increased my confidence in trying to buy one again. Tomorrow night's project. Yum.

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