Chinese New Year is probably the most colorful and important of all the traditional Chinese celebration. This is the time for us to congratulate ourselves and each other on making through the year. It is the time to leave the old year behind and welcome in the new year.
For three years straight, Chinese New Year Eve is the day that I hang out with my friends and some fellow food bloggers for the giant Chinese New Year feast at Beijing restaurant in Montreal (by the way, this is not part of Chinese tradition). You can read about this feast in my previous post from two years ago or from my foodie friend Evelyne on Cheap Ethnic Eatz. On Chinese New Year, we make traditional baking goods like Nian Gao (Chinese New Year cake), sesame seed balls stuffed with red bean paste, and Fa Gao (prosperity cake). The recipe for Nian Gao can be found here.
Fa Gao translated from Chinese means both the "cake that has expanded" or "prosperity cake". The Chinese believes that when these cakes blossom, it looks like a smile which will bring good luck and prosperity for the rest of the year. These cakes are sweet, light and fluffy. Often, these are dyed in bright colors.
Makes 6 muffin-sized cakes
Preparation Time: 5 mins
Steaming Time: 15 mins
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 block Chinese brown candy (or about 1/2 cup brown sugar)
1 cup white rice flour
1 tsp baking powder + 1 tsp water
1. In a saucepan, combine water and brown candy over medium-high heat. Stir until dissolved. Cool to room temperature.
2. In a medium bowl, add rice flour and gradually add sugar mixture while stirring.
3. In a small bowl, add baking powder and pour in water until combined. You should hear a little sizzling and see some bubbles forming.
4. Stir it into the batter.
5. Line the mould with muffin paper. Pour batter almost all the way.
6. Steam for 15 mins. Serve. Never open the steamer midway, otherwise you won't get the smiley face :).
Gung Hay Fat Choy!
Gong Xi Fa Cai!
Bonne année lunaire!
Happy Chinese New Year!
May the year of the Rabbit brings you and your family good health, success, happiness and prosperity.