Kung Hee Fatt Choy/ Kong Hei Fatt Choi/Gong Xi Fa Chai..... Happy Chinese New Year.
The biggest celebration for the Chinese people and I wish all those who celebrate, whether they are of the Hakka origin like myself, Cantonese origin like Curry, all the other Chinese ethnicities who speaks Chinese Mandarin or other dialects and also my American Chinese kids who only speaks English most of the time a very prosperous, healthy and Happy new year!!! May your hard work throughout the new Year of the Ox reaps lots of profits and returns.
I have missed out celebrating this Chinese New Year festival back in Malaysia for 9 years now but I am sure the fun and atmosphere is forever fun over there during this time of the year. No matter how small or big the families are, they all come together to celebrate the New Year for 15 days and each day is auspicious with its own theme. Snacking away on snacks, clementines and tangerines is like a must thing to do and I love the idea that we all sit down for complete Chinese breakfast on the 1st and 2nd day... eating rice and all sorts of dishes with good and lucky names and meanings to boost the spirits and luck of everyone. The kids are donned in pretty colors of Chinese costumes and ever so eager to see an adult to get the lucky money red packets (Ang Pows) and numerous open houses to attend by the adults. Talking of noise and spirit of celebrations, the Chinese people is certainly looking forward to this festival.
My favorite of all the goodies served during this celebration is the Chinese New Year sticky cake, made of brown sugar and glutinous rice flour. I remember when I was studying in England , I always called home and asked my mum to freeze one whole of this cake in the freezer so that when I am home for the summer holidays, I can eat it. Those were the days when I was ignorant of the world of cooking and haven't heard the 'my calling' as they said, in the joy of cooking. And for this year's celebration, I wanted to make this cake and thank goodness for my Kitchen Aid mixer, it saved me alot of time handling the sticky and gooey mixture. This cake is normally eaten sliced and deep coated with beaten egg and pan fried. I was too excited and just had to try it freshly steamed and straight out of the steamer. It tasted so good, the gooey sticky and chewiness with the subtle sweetness of the brown sugar just makes it a delight to eat and I actually finished one whole small bowl. The recipe here yields 4 bowls, measuring 4 inches in width and almost 3 inches in height.
450 gm glutinous rice flour
400 gm Chinese blocks brown sugar
1 -3/4 cup water
2 tsp vegetable oil
4 jujubes/red dates
1. Bring the water and brown sugar to boiling point and reduce the heat and simmer for 10 mins till the sugar dissolves completely. Remove from heat and when warm to the touch, add the vegetable oil. Scoop out 1/4 cup of the syrup and let cool separately.
2. Put all the flour into the mixer bowl. Grease the hook attachment with some vegetable oil and attach to the mixer.
3.When the sugar syrup is still warm, pour into the flour and lightly mix with a spatula. Attach to mixer and turn on slow speed and let mix for 3 mins. Increase the speed to medium and let mixer run for another 10 to 15 mins, with intervals stop to scrap off the flour on the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing. The mixture will become heavy and sticky.
4. Prepare the steamer with boiling water.
5. Get ready the steaming bowls. Line each with banana leaves, cut to small squares and line crisscross to cover all sides of the bowls. Alternatively, just wipe vegetable oil all over the bowls if the banana leaves are not available.
6.Grease a spatula or spoon with vegetable oil. Scoop the flour & sugar mixture into the bowls, filling up and leave 1/2 inches on the top of the bowls. Knock the bowls on the countertop to get rid of air bubbles and smooth out the top part.
7. Divide the remaining 1/4 cup syrup among the bowls and pour on top and spread out.
8. Steam for 1 hour & 30 mins. 10 mins beforehand, add the jujube for garnish. The color will be caramel brown and the texture will be wet but firm and sticky.
9. Remove from heat and can be eaten fresh or store in the fridge and sliced to coat with beaten egg and pan fried the next day. It can be reheated by steaming for 10 mins. Always cut the cake first straight out of the fridge before deep frying or steaming.
Serves : 6 persons