Celebrating Food! Celebrating Life!

Posts tagged “chinese new year

Chap Goh Meh & the Peranakan Pengat

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Today is the 15th day of the Lunar New Year, which is known as 元宵节 Yuan Xiao Jie to the Chinese. To the traditional babas and nyonyas, this day also marks the end of the almost 2 month long preparation which started at 冬至 Tang Chek, followed by making kueh bakol for ari datok naik, Semayang Abu or ancestral prayers on the eve of the Lunar New Year, and then celebrations of the Lunar New Year itself. It continues on with ari datok turun on the 4th day, and then Semayang Teekong starting on the night of the 8th day of the Lunar New Year where kueh koo merah are made as an offering, and finally today, which is known as Chap Goh Meh to the Peranakan Chinese.
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On the Trail of the Phoenix – Kueh Bakol (Tnee Kueh)

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One of the main “highlights” of Chinese New Year has always been the making of traditional cookies and snacks which are otherwise seldom prepared throughout the rest of the year. About two or three weeks before Chinese New Year, usually a week or so after Tang Chek, my aunts would “assemble” at Grandma’s place to make a big batch of these CNY goodies, roping in some of her good old neighbours for the tedious task as well, with whom the goodies would be shared around with at the end. The familiar New Year delicacies include the ever popular kueh tair (pineapple tarts), kueh belanda (Nyonya love letters), kueh bangket, kueh bolu, peanut cookies, almond cookies etc. They work fastidiously round the clock with much precision like a factory production line, but yet being able to maintain a cheery banter, packing the entire kitchen with not just that annual indulgence of buttery and nutty aromas but also filled with much laughter and loud chatter. However, there is that one kueh which Grandma would prepare single-handedly all the while, until age eventually catches up with her and the task was “inherited” by one of my aunts but not without the ever watchful eye of Grandma.  This is kueh bakol, the most important of all these festive kuehs which are continuously churned out over that fateful hectic weekend, for it is food not made for the mortals, but for the gods.
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Kueh Belanda – Kuih Kapit : Nyonya Love Letters

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Life is basically about a sequence of happenings and experiences, episodes that unfold around us all the time. It can be as uneventful as queuing for one’s favorite nasi lemak or mundane as waiting for the bus or MRT. Yet there are things which leave an everlasting imprint in us, conjuring a powerful memory which we may not even revisit for the longest time, carefully stowed away deep within each of us until one fateful day when the memory is retrieved and unbound from the abyss of our consciousness, invoking a wave of emotional recollections, often accompanied by a profound sense of nostalgia. As I grew older and hopefully wiser, I find myself walking down the proverbial “memory lane” more often than before. Sometimes the smallest triggers, deja vus from a not-to-distant past can rouse and unleash an avalanche of reminiscence. Perhaps this is what folks often call being “sentimental”… unwitttingly and unknowingly. For me, making kueh belanda surely counts as one of these things, and I’m sure it is the same with my friends too, as four of us got together to make them very recently. It was a really tiring and back-breaking process, but I’m glad I did it again after a hiatus of more than 20 years. Mummy would have been proud…
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新年杏仁酥饼 Chinese New Year Almond Cookies

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The Chinese New Year baking continues and this time round, one of my favorites, almond cookies. I love them for their melt-in-the-mouth textures making snacking on them so effortless and hopefully guilt-free. Haha I wish but fat hope! Oh well, it’s a once-a-year kinda indulgence anyway! So just enjoy and makan la!

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咸蛋黄年饼 Chinese New Year Salted Egg Yolk Cookies

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Chinese New Year is barely 2 weeks awauleft and there is still so much to be done! Not started on spring cleaning yet and I’d planned a whole list of CNY goodies to bake but it looks like some of them have to be shelved to 2017! I saw folks baking these salted egg yolk cookies 2 years back and gotten round to bake a really small batch of them (half recipe) last year. They were really melt-in-the-mouth but at the same time really fragile to handle. I guess that kinda stopped me from baking them again last year. Just last week, a friend, Cecilia brought up the topic of these salted egg yolk cookies again, for she too faced the same problem of the dough being too soft to handle and also the final product being really crumbly and difficult to store without some “casualties”, e.g. broken pieces. Not really a nice thing to gift someone broken cookies and crumbs yeah? That prompted me to look into the recipe again and true enough, it can be easily re-written to make the cookies much easier to handle yet without losing the coveted melt-in-the-mouth texture. Read on to find out how…

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Homemade Pineapple Tart Jam – A Photo Guide

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Everyone seems to be really busy with Chinese New Year preparation now, judging by the number of CNY goodies related posts I’d been seeing over Facebook all morning… make that all week long. While some are showcasing this year’s cookies and snacks they’d prepared, others are just airing old posts made in yesteryears to revive interest and hopefully spike up some blog traffic. Whichever the case, the festive mood is definitely in the air. I had my hand making bak kwa recently and I think the next thing I need to settle is yet another of my favorite CNY munchie, Pineapple Tarts. I’d been making pineapple tarts for quite a number of years now. I think it is a good time to consolidate my experience for its preparation, and let’s start with a photographic guide on how you can make pineapple jam at home from scratch.
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