Thursday, February 19, 2015

Making Chinese New Year MOCHI Cake

Happy Chinese / Lunar New Year!!
Every country has a different way of celebrating their New Year especially when it comes to food.   We learned while we lived in South Viet-Nam that friends and neighbors would purchase New Year cake as gifts during their "BAI NIEN" - meaning, we visit friends, family, neighbors to 'wish them a good year'.  Chinese New Year cake is made of glutinous rice flour - same as 'MOCHI' flour, brown sugar (they call it "red" sugar), red dates, or red beans, pork fats.   I never got used to the tiny bits of pork fats in them.  I remember poking them out with my fingers.  Anyways, thanks to modernization and availability of the glutinous rice powder at local Asian market, I can control what goes in it.  I wished the glutinous rice powder is Organic, Non-GMO, unbleached.  Maybe they will catch on in the next few years.

1.  A large Steamer that can hold water at least for 2 hours of steaming at high heat or check the post often without risking the loss of steam power and resulting in 'raw' cake << bad luck! @#~!
2.  Large Flour Sack Cloth
3.  Several removable bottom cake molds
     Spring load cake molds are easy for this purpose too.
4.  Cut Parchment paper to cover bottom and sides
5.  Brush Olive oil on parchment paper.  I am not making last year's mistake.  So, be sure to oil parchment paper even though you see the EVOO accumulating at the bottom.  These puddle will distribute itself all around once the cake mixture is added and during steaming.  This EVOO will assure easy removal of very sticky rice cake from the cake mold and allow you to remove it off the cake afterwards.
6.  Saran wraps
7.  a Couple of Baking sheets
8.  Large mixing bowls
9.  Measuring cup
10.  Kettle - Keep hot boiling water handy at all times.  You may need to refill your Steamer pot and you want the additional water to be boiling water
11.  Large Spatula

Basic Ingredients are easy, and I followed one of the cooking book that my mother gave me many years ago.
6 Cups of Glutinous Rice Powder
2 Cups Hot Water
2 Cups Dark Brown Sugar for better taste
Dissolve Sugar in Hot water first.  Then, add glutinous rice powder.  Mix well till smooth.  Add any optional goodies.

Optional addition:
Rehydrated Chinese Red Dates << dried JUJUBE fruits  or why not try regular dates?
Cooked Red Beans
Mashed sweetened Taro (my favorites)
Cassia Flower Jam

Bring water of steamer to a full rolling boil.    Fill each cake mold with batter.  Place them strategically in the steamer pan.  If your steamer is made of aluminum - TIP:  Cover the lid with a large sheet of Sack Flour cloth (can be found at Walmart at pots and pan mitten section, usually) to keep evaporation moisture from dripping into cake.   Steam for 2 hours.  DO NOT Open the lid, preferably.
Depending on the sizes of the cake, at 1 hour 20 minutes, quickly open the lid and insert a tester into the cake to check for doneness and immediately close the lid.   The dough should be translucent.
Turn off heat.  Wait for 10 minutes without opening the lid.
Spread two sheets of Saran Wrap on a baking sheet.
Invert the cake over the wrap.  Remove the parchment paper.
Leave to cool.      or SERVE when warm.
Note:  The following process will take several hours.
Skin should form around the cake.  No longer quite sticking to the fingers.
Flip it over and dry.   Slice and serve.
Wrap and Store in Refrigerator.  
Slice and pan fry them and serve or each French Toast style - meaning, beat an egg, and dip the cake slice in it and pan fry it.
Red Dates with Cassia Flower Jam
Red Beans with Cassia Flower Jam
Wish everyone a Great Prosperous Happy New Year, to Health, and many Blessings!

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