Monday, February 4, 2008

Good fortune

My childhood memories of Chinese New Year mainly involve things other than food. Dressing up to perform Chinese folk dancing, bringing plum blossoms to my grandparents in Chinatown, and receiving a shiny quarter in a lai-see are a few examples. Although food is a very central part of Chinese culture, I never developed a palate for the sweet traditional delicacies abundant during Chinese New Year celebrations. Nothing in that round lacquer box ever tasted good to me and no matter how hard I tried, I could never crack open those darned melon seeds. Instead, I headed straight for my savoury favourites, pan-fried lo baak gou (turnip cake) and any dumpling in sight.

I found a recipe for chocolate fortune cookies in Pichet Ong's cookbook which is basically just a simple tuile batter with added cocoa powder. Tuiles are very thin flat cookies, made from stenciling batter onto a baking sheet, which are baked and then quickly shaped while hot immediately out of the oven. Because I do not yet possess asbestos fingers like some fellow bakers out there, my fortune cookie shaping success rate was below 50% initially. Fortunately, a pair of latex gloves and perserverance helped produce 20 cookies which passed quality control.

Eric brought home some lovely Ataulfo mangos which prompted me to make an old favourite, mango pudding. Who can resist the creamy silken golden goodness? Not me. Instead of evaporated milk, my recipe from pastry school uses sour cream and heavy cream which gives it added richness. And isn't Chinese New Year all about richness, prosperity, and luck? Wishing you all good health and good fortune in the Year of the Rat...Gung Hay Fat Choy!


prairieox said...

Happy new year!! Hey, do you like those brown sugar sticky cakes? I like them pan-fried with egg (kinda like Chinese New Year french toast) for breakfast. :)

Charmaine said...

Happy New Year to you too, Chong/Chang sista. No, I can't say I like those cakes. :(