In all parts of the globe, New Year would not be complete without preparing food that you know your friends and family would love. Although some people prefer catering services, for these types of occasions, it is always better to cook and prepare the food with your loved ones. Even kids love it when they are called to the kitchen to help with making the food. Additionally, you can easily make adjustments to dishes which you may want to modify for the sake of your guest’s preferences when you prepare the food yourself.
Famous for their traditions, the Chinese people never fail to show case their culture in their day to day lives. Be it in designing of their house, the practice of their religion and of course, the food they put on the table. Regardless of if the food is meant to be an appetizer, a main course or dessert, people will never fail to see the prominence of their history and culture on whatever is prepared for their guests.
In occasions such as the famous Chinese New Year, food is given even more attention as tradition and love for food come together in this beautiful event. Specifically, Chinese desserts are seen to have the utmost detail in preparation as generations of mastered techniques are shown in their wonderful delicacies. Here are just some of the top symbolically celebrated Chinese New Year Desserts particular for that special occasion that are served at Hong Kong restaurants.
NianGao or Sticky Cake
This cake is known to be the most famous among all the desserts and is thought to be prepared for one of the Chinese gods, the Chinese Kitchen god. The myth goes that this cake is beautifully made so that the said deity would say good things about the family when he goes back to heaven before the New Year Season starts. This report of his is thought to help in the prosperity of the family for the coming year.
Cake is also symbolical in Chinese culture for it represents a rich life and togetherness. So, preparing NianGao for the Chinese is important for the family to be together and united for the upcoming year. Glutinous rice flour is the primary ingredient in making NianGao. Dried fruit is used as filling for the cake and it is then steamed until cooked.
Five Spice Peanuts
In Chinese culture, everything is focused on having a long and prosperous life, and so, most of their practices are geared toward this goal. They see to it that the foods they are eating are healthy and could contribute to having optimum health making them ready to take on the everyday challenges they face. Even their practice of drinking tea daily is aimed to boost their health in many ways such as making their immune system stronger and making them less susceptible to illnesses.
The Five Spice Peanuts dessert also symbolizes longevity in the historical Chinese practices. It is prepared by melting butter, corn syrup and brown sugar in a medium sized sauce pan and stirring in the five-spice powder. This is brought to a boil for several minutes and then added with peanuts. This mixture is spread into a lined sheet of wax paper or foil and left to harden. After hardening, it is broken into small bite sized pieces and stored until ready to serve.
The idea of these cookies actually originates in western regions of the world such as America. But these days, western or not, it is always nice to have one of these in festivals such as the Chinese New Year. Homemade versions of these are of course better than those that are ready to buy in stores. It is also more fun to be able to customize the fortunes rather than reading whatever fortune the store has for you. Almost all Hong Kong restaurants serve these as well.
The Chinese people give prime importance to having a prosperous future, hence, making fortune cookies make things more interesting and fun. Although some Chinese people do not take someone’s fortune as a joke, it is always fun to crack open a cookie and see what the “future” holds for you.