Weekend cooking: Happy Lunar New Year

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A jar of my mother-in-law’s homemade pineapple tarts, handcarried from Singapore in December. They are rather delicate, thus the crumbs.

It’s not the Lunar New Year without something sweet in the house! In Singapore, we’d have all our favourites like kueh bangkit, pineapple tarts (ok so we do actually have these since the in-laws brought them from Singapore in December), bak kwa (a kind of barbecued pork jerky).

And so while it’s not exactly a traditional Chinese cookie, I made oatmeal raisin cookies (via the Rachel Allen cook book Bake! – someone has put up the recipe here – I did reduce the sugar to about 180g and added some cinnamon) and some banana bread as I had three too ripe bananas sitting in my freezer and I hate turning my oven on for just that one thing (recipe via Smitten Kitchen – but minus some of the spices which I didn’t have).

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Great with a glass of milk!

One of my favourite Lunar New Year treats is nian gao (年糕) a steamed sweet glutinous rice cake (recipe here). I’ve never made it myself before as there are plenty of varieties available in the Asian supermarkets here (such as brown sugar, coconut). Here’s what I like to do with it: slice it, dip in an egg batter and pan-fry for a crispy sweet eggy breakfast! Nian gao, which can literally be translated as ‘year cake’ is traditionally offered to the Kitchen God to stick his lips together so that nothing bad will be said!

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Tastes better than it looks!

One of my other favourite New Year traditions is yu sheng (a raw fish salad) which I’ve previously mentioned here but it is difficult to find in the Bay Area and in the first place, with the pregnancy, raw fish is out for me. So no yu sheng this year!

Sweet treats or not, have a happy Lunar New Year! 新年快乐!万事如意!

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