I hope everyone had a great Chinese new year this year. After I introduced you to a few Chinese New Year dishes and explained why we have those dishes for our Chinese New Year dinner. I realized after writing these that I didn’t tell you about the origins of Chinese New Year.
I think there are many different stories behind it but my favorite one is about “monster Nian”.
We believe Chinese New Year started in ancient China when an evil monster called Nian who had a head like a lion and a body as strong as a bull, lived in the deepest ocean but every January or February he would leave the ocean and damage villages and kill animals and people. Everybody was really suffering because of this but the villagers then thought about a plan to stop Nian. They found Nian was sensitive towards fire, strong lighting, red colour and loud noises. So the villagers started wearing red clothes, stuck red paper on their doors, played with fire crackers and they were successful. Nian was terrified and stopped attacking the villages.
The people were so happy that they had got rid of Nian that every year around January/February they would have a big celebration with their family and friends. They and indeed we celebrate by wearing red clothes, shooting firecrackers, eating and drinking and partying all night.
This is the origin of Chinese New Year.
After the origin of Chinese new year. The recipe today is a Taiwanese dessert that we will usually eat or use it to pray to Buddha and hope he will bring us a good year. This dessert in Chinese is called “發糕 Fa-Gao”. It has meaning of “promotion” so we believe if you eat this cake you will receive a promotion this year. Here is my recipe for this Taiwanese dessert “發糕”. I hope you like it.
320g rice flour
100g plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
180g brown sugar or caster sugar
1 bunch dried berries
1 tablespoon strawberry jam
1 teaspoon red food coloring
- Mix all the ingredients together evenly and leave it aside for 20 minutes.
- Place 4~5 small bowls in a steamer and steam at full power for 5~8 minutes.
- Place cup cake paper into small bowls and fill the cup cake paper until 90% full with the mixture.
- Steam it for 30 minutes and don’t open the cover or lid or the Fa gao 發糕 won’t rise up.
* The other photo shows the original flavor of Fa gao. All you need to do is just don’t put any dried berries, strawberry jam and red food coloring into the recipe.
Credit: All photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com