It’s almost time for one of the most anticipated time of the year – Chinese New Year. Every year, it’s a time to celebrate togetherness and the new year with ancient customs and traditions. Not only that, it’s the season of enjoying great desserts and cookies. Some families will handmade the desserts while some will buy these treats at vendors, stalls and even the supermarket. Popular desserts will definitely be sold out the soonest so hurry and buy them now!
Here’s a collection of the most popular desserts available during Chinese New Year that will bring back our fondest memories:
Nian Gao (Sticky Rice Cakes)
Nian Gao is made with glutinous rice cakes and brown sugar. The Chinese name for it, “nian gao” is a homophone for the “year higher” which symbolises good fortune and prosperity for the new year.
Not only that, its round shape represents the togetherness and wholeness. While still fresh, the cake is soft and squishy. Thus, eating it can cause a sticky mess. When the cake becomes stale and hard after a couple of days, the cake can be cut into slices and pan-fried until it becomes an entirely different dessert.
Sesame Seed Balls
This dessert is fried glutinous rice balls that are covered in sesame seeds. This fried dessert is usually filled with red bean paste. It’s crunchy and sweet, perfect for the joyous occasion. The dessert is also said to symbolise fullness.
Sweet Red Bean Soup
This traditional Chinese dessert is a favourite of many and can be eaten as a dessert or a late-night snack. This treat is made with red beans, lotus seeds and dried tangerine peels. Thus, it contains plenty of Vitamin B and E and is usually consumed when hot. Some recipes even have extra ingredients such as glutinous rice balls or sago.
Fried Dough Twists
This fried dessert is harder than sesame seed baguettes. Made with two or three bars of doughs, the dessert is twisted together and fried until crispy. You can even make it on your own at home. Try out this recipe here. Moreover, the dough twists can be of any flavour such as black sesame, sweet, spicy and salty.
A popular way to eat peanuts, the brittles are often sold in markets. The dessert is crispy and fragrant. Aside from eating peanuts by the bag, these peanut brittles add some sweetness and crunch to every bite.
Many types of pineapple tarts can be seen in markets and households. The pineapple filling may be rolled between the flour or a dollop of pineapple jam is placed in the middle of the biscuit.
The texture of the pineapple jam varies as it can be smooth or chewy with pineapple bits. A definite hit among guests of all ages, be sure to make it or buy it from stores!
Tang Yuan (Glutinous Rice Balls)
Tang yuan is commonly made and served during the Winter Solstice, but it is also common to consume this dessert during the Lunar New Year. Some families make it plain, but some add filling to it such as black sesame or red bean paste. In fact, some also infuse the tang yuan broth with ginger to make it more fragrant and add healing properties to the dessert.
A definite-must for the Lunar New Year, almond cookies are a favourite in every home. These cookies have a delicate flavour that is not overpowering, which makes it perfect as there are plenty of sweet desserts. Almond is also placed on the centre of each cookie. Almond is also packed with carbohydrates, good for the heart and aids in weight loss and preventing weight gain. That’s excellent news as I always overeat during the festive season!
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