Chinese New Year sweet dumplings filled with peanuts, sesame seeds and coconut 角仔

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I had never fussed about Chinese New Year during my 30 years in Australia. After all, the Chinese New Year’s day is an ordinary work day.

This year I am making a special effort, having recently visited Singapore and overwhelmed by their festival spirit. I was particularly impressed by the whole floor of festival groceries at the basement of Takashimaya department store – beautiful food in containers, in jars, packages and everywhere.

Singapore luna new year grocery at Takashimaya
Luna new year grocery at Takashimaya department store Singapore

I still remember my experience during these 10 joyful days while I was in China. It was in the midst of winter and the air was always cold. There were sparkles in our eyes with the excitement of fire crackers, flower stalls, new clothes, a few good meals and the red envelopes with some money in it.

The ‘gok-zai'(角仔) or the ‘YouJiao'(油角), translated as the fried little triangle pastry, diligently homemade and exchanged between families while paying the rare once-a-year visits, were delightful.  Families often re-gifted the ‘gok-zai’ they received. We often ended up with a bag of ‘gok-zai’ with different shapes, sizes and colors. My grandmother stored them in a brown urn under the stairs and we were allowed to have a few each day. During the early 1970s while food supplies were scarce, these little treats were very much appreciated by the little ones.

Here is my quick and easy ‘gok-zai’. Traditionally they were deep fried but I baked them for a healthier version.  Happy new year everyone, 新年快樂. Hope the newSw year will bring you and your family health, peace and happiness.

Recipe is as follows: Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup crashed peanuts, lightly toasted
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds, lightly toasted
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 2/3 cup desiccated coconut, lighted toasted
  • 3-4 sheet of shop-bought short crust pastry (you can also use a not-so-puffy puff pastry)
  • 1 egg for egg wash

Method

  • Combine peanuts, sesame seeds, sugar and coconut, mix well
  • Cut the short crust pastry in small round discs – size is ‘as-you-please’ around 6-8cm diameter (my pastry today is 7.5cm diameter).
  • Make the dumplings as demonstrated in the video below.
  • Brush the dumplings with egg wash
  • Baked in a pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes, turn over a few times.

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