Desserts (Asian)

Chinese sweet dumplings ‘tang yuan'(汤圆) – raspberry pink, in a ginger, cinnamon and honey syrup (gluten free, vegan)

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‘Tang yuan’, or the glutinous rice balls in syrup, were sometimes offered as a complementary dessert at Chinese restaurants. My husband always puzzled, why people liked these dull looking, doughy, boringly sweet and tasteless stuff.

Good point. As much ‘tang yuan’ is well loved by the Chinese community for its symbolic meaning of family and its reunion, it is not an exciting dish, not until it became a fusion dish anyway.

My ‘tang yuan’ were colored by raspberry coulis; some were filled with red bean paste and some were just small and plain. The syrup was infused with a cinnamon stick, cardamom,  ginger and orange peel, with brown sugar for color and a dash of honey for extra flavor. I really hope my husband would like them; and then he said, ‘they were okkkk’. Grrrrrrr!

Chinese sweet dumplings 'tang yuan'(汤圆) - raspberry pink, in a ginger, cinnamon & honey syrup

Recipe is as follows:

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Chinese New Year steamed sweet cake ‘nian gao’ (年糕) with coconut milk and ginger (gluten free, vegan)

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My old aunt loved making ‘nian gao’. My cousins called them rubber cakes, with a chewy, sticky texture and a plain sugary taste. My aunt is too old to cook now. So I started to make them myself, a not-so-authentic version with coconut milk, maple syrup and cinnamon. That’s what multi-culture is about, right?

‘Gao’ has the same pronunciation as ‘high’. ‘Nian’ means ‘year’. So ‘nian gao’ is symbolic for ‘every year a greater success’.  This puts ‘nian gao’ on the must-have list for Chinese New Year.

If you like it looking fancy, dust the cake with a mixture of peanuts, sesame seeds, sugar and desiccated coconut.

Chinese New Year steamed sweet cake 'nian gao' with ginger, cadamon, cinnamon and coconut milk

Recipe is as follows. Read the rest of this entry »

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: Read the rest of this entry »

Rice pudding with banana and coconut (low FODMAP, gluten free, vegan)

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I have worked in the finance sector for a very long time. In the good old days we enjoyed many extravagant lunches and dinners, Rockpool, Tetsuya, you name it. Nowadays things are quite different, but occasionally we still attend client lunches & dinners.  Last week we visited Kitchen by Mike at Bent Street. I was impressed with the rice pudding – heavenly creamy with a subtle vanilla and cinnamon flavor.

I was determined to have a go – I used arborio rice, coconut milk and bananas. This pudding is dairy free & gentle on your tummy.

Rice pudding with banana & coconut (low FODMAP, gluten free, vegan)

Recipe is as follow:

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Waffles with pineapple, banana and coconut (low FODMAP, vegan, gluten free)

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Winter is finally fading away in Sydney. Sun is shining and warm. The golden cane plants are back to life and the garden is looking fantastic.  This beautiful morning I made my tropicana waffles for breakfast and enjoyed them by the pool.

My tropicana waffles are some of my best waffles – super crispy on the outside, beautifully moist on the inside, and full of the goodness of banana, pineapple and coconut milk.  A little icing sugar on top makes it super handsome. Who would think vegan waffles could be so yummy..

Waffles with pineapple, banana & coconut, low FODMAP, gluten free

Recipe is as follow:

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Tofu, pumpkin, ginger & tapioca dessert (low FODMAP, gluten free, vegan)

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FODMAP vegan can be delicious too – tofu recipe #4.

Have you tried the silken tofu at a yum cha restaurant, the one that’s served with ginger flavored syrup?  It is one of my favorite.

Silken tofu is unfriendly for FODMAPpers. So I created this dessert that uses soft plain tofu and ginger. To add softer texture, I added pumpkin and tapioca. Pumpkin is infrequently used for dessert in Southern China (if they have the sweet variety we have here in Australia I bet they will go wild with it)!  Palm sugar and tapioca pearls bring all the ingredients together to give it a lovely semi-pudding like texture. Served slightly chilled, it will pleasantly surprise you with its refreshing taste.

Tofu, pumpkin, ginger, tapioca pudding

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Sesame and peanut slice

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Earlier today I made some  sweet glutinous rice balls and had some peanut, sesame & coconut coating left, so I made this simple & delicious sweet snack, sometimes found at the street market stalls around Asian.

Sesame and peanut slice

Recipe is as follow:

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