Saturday, January 28, 2017

Fa Gao Chinese Prosperity Cake

Fa gao (simplified Chinese: 发糕; traditional Chinese: 發粿; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: hoat-koé) is a Chinese cupcake-like pastry, most commonly consumed on the Chinese new year, that is made of flour (usually rice flour), leavening (traditionally yeast, but can be chemical leavening), sugar or another sweetener, steamed (instead of baked), until the top splits into a characteristic "split top" of four segments. The batter is typically left to rest for fermentation prior to being steam-cooked.

The name of the cake is a pun, as "fa" means both "prosperity" and "raised (leavened)", so "fa gao" means both "prosperity cake" and "raised (leavened) cake". These cakes, when used to encourage prosperity in the new year, are often dyed bright colors. Chinese New Year also known as the "Spring Festival" (simplified Chinese 春节; traditional Chinese 春節; Pinyin: Chūn Jié) in modern Mainland China, is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. Celebrations traditionally run from the evening preceding the first day, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first calendar month. The first day of the New Year falls on the new moon between 21 January and 20 February. In 2017, the first day of the Chinese New Year is on Saturday, 28 January, initiating the year of the Rooster.

The New Year festival is centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Traditionally, the festival was a time to honor deities as well as ancestors. Chinese New Year is celebrated in countries and territories with significant Chinese populations, including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Mauritius and Australia, and the Philippines. Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had influence on the lunar new year celebrations of its geographic neighbors.

Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the Chinese New Year vary widely. Often, the evening preceding Chinese New Year's Day is an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly cleanse the house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red color paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of "good fortune" or "happiness", "wealth", and "longevity". Other activities include lighting firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes. Among about one third of the Mainland population, or 500 million Northerners, dumplings (especially those of vegetarian fillings) feature prominently in the meals celebrating the festival. Gung Hay Fat Choy Happy Lunar New Year 2017 The Year Of The Rooster.

Fa Gao Chinese Prosperity Cake Recipe From Knowing Food
Fa Gao

2 Cups Rice Flour
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 & 1/2 Cups Hot Water

3/4 Cups Plain Flour
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
2 to 4 Drops Red Food Coloring*

[Editor's Note: The red food coloring is optional. i have included it with the recipe as red is a traditional good luck color in Chinese culture. 2 to 4 drops is a suggested amount depending upon how deep a shade of red is desired.]

Sieve the dry ingredients [except the sugar] together. Add the sugar into the 1 & 1/2 cups of measured hot water and stir until sugar disolves. Mix the sugar water with the dry ingredients. Pour the mixture into molds [*cupcake paper should be placed in the molds prior to pouring]. A steamer is needed to cook the cakes. Bring the water in the steamer to a boil. Place molds into the steamer to steam on high heat for 25 minutes.

Text Credits: Wikipedia||Wikipedia||Knowing Food||Image Credit: YtowerCookingChannel