Sunday, January 30, 2011

Rice & Rabbit for Chinese New Year

Xin Nian Kuai Le! Happy New Year! 

The Year of the Rabbit begins on February 3rd according to the Chinese lunar calendar.  The Year of the Rabbit is said to be a year to catch your breath and calm down after the ferocious Year of the Tiger.  

To mark the New Year, the Chinese eat certain foods to symbolise good fortune and prosperity. For example, long, uncut noodles are eaten for longevity. Whole fish (from head to tail) or whole chicken (head and feet intact) are served to symbolise completeness.

In northern China, steamed-wheat bread (man tou) and small meat dumplings are the traditional eats. They are served in copious amounts to usher in abundance and wealth for the household.

In southern China, a typical New Year's dish is sweet steamed glutinous rice pudding. Red bean paste makes the rice as sweet as candy. Preserved fruit -- such as sugared lotus seeds, honeyed dates, ginkgo nuts, canned lichee, brandied white raisins, peaches, or figs -- dapple the rice with colour and texture.

8 Treasure Rice Pudding 

In AK's Kitchen, there's almost always leftover rice, either jasmine or basmati. I make a scrummy rice pudding with cocoa and coconut milk. You can easily alter this recipe by adding your favourite spices and candied fruit, like the Chinese version.

Chocolate Coconut Rice Pudding 
A-K's Chocolate Coconut Rice Pudding

1 can coconut milk
2 cups cooked rice
1 teaspoon coconut oil (optional) 
3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
2 Tablespoon agave or maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 Tablespoon grated coconut for garnish

In a medium sauce pan, heat coconut milk.
Whisk in cocoa, agave, cinnamon, nutmeg.
Add coconut oil for extra richness.
Stir in rice until well blended.

This recipe will take you less than five minutes to make. 
My kids always add a little extra soya or almond milk and chocolate chips. 
Garnish with a sprinkling of grated coconut.
This recipe will yield six small desserts cups.


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