Saturday, January 24, 2009
Gong Hei Faat Choi!
It's Chinese New Year, and we're getting ready for a weekend of feasting. Plus, next week is my grandfathers birthday, so you can bet that we'll be eating on through the week!!!
I picked up a cookbook at my mothers house, after remembering making some New Years Cruellers one day as a child when my mother was out of the house. Iz, remember this one?
Yes, I was a bad little kid when I was younger and when my mother would leave the house to run errands and buy groceries, I would sneak into the kitchen and cook and bake and what not.
Thinking back, taking on the New Year Crueller as a nine year old was pretty damned gutsy. What if I'd burnt the house down? Dirty dishes would be the least of my worries at that point...
The cookbook I picked up was none other than "Chopstick Recipes #2" by Cecelia Au-Yeung. I have NEVER found another substitute for her cookbooks. Written in English and Chinese, the cook book features traditional dish recipes and colour photos.
While a bit archiac, the book is just *really good*! There are recipes for dim sum favourites like sausage buns, sticky rice buns, shiu mai, malai cake, and many others!
Although the recipe was written in ounces, with the help of the internet, I translated it into metric terms:
2 and 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 c + 3 T sugar
1-3 T of cold water
In a medium sized bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. Cut in the lard until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center. Beat together the eggs and pour into the well. Gradually incorporate the dry flour at the edges until the mixture is uniform and holds together.
On a floured surface, roll out into a thin rectangle. I rolled mine out to approximately half a centimeter thick. Use a sharp knife or rotary cutter to cut into small rectangles, approximately 1" by 2". (The book says 1/2" by 1 1/2", but I couldn't! They were so tiny!)
To form the crueller shape, use a small, sharp knife to cut a slit in the middle of each small rectangle of dough. Gently pull the bottom of the rectangle through the slit so that the dough plaits on itself. You may need to gently stretch the dough a little.
All my little cruellers, ready for the fryer...
In a medium sized pot, heat about 2 inches of oil on medium heat. I used canola oil. Make sure that the pot is more than twice the depth of your oil! You don't want to start a fire (something I'm sure I remembered at 9 years old...thus no burnt kitchens when my mother came home!). Drop in a couple cruellers at a time, stirring so that they do not stick to each other or the pot.
Package the cruellers into airtight containers, and give to older relatives and wish them to Faat Choy!!! And exchange the goodies for some li see! :)
Happy Chinese New Year everyone! Eat lots and enjoy the full bellies. I know what I'm doing the next couple of days!
There are a few more photos at my flickr photoset, "Chinese New Year Cruellers".