Chinese rice cake: my favorite childhood memory
Photo by:From the Internet
Edited by:James Campion, WANG Zijin | Date:2017/02/08
When the peach trees begin to put forth their blossoms, the Spring Festival is usually around the corner. Along with the reunion of the whole family, all sorts of food is made especially to celebrate it, and Chinese rice cake “年糕” is a typical, yet unique one.
I really like the Chinese character “糕”，mostly because it provides me with the feeling of home. This character consists of two parts: “米”and“羔”. “米” represents rice, which is the main ingredient of rice cake, meanwhile ”羔” means warm and soft food in ancient China. Thus, these two parts constitute the warm and soft rice cake, spreading the flavor of love.
From a very young age, I have had a preference for rice cakes. Not only do I enjoy them being pan-fried to golden brown, but also I can hardly resist the temptation of the rice cake soup.
As a Cantonese girl, I have grown up with Cantonese rice cakes, which are made of sticky rice, sugar and lard. Mix these ingredients proportionally and steam for some time, and they are edible. They are originally white, with a gentle, not too sweet taste, glutinous but chewy. Sometimes, my grandma adds dark sugar instead of traditional white sugar, and they taste even better.
Moreover, rice cakes can be in different shapes. Usually, my grandma uses the food mould to make rice cakes, and the carp is always chosen, and it is because there is a famous old saying that the carp leap through the dragon's gate, which means that we can make great process during the coming new year.
It is worth mentioning that when making rice cakes, adults always ask children to use special red powder to make a little red mark. I still remember the moment when I put the chopstick in the red powder and dabbed it on that piece of rice cake, as if I had painted the most beautiful flower on the cake.
Rice cakes remain the strong favorite among Chinese New Year delicacies, as zongzi (sticky rice dumplings)do during the Dragon Boat Festival, and moon cakes for the Mid-Autumn Festival. Like the others, rice cakes are available all year round at street stalls, supermarkets and restaurants. We don't have to wait until the New Year.
If the materials are available to you, it is quite possible for you to make Chinese rice cakes at home: both for pleasure and maybe also to celebrate the Chinese New Year.