My Food Affair: Chestnut cake

Chestnut cake recipe Chinese


Fresh Water Chestnut CakeChinese New Year is a season for savoring cakes here in Hong Kong, turnip cakes, taro cakes, sticky rice cakes, all kinds of Chinese cakes you can name. Because the words ‘cake (糕)’ and ‘high’ in Chinese (Cantonese) both pronounces as ‘gou’, so the connotations of prestige and rising derived from ‘high’ are also imposed on ‘cake’, which is thus regarded as a symbolic food for bringing goodwill.

In a few days, the Chinese New Year and the Valentine’s Day are going to conflate on February 14, 2010. This is a cake recipe, at the same time this cake is also a dessert. I just find it to be a nice co-incidence to prepare this water chestnut cake (ma tai gou 馬蹄糕 in Cantonese) for the two festivals, which rarely come together on the same day. Anyway, this cake is easy and quick to make; with all the ingredients handy, the preparations can be done in about an hour (steaming time included) or even less than an hour if you are a seasoned cook.Water Chestnut Cake Prepare Besides, it can be prepared in advance and stored in fridge for up to a week.

  • Ingredients
  • 70g water chestnut powder
  • 4 pcs fresh water chestnut (or from canned) – here is another recipe for using water chestnuts
  • 70g rock sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tsp custard powder (dissolved by 2 tsp water)
  • These portions of ingredients altogether fit well into my rectangular baking dish of 17(W)x11(D)x4(H)cm
  • Custard Powder is Optional
  • I like to have this firm-jelly-like water chestnut cake looked translucent and slightly yellowish, therefore rock sugar (for transparency) and custard powder (for the yellow color) are used. If not, just omit the custard powder and substitute rock sugar by brown sugar, which will give the cake a brownish appearance.

Preparation

Grease the dish for steaming. Wash water chestnuts; peel and dice them right before cooking, if not, soak the peeled water chestnuts in water to avoid turning rusty.

Dissolve water chestnut powder with one cup of water (cold water). Put diced water chestnuts, sugar with the remaining one cup of water into a pot, bring to boil.

As soon as the liquid boils and the sugar dissolves, turn off heat. Immediately, stir in the dissolved water chestnut powder and custard powder. Like using corn starch for thickening, if the powder settles to the bottom, give it a good stir before mixing it into the hot water. Stir well with efforts to achieve a lump-free and pasty mixture.

Pour the mixture into the dish, flatten it into the same height.

In a wok, set up a rack to hold the dish above 4 cups of water, cover and steam for 15 minutes over high heat. To make sure if it is perfectly done, insert a toothpick to see if it comes out clean.



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