Yesterday was Chinese New Year and the beginning of the Year of the Rooster. Every year, my family gets together and makes our traditional New Year lunch. Sometimes we pan fry some white radish cake, but this year we went with a taro cake (also known as “wu tau go”) and Year Cake (leen go).
Similar to white radish cake (aka lo bat go), taro cake is steamed. It’s a cake, but by no means is it sweet. Rather, it is savory and has a starchy texture because of the taro chunks found inside. It also has some small dried shrimp and bits of Chinese sausage.
In case you’re unfamiliar with Chinese sausage, it’s also known as “lap cheung”. It’s nothing like the typical sausage you can throw on abarbecue. Rather, it’s small, thin and hard sausage with plenty of fat in it to give it flavour. It’s more sweet than salty, but it does have some soy sauce in it and other seasonings. These can be found at Asian grocery stores hanging on strings ready to be cut or in packages.
Then there’s something we traditionally have called Year Cake. A typical Year Cake is steamed with a date placed on top and sprinkled with sesame seeds. I haven’t tried her recipe, but Nena from Nena Baking Recipes shared a recipe for a more traditional version of Year Cake recently. However, the version I had this year was filled with walnuts. I was taken back a little bit by this because I’m not used to having that crunchiness, but I think that the butteriness and the flavor from the walnuts worked really well with the sweetness of the cake. Year Cake usually comes in round, tin containers at the store, but when we bring it home we slice it, dip it into an egg wash and pan fry them (like in the first picture above).
I can’t say for certain that everybody does this for their New Year lunch, but I can definitely say it’s what we do. Plus, I only get to eat Year Cake once a year! Gong Hey Fat Choi! 🙂