Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Hawaiian Butter Mochi

Aloha, everyone!

This week I would like to share an amazing little treat I discovered during my trip to Hawaii. Firstly, I have to say that the food is amazing. I had the pleasures of sampling many of the local cuisine during my visit but what really made my little sweet tooth sing was Hawaiian Mochi. These tasty little sweet morsels are readily available everywhere much like our beloved DATE SQUARES are here in Newfoundland. You can find them in supermarkets, restaurants, bakeries, gas stations, in drug stores and everywhere in between.
Yellow & green colored mochi from
Store bought butter mochi from

They come in all shapes, color and sizes. Some have a sweet filling in them and others are filled with mixture of toasted nuts, sesame seeds and flakes of sweetened coconut. Come as they may, they are more than likely made from glutinous rice or flour. They have a soft, chewy, sticky, jelloish-marshmallow texture which gives an excellent mouth feel when you bite into them. It's quite moreish and I have craved for them on several occasions. Since then I've perfected the recipe and my friends and family all love it. I hope the recipe below will tie you over until you end up somewhere tropical!

Until next time, Mahalo! 

Butter Mochi


4 cups Glutinous rice flour
3 tsp Baking powder
3 cups sugar

1/2 cup Butter (salted), melted
4 Eggs
1 can Coconut milk
1 can 2% evaporated milk
3 tsp Vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 325 F

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Mix together all the wet ingredients in another bowl, then add them into the dry ingredients.
Continue to stir and fold until the whole mixture is is even and free of lumps. (There is no fear of over mixing here so put some muscle into it!)

Pour the batter into a 9x13 baking dish coated with cooking spray. 
Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the top of the dessert is golden and just begining to brown around the edges.

You can eat it while it's still warm but I find it much nicer the next day when it is cooled and setup overnight. (This dessert does not require refrigeration.)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

恭禧發財! Gong Hey Fat Choy!

Happy Chinese New Year! 
Everyone from TamGood would like to wish everyone a joyous, 
prosperous and healthy New Year in 2016!

Here is our table filled with delicious, symbolic dishes.   
Food Symbolism during Chinese 
New Year Celebrations
(Source: One World Nation Online Website - link below)

The Chinese like playing with words and symbols.
Often homonyms (words that share the same
pronunciation but have different meanings) are 
gladly used. Names of dishes and/or their ingredients
which will sound similar to words and phrases 
referring to wishes expressed during the Chinese
New Year, while other foods hold a symbolic meaning. 

Food offerings are a prayer or a wish and can be 
addressed to ancestors and other beings such as the
Jade Emperor and The Kitchen God. The offering of
food serves to bring ancestors and other beings in 
the other world closer to oneself.
The food offerings serve as a bonding tool to bring both worlds together.

Below a brief list of the food's symbolic meaning:

Abalone (sea snail; 鳆; fù) - definite good fortune
Apple (苹果; píngguǒ) - wisdom, peace
Apricot, dried (杏脯; xìngfǔ) - gold, wealth
Arrowhead (bot.: Sagittaria sagittifolia; 慈菇; cí gū) - benevolence
Arrowroot (bot.: Maranta arundinacea; 竹芋) - good life

Bamboo fungus (stinkhorn fungus; bot.: Phallus indusiatus; 竹笙, zhúshēng), 
also called bamboo pith (竹荪; zhúsūn) - meaning: long life
Bamboo shoots (竹笋尖; zhú sǔn jiān) - wealth (term sounds like "wishing that everything 
would be well" - xǔyuànchí), new start
Banana (香蕉; xiāngjiāo), on altar, offering - wish for education, brilliance at work/ school
Bean curd, dried/ tofu, dried (豆腐, dòu fǔ)- fulfillment of wealth and happiness (
note: dried tofu is not of white colour)
Bean curd sticks (腐竹; fǔ zhú) - blessing the house
Bean sprouts (豆芽; dòu yá, literally "bean sprout/germ" 芽菜; yá cài, literally 
"sprout vegetable" or 银芽; yín yá, literally "silver sprouts") - 'to your heart's content',
positive start into the new year
Black moss (hair moss, hair weed), fat choy (髮菜; fàcài; a black hair-like cyanobacteria)
- wealth

Cabbage, Chinese (pak choy, 白菜) - 100 types of prosperity luck
Cabbage, stuffed packages - wealth (the shape symbolises an ingot)
Calms (scallops; 扇贝; shànbèi) - opening of new horizons
calm roll (干贝; gānbèi) - gold, wealth
Carrots (胡蘿蔔; hú luóbo; or 紅蘿蔔; hóng luóbo), red colour- good luck
Cashew nut (腰果, yāoguǒ)- gold, money (the nut's shape symbolises the gold bar of 
ancient times)
Chicken (whole) (鸡肉; jīròu) - prosperity, togetherness of the family, joy 
(note: chicken with its head, tail and feet symbolizes completeness)
Chinese garlic chives (韭菜, jiǔcài) - everlasting, eternity, long life
Coconut, nut (椰子; yēzi), flesh (椰肉; yēròu), juice/milk (椰汁; yēzhī) - promoting togetherness

Daylily buds, golden lily buds (金针; jīnzhēn; also called "golden needles") - wealth
Duck (鸭肉, yāròu) - fertility
Dumplings - dumplings exist in various kind, see: jiaozi dumplings, they represent the 
ancient good pieces

Egg (蛋, dàn) - fertility
egg roll (蛋皮春卷, dàn pí chūn juǎn) - money, wealth, gold

Fa Gao (发糕; fāgāo) the steamed "Prosperity Cake"; the sound "fa" means either
 "to raise/generate" or "be prosperous"
Fish (whole) - The word 魚 (yú), meaning "fish", has the same pronunciation as the word 餘,
which is "remain or surplus", 'having leftovers of money', an increase in prosperity
fish ball (鱼蛋; yúdàn) - reunion

Golden lilly buds, Daylily (bot.: Hemerocallis; 金针; jīnzhēn) - wealth
Gingko nuts ( 銀杏; yín xìng; or 白果, bái guǒ)- hope for silver, wealth
(the nut's shape represents a silver yuanbao/ ingot)
Dried unbroken glass noodles symbolise long life.
Photo: © Valeska Gehrmann 
Glass noodles, Chinese vermicelli, cellophane noodle,
noodle threads (粉絲; fěn sī; also called "bean threads ",
mung bean thread) - silver chain
Grapes (葡萄, pútaó) - wealth, abundance, fertility,
many descendants, family harmony

Jiaozi- Dumplings (jiǎozi, 饺子) - wealth
(the shape of the jiaozi dumplings is that of a
yuanbao ingot, also the word jiǎozi shares the same
pronunciation with 角子 (jiǎozi) that is a small jiao
coin used in old times. 

Jujube symbolise wealth, prosperity, as well as fertility.
Photo: ©
Jujube (kind of date, red colour; 枣; zǎo, candied
 jujube: 蜜枣; mìzǎo) - wealth, prosperity, fertility

Kumquat (金橘; jīn jú) - gold, hence fortune, wealth

Lettuce (生菜; shēngcài) - prosperity
lettuce roll, food being rolled into lettuce
 - having a child soon
Longan (龙眼) - many good son
Lotus seeds/ -nuts/ -beans (蓮子; lián zĭ)
 - a full wallet, many (male) offspring
lotus seeds,crystallized (蓮子糖; lián zĭ táng)
 - a full wallet, many (male) offspring
Lychee (荔枝; lìzhī) - close family ties

Maize (玉米; yùmǐ) - growth
Mandarin (瓯柑; ōugān) - gold, wealth
Meat ball (肉丸; ròuwán)- reunion
Melon (瓜; guā) - family unity
melon, candied - growth, good health
Mixed vegetable (什锦蔬菜; shíjǐn shūcài) - family harmony
Muer mushroom, Black fungus, Three ear fungus, Wood ear (木耳; mù ěr) - longevity

Noodles (面条; miàntiáo) uncut - long life

Onion (洋葱; yángcōng) - cleverness
Orange (柑橘; gānjú) - wealth, good fortune, gold
Oyster (牡蠣; mǔlì) - receptivity to good fortune, good business
Oyster, dried (ho xi) - all good things, good luck

Peach - immortality
Peach, pair of (桃; táo) - wealth, abundance, long healthy life, great fortune for many
Peanuts (花生; huāshēng) - health, long life, birth of prosperity, continuous growth,
multiplication in wealth and good fortune, stability
Pineapple (凤梨; fènglí) - wealth, luck, excellent fortune, gambling luck
Pomegranate symbolises many offsprings
Photo: © Valeska Gehrmann
Pomegranate (石榴; shíliu) - many offsprings
Pomelo (柚子; yòuzi) - abundance, prosperity,
having children, good health, family unity
Pork (猪肉; zhūròu) - strength, wealth, abundant blessing
Prawn (大虾; dàxiā) - liveliness
Pumpkin (南瓜; nánguā) - prosperity, abundance,
descendant's luck, illustrious children,
enchantment, fruit drawsearth energy to manifest gold

Rice (米饭; mǐfàn) - fertility, luck, wealth, rice
symbolizes a link between Heaven (Gods) and Earth

Nian gao, (Chinese: 年糕; pinyin: nián'gāo) Sticky
(Rice) cake, Chinese new year's cake. It is considered good luck to eat nian gao because
it has the symbolism of increasing prosperity every year.
The New Year greeting 'Nian Nian Gao Sheng' (年年高升 niánnián gāoshēng) is to
wish people "advance toward higher positions and prosperity step by step."

Sticky rice - cohering of family
Rice is one of the Twelve Symbols of Sovereignty
Roseapple (Syzygium jambos; 蒲桃; pú táo) - calmness, peace of mind, no fighting
Seaweed, especially black moss, Fat Choy, (in Chinese: 髮菜; pinyin: fàcài;
literal meaning: hair vegetable). The two syllables of Fat Choy in Cantonese
sound the same as a Cantonese Chinese New Year greeting "Gung1 hei2 faat3 choi4"
(恭喜发财) meaning "congratulations and be prosperous"; additional meanings:
 - good luck, exceeding wealth.
Seeds - lotus seeds, watermelon seeds, etc. - having a large number of children 籽 [zǐ]
Shiitake mushrooms
Shitake mushrooms, since long a symbol of longevity in Asia, they also symbolise sizing opportunities
Photo: ©
Shitake, Black mushroom (冬菇; dōnggū) -longevity,
sizing opportunities
Shrimp (小虾; xiǎoxiā) - happiness and good fortune
Slender Noodle (細粉; xì fě) - see glass noodle
Snowpeas (荷蘭豆; hélándòu) - unity
Spring roll (春卷; chūnjuǎn) - wealth
(the shape represents a gold bar)
Sweet corn (甜玉米; tián yùmǐ) - growth, increase
Sweets, (糖食; tángshí, 糖果;tángguǒ) rice cake
(年糕; nián'gāo) - safety, good fortune and 'sweeten'
Tangyuan ( 湯圓 ,tāngyuán, "round balls in soup"),
sweet dumplings - togetherness, reunion
Tofu, dried (豆腐干; dòufǔgān) - fulfillment of wealth
and happiness, blessing the houses (note: dried tofu is not of white colour)
Tofu, fried (炸豆腐; zhá dòufǔ) - gold, hence wealth
Turnip cake (萝卜糕; luóbo gāo) - good omen
Vegetable, green (绿叶菜; lǜyècài) - close family ties
vegetable/ tofu (dried) - harmony, happiness and prosperity
Walnut (核桃仁; hétàorén) - happiness of the entire family
Water chestnut (荸薺; bíqí) - unity
Winter noodel (冬粉, dōng fěn) - see glass noodle
Yuanxiao, sweet dumpling (元宵; yuánxiāo) - togetherness, reunion

Information Source:

Cantonese-Style Nian Gao

A pair of nian gao fish my mother made this year.
Nian gao is also known as Year cake or Chinese New Year Cake since it is traditionally eaten during this time of year. It is made with glutinous rice and pien tong (Chinese brown sugar bars) which are readily available in Asian supermarkets. It's believed that consuming this sweet sticky treat would bring good luck and fortune for the upcoming year. Growing up in the middle of Newfoundland, I remember my mother going out of her way to make this dessert for me as a child and the fond memories our family created together during the years. I want to share this recipe with everyone and pass along wishes for wealth and happiness! 

Nian Gao

400 G (1 bag, green label) glutinous rice flour, sieved
100 G (1/4 bag, red label) rice flour sieved
4 bars of brown sugar (pien tong)
1 1/2 cup of water

1) In a saucepan, dissolve the 4 bars of brown sugar in the 1 1/2 cups of water over medium heat
once dissolved, let cool

2) In a mixing bowl, sieve the two kinds of rice flour.  Add the cooled sugar water and mix with the flour until a thick batter consistency (thinner than dough, but thicker than cake batter).  If the batter is too thick, add some water to thin it out a bit.

3) In a large pot, add water about half way to avoid boiling dry (and check it every 15 mins or so to make sure it's not dry), and put on high heat

4) pour batter into greased dishes or molds and place in your steamer.  Steam for about an hour-2 until nian gao has taken on a firmer texture.

5) allow to cool and enjoy

Some people like to fry their nian gao, to do so, you cut the cooled nian gao into pieces and dip in beaten egg and fry on medium heat until the egg turns a golden brown.