For weeks leading up to the Mid-Autumn festival every year, mooncakes and festival snacks abound. Many of these products were produced weeks ago and imported from places across the globe. If you’re living in the United States, finding fresh products to celebrate this year’s Mid-Autumn festival can be very difficult. Whether you’re celebrating with family and friends, or just looking for some good, traditional Chinese fare, stick around for some Mid-Autumn recipes and tips.
Traditionally celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese calendar, the Mid-Autumn Festival is a major holiday across China, Taiwan and Vietnam and is rife with traditions and history. As could be expected, food plays a major role in this autumn holiday.
One of the most visible and traditional Mid-Autumn recipes on display is often the mooncake. While many varieties exist, traditional mooncakes have a soft outside crust with a sweet, dense filling in the center. Other foods that are enjoyed during this time are things like pumpkin and taro to bring good health and good luck respectively. Other foods include wine with osmanthus flower and river snails, each of these are also tied to lore bringing happiness and bright eyes to those who consume them during the festival.
Making mooncakes along with other Mid-Autumn recipes can be quite a challenge without access to traditional ingredients or mixes. In order to easily make this recipe, stopping by an Asian grocery will help speed up the process. Try to pick up ingredients like golden syrup, alkaline water, melon seeds, along with whatever fillings you’re considering for your traditional mooncakes. Another thing that should be picked up at any Asian market is a mooncake mould. They come in a variety of shapes and designs, so pick a few that could add a pleasant variety to your display.
Once you have picked up your ingredients, it’s time to make the filling and dough. For the filling to do ratio, consider this ratio 7 parts filling: 3 parts dough. That should give you an idea of how much to make when planning different types of filling.
Filling (feel free to make your own variations):
- 14 oz. (400g Package) Lotus Seed Paste
- 1.5 oz. (around 40g) Melon Seeds
- 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 / 2 Tsp Alkaline Water
- 5 Tsp Vegetable Oil
- 5 Tbsp Golden Syrup
To make the dough, first mix together the alkaline water with syrup. Stir in the oil and mix until they are completely blended. In a separate bowl, add the flour and make a well where you will stir in the syrup mixture. Mix the dough until it forms a loose dough. From there, knead and shape the dough into a round ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Let this dough refrigerate for at least two hours.
While the dough is resting, mix together the lotus seed paste and the melon seeds. Separate the mixture into two tablespoon portions and shape into balls. Set the balls of filling aside for later.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Divide the dough into.5oz portions and shape into a ball. Roll each ball into a small disc with some flour about two inches in diameter. Place a ball of filling in the center of the dough and shape into a ball and dust well with flour. Add the ball to the mould and press out the mooncake. Add to a baking sheet. Spray them lightly with water to prevent cracking and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them stand on the baking sheet for ten minutes before moving them. Make a quick egg wash and cover the mooncakes before returning them to the oven for another 15 minutes. Remove the mooncakes and let them cool.
While other traditional foods exist, there are no more quintessential Mid-Autumn recipes than the mooncake. Grab some traditional food and some friends and give thanks during this year’s festival. Impress your friends, coworkers and family by trying out some traditional Mid-Autumn recipes today! No matter where you are during the Mid-Autumn Festival, be sure to look up at the moon and think of those who are far and be thankful for all those you have near.