Every single first day of Chinese New Year (大年初一) is the biggest occasion in our family. That is also the only day my parents get a rest from their work. As I was growing up as a student, my parents were hawkers and they worked every single day. The only day they took a rest was this day.
For breakfast, dad will always make this Chinese New Year glutinous rice cake in pan cake batter. Every single year. Eating this cake (年糕) is auspicious and is supposed to bring us good luck for the rest of the lunar year. It means improving every year, or a common saying, 年年高升。It bears great connotation, that students will be reach for higher and working adults will get a promotion.
When my dad was alive, I dreaded eating this, because I felt it was too fattening, bad for digestion…. blah blah blah. But now, I appreciate his consistency in doing so. It became a tradition in our family. Traditions are wonderful. They bring back great memories and are something we want to pass to our children, and their children.
So here’s my dad’s recipe. He didn’t tell me how to do it. I derived it by recalling how he did it, how he used to pour self-raising flour into a deep bowl of beaten eggs, with some salt and stirred with a pair of chopsticks.
Today, my son and I discussed and he thought it better to cut the cake thinner, and make the batter runnier. I hope he will pass the tradition on. It is great to belong to one great family.
1 Chinese New Year Cake (I like the soft ones, and the not-so-sweet ones)
1 cup self-raising flour
2 eggs (I used 3 egg whites and 1 egg yolk today because I had extra egg whites)
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
Milk (optional, and as much as you like the consistency)
- In a bowl, crack the eggs and beat.
- Add the salt and flour and stir in one direction until well mixed, with no lumps.
- Add the 1/4 cup of milk.
- Cut the cake into thin slices of not more than 5 mm thick, and square pieces.
- Dip the cakes into the batter and fry at medium fire for about 2 minutes or until golden brown. Turn over and fry till golden brown.
- Optionally, sprinkle demerara sugar over the cakes.