September 15, 2014

Five Nuts Mooncake Part I 五仁月餅

Five Nuts Mooncake Part I 五仁月餅

Five Nuts Mooncake, five kernel mooncake, 五仁月餅, recipe, mid autumn festival, cooked glutinous rice flour, 糕粉, chinese olive seed, 欖仁, Chinese candied citrus, 桔餅, homemade golden syrup
By Published: 2014-09-15
Okay, so first off, I know this post is kinda late.  No, no, you're right, it's not kinda, it's totally late!  (And I apologize.)  Mid Autumn Festival is over and done with, lanterns are doused, etc., but, darn it all, I'm going to post this traditional Chinese Five Nut Mooncake 五仁月饼 recipe anyway.  I think I have a couple of pretty good excuses for my lateness, the first being that this wonderful, amazing, fragrant to the heavens, nuttily delicious, soul gripping Five Nuts Mooncake was a b***h to make and the second being that it took us forever to source some of the really traditional ingredients that are supposed to be in the Five Nuts Mooncake.

Five Nuts Mooncake, five kernel mooncake, 五仁月餅, recipe, mid autumn festival, cooked glutinous rice flour, 糕粉, chinese olive seed, 欖仁, Chinese candied citrus, 桔餅,  homemade golden syrup

The name for this mooncake is rather literal, Five Nuts meaning that you have five nuts or seeds in your mooncake.  We wanted to do as traditional a style as possible so naturally included the olive seed (also known as Terminalia seed), or 欖仁, which it turns out is really, really, really hard to find these days.  (Well, at least for us.)  We asked at the wet market, we asked the chinese bakeries, we asked random people on the street.  (Joking that last one!) They all said no, they didn't carry this seed, but...maybe so and so on such and such street had it maybe.  So we went here and we went there, all of this in the extra hot and scorching weather we've been having recently.  Buckets of sweat to no avail.  Finally, finally, one day I picked up my girl after school and rushed her all the way over to Hong Kong 's famous Dried Seafood Street, or 海味街, and proceeded to trek up and down the street, once again hunting the elusive olive seed for my Five Nuts Mooncake.  No, no, and no again.  I was beginning to despair!  One last shop I thought and randomly asked a sullen, bored looking young sales man if they had olive seed.  Yes?!  Did he just say yes?!  Amazingly, I had finally found it!  Yippee ya yeah!  But boy was it expensive!  The shop manager explained that the olive seed is rare nowadays (yeah, I guessed that!) due to dwindling demand and so therefore also quite pricey.

Five Nuts Mooncake, five kernel mooncake, 五仁月餅, recipe, mid autumn festival, cooked glutinous rice flour, 糕粉, chinese olive seed, 欖仁, Chinese candied citrus, 桔餅,  homemade golden syrup
The elusive olive seed, or 欖仁: Ain't it a beauty?
All that trouble, so what does the seed taste like?  Light, almondy taste, soft textured, delicate and oily.  Nothing super attention grabbing, a subtle, sophisticated taste.  This olive seed is also used to top off a spectacular dish from my 老公's home town of Shunde, Guangdong 順德廣東, the amazing Stir Fried Milk, or 大良炒牛奶.  A delightful dish of contradictions!  (Humm...must remember to somehow deviously manipulate my 老公 to make this classic chinese dish again for us soon.)

Five Nuts Mooncake, five kernel mooncake, 五仁月餅, recipe, mid autumn festival, cooked glutinous rice flour, 糕粉, chinese olive seed, 欖仁, Chinese candied citrus, 桔餅,  homemade golden syrup

But, getting back to our mooncake adventure, the other traditional ingredient that was hard to find was the Chinese Candied Citrus, or 桔餅.  Again, we asked everywhere, only to be met with blank stares.  Finally, a friendly shop lady at the wet market decided to help us out and directed us to the Chinese pharmacy shop where all the many varied exotic and non exotic dried ingredients used in Chinese medicine can be weighed out on bronze scales and bought.  I would have never guessed in a hundred years to ask there!  Turns out Chinese Candied Citrus is used as a medicinal ingredient, useful to soothe the lungs and stomach and helpful for that persistent cough.  On closer inspection it is a whole orange that's been smashed flat, pickled in lime, cooked and then completely candy coated and preserved with sugar.  It smells absolutely divine, like walking through an orange grove, just perks you right up and is very concentrated in taste. ( I'm excited to try to make some soothing teas with the leftover candied citrus!)

Five Nuts Mooncake, five kernel mooncake, 五仁月餅, recipe, mid autumn festival, cooked glutinous rice flour, 糕粉, chinese olive seed, 欖仁, Chinese candied citrus, 桔餅,  homemade golden syrup
Candied Winter Melon
Five Nuts Mooncake, five kernel mooncake, 五仁月餅, recipe, mid autumn festival, cooked glutinous rice flour, 糕粉, chinese olive seed, 欖仁, Chinese candied citrus, 桔餅,  homemade golden syrup
Chinese Jinhua Ham
Two other not so hard to find but rather odd ingredients in the Five Nuts Mooncake is the Candied Winter Melon and the Chinese Jinhua Ham.  You wouldn't think that all these disparate ingredients could come together so harmoniously.  Hah, but that's exactly where our ancestors have one over us modern "always on the go" people.  They had all the time in the world to slowly figure out things about food, about all the real textures and flavors!

Five Nuts Mooncake, five kernel mooncake, 五仁月餅, recipe, mid autumn festival, cooked glutinous rice flour, 糕粉, chinese olive seed, 欖仁, Chinese candied citrus, 桔餅,  homemade golden syrup
Cooking Glutinous Rice Flour
Five Nuts Mooncake, five kernel mooncake, 五仁月餅, recipe, mid autumn festival, cooked glutinous rice flour, 糕粉, chinese olive seed, 欖仁, Chinese candied citrus, 桔餅,  homemade golden syrup
Making Golden Syrup
Okay, so that's half of my lateness excuse.  Here's the other half, the half all about 'holy s**t! but that was a lot of work but so worth it!'  This demandy-pants Five Nuts Mooncake needed two items that I couldn't find at all in Hong Kong!  So I had to make 'em.  The first thing on the 'make it yourself' list was Cooked Glutinous Rice Flour (Kao Fen), or 糕粉.  It was really freaking me out hilarious to steam the flour for such a long time and then to stir fry it and stir fry it and...it looked almost exactly the same as when I started!  Seriously, tho, it does become very slightly tan colored and you need to use your nose to check for a lovely toasty smell.

The other ingredient is Golden Syrup, or 糖漿, which you need to make the mooncake skins.  This is basically an amber colored invert sugar, and it gives the mooncake skin extra yummy flavor and color and also acts as a preservative.  You basically have to cook down sugar and water with a bit of lemon at really low heat for a long time until nice, thick and syrupy.  (Or some folks could just get it here if you're in amazon territory.)

Five Nuts Mooncake, five kernel mooncake, 五仁月餅, recipe, mid autumn festival, cooked glutinous rice flour, 糕粉, chinese olive seed, 欖仁, Chinese candied citrus, 桔餅,  homemade golden syrup

So there I was the whole weekend, slaving away all by myself in our tiny kitchen, emulating my ancestors (who cleverly probably had a whole pack of ladies gathered together to share in their mooncake tasks.)  But I digress.  With my glutinous rice flour steaming and my Golden Syrup bubbling, I began to toast and chop my lovingly gathered nuts and seeds.  You're probably thinking, just throw 'em in the oven, right?  Well, I've done that and blackened ruined many a batch of nuts.  So I toasted on my handy cast iron pan .  One nut at a time.  It was interesting to see how each nut reacted to the heat, some by browning and others by popping.  Then the house started to smell absolutely heavenly, freshly toasted nuts are seriously a thing to die for!  (We nuttily stuffed ourselves at this point, naturally.)  

And then there was the chopping.  Of everything.  Ugh... my shoulder was sore for a day and a half afterwards!  But you gotta get the ingredients to a small even size so that they ball up nice and look absolutely fabulous inside the mooncake.  So, chop, chop, chop.  And chop, chop chop...etc...sigh...

Five Nuts Mooncake, five kernel mooncake, 五仁月餅, recipe, mid autumn festival, cooked glutinous rice flour, 糕粉, chinese olive seed, 欖仁, Chinese candied citrus, 桔餅,  homemade golden syrup
Chopped Nuts and Seeds
Five Nuts Mooncake, five kernel mooncake, 五仁月餅, recipe, mid autumn festival, cooked glutinous rice flour, 糕粉, chinese olive seed, 欖仁, Chinese candied citrus, 桔餅,  homemade golden syrup
Chopped Winter Melon, Candied Citrus
Okay, almost ready to make the actual mooncake!  (Finally!)  I've cut this into two posts (too long!) so I'm posting the recipes for Cooked Glutinous Rice Flour and Homemade Golden Syrup on this page and click here for the rest of the post, Five Nuts Mooncake Part II, also know as Mooncake Assembly Time!

Five Nuts Mooncake, five kernel mooncake, 五仁月餅, recipe, mid autumn festival, cooked glutinous rice flour, 糕粉, chinese olive seed, 欖仁, Chinese candied citrus, 桔餅,  homemade golden syrup

Cooked Glutinous Rice Flour (Kao Fen) Recipe  糕粉

Ingredients

2 cups glutinous rice flour (200g) (not rice flour, make sure it's glutinous rice flour)

Directions:

Pour flour into a shallow dish, spread flat evenly and place in steamer over boiling water.  You don't want condensation to drip onto the flour so what I do is, using a bamboo steamer, stick a chopstick under the lid on one side to prop up while steaming.  Condensation should drip down to side of the pot.  Steam for 1/2 hour over medium heat.

Stir fry the glutinous rice flour  in wok continuously over medium high heat for 10-15 minutes or until the flour turns slightly tan and emits a wonderful ricey toasty aroma.

Homemade Golden Syrup Recipe  糖漿

Ingredients

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp water
2 slice lemon


Directions:

Put sugar, water and lemon into small pot and heat over low, stirring a bit until the sugar melts.  Once sugar is completely melted, don't stir anymore.  Cook over low heat, uncovered, until a candy thermometer reaches 230 F (110 C).  Cooking time around 15- 20 mins.  It should be a consistency like runny honey.  Remove from heat and let cool.

Tip:  If you end up with really hard syrup after if cools (like I did!)  just add a bit and water and reheat up in the pot until you get the right consistency.

Tip:  Don't throw those lemon slices away!  You've unknowingly just made lemon candy!  Yummy...

Go to Five Nuts Mooncake Part II for the rest of the Five Nuts Mooncake recipe!


More Merry Mooncake Madness at The Hong Kong Cookery:


make your own mooncake recipeDouble Yolked White Lotus Paste Mooncake 雙黃白蓮蓉月餅

hong kong mooncake moldHong Kong Mooncake Molds 月餅模具

mooncake food toyMid Autumn Festival- A Very Cute Mooncake

chinese mid autumn street festivalMid Autumn Festival- Chinese Lanterns, Mooncakes and Street Festivities

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2 comments:

  1. If we do not have a wok to fry the glutinous rice flour is using a saute pan okay?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Probably better to use a pan with deeper sides to prevent the rice flour getting all over as you stir it. You could use a saute pan if you're real careful. ~ellen

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