February 16, 2019

Cow Ear Cookies 牛耳朵餅

Cow Ear Cookie 牛耳朵餅

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By Published: 2019-02-16
This traditional Chinese New Year cookie that has a really good name.  An animal part name...a name that only the Chinese could think of, loving as they so do to name things in a strange ways.  Personally I could think of many other names for a cookie like this that would be as appropriate and definitely more pleasing to the ear (and the stomach!)  Nevertheless the aptly named but strange sounding Cow Ear Cookie 牛耳朵 is a pleasingly pinwheel patterned deliciously savory cookie flavored and colored with the interesting and rather exotic flavor of the Chinese red fermented bean curd 紅腐乳.

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Chinese red fermented bean curd, or 紅腐乳 and also known as 南乳, is bean curd that is fermented with red yeast rice so that the end result is colored a deep rich red.  The taste of the red fermented bean curd is rather like that of regular fermented bean curd (see more about Chinese preserved fermented bean curd 腐乳) but with a more pleasant, sweeter, rounded and much more mellow flavor.  It's quite yummilicious and used in savory pots to add color and depth of flavor.  


Look for the red fermented bean curd in Asian grocery stores in bottles or clay containers.  If you want to get the fresh stuff as we did, ask around for it at your local wet market.

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The dough is a simple dough with a bit of rice flour to make it crispy and a bit of coconut milk for flavor.  Be sure to get rice flour 米粉 and not glutinous rice flour 糯米粉 as they are not interchangeable.

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Once the dough is made it's divided.  A portion of dough is mixed with red fermented bean curd and a bit of five spice powder, giving it its distinct color and savory flavor.  The two doughs are chilled to firm up, then rolled out separately.

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The doughs are then placed one on top of the other and rolled up. 

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Overnight in the fridge to firm up enough to slice.  Ain't that just lovely?  The pinwheel pattern looks so cool when the slicing starts!  

And here's a handy tip that I've picked up recently and wish I had known to use then:  To avoid a flatten side in your roll (see above photo) stick your wrapped rolled up dough ends up in one or two tall drinking glasses before putting in the fridge.  After chilling the dough will still have a perfectly round shape when you slice it the next day.

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The traditional way of cooking these Cow Ear Cookies is to deep fry them.  It's a quick and easy fry, once they're golden on both sides they come to drain on kitchen paper.  If, however, you don't want to fry them, just stick 'em in the oven and bake til golden.

Delicate swirls of crunchy uniquely flavored savory cookies...shaped just like cow ears!  Hope you enjoy our cookies and have a Happy Chinese New Year!   Pssst...check out our yummiliciously sweet (instead of savory) baked version of Cow Ear Cookies!

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Cow Ear Cookies Recipe  牛耳朵
(makes approx 35 cookies)  Prep time: Cooking time:

Ingredients 

1 cup flour, 120g
1/2 cup rice flour 米粉, 75g
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp butter or lard, room temperature, 28g
1 tbsp sugar, 12g
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup coconut milk, 125 ml
3 tsp red fermented bean curd 紅腐乳 (also known as 南乳)
1/2 tsp five spice powder

Directions:
Stir together flour, rice flour, salt and baking soda.  Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolks, one at a time.  Add coconut milk and beat at low speed until incorporated and dough is formed.  If sticky add more flour in 1 tbsp at a time until the dough does not stick to the sides of bowl anymore.  Separate this basic dough into 1/3 & 2/3 portions.  Add red fermented bean curd and five spice powder to the 1/3 portion and knead gently until incorporated.  If dough becomes too sticky add 1 tbsp flour.  Cover both doughs separately with cling wrap and let chill in fridge for 30 mins.

Generously sprinkle working surface with flour and roll out both doughs separately to 5" by 9" rectangles.  Place the red dough on top of the basic dough.  Roll up the dough tightly lengthwise.  Wrap dough in cling wrap and chill overnight or until the dough in very firm.  Slice into 1/8 thin slices.  (The thinner you slice, the crispier the cookie!)

In a small pot add 2" of oil and heat over medium heat.  Drop in a few cookies at a time and let cook until golden and then flip over and repeat.  Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and place on to kitchen paper to absorb extra oil.  Repeat until all cookies are fried.  Eat immediately or store in an air tight container for up to a week.

Or if you don't want to deep fry the cookies: heat oven to 350°F, prepare baking sheets with parchment paper, bake cookies for 8-10 mins or until golden brown.  Enjoy!


More Traditional Chinese Cookies at The Hong Kong Cookery:

almond, chinese, Chinese Almond Cookies, cookies, recipe, 杏仁, 杏仁餅乾, 餅乾Chinese Almond Cookies 杏仁餅乾

 almond, Almond Cookie, chinese, cookie, festival, Macanese, macau, mid autumn festival, pressed, recipe, traditional, wooden mold, 杏仁餅, 澳門Macau Almond Cookie 澳門杏仁餅

Balls, chinese, cookie, Laughing, laughing cookie, recipe, sesame, Smiling, smiling cookie, 笑口棗Chinese Smiling Sesame Cookie Balls 笑口棗

chinese, cookies, crispy cookies, Date Filling, recipe, rice flour, traditional, wooden mold, 炒米餅, 紅棗泥Chinese Rice Flour Cookies with Date Filling 紅棗泥炒米餅

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