Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Lunar New Year "Happiness" Drink

I love Chinese New Year. It is a time which inspires us to cook with "auspicious meaning" in mind, usually involving food with similar sounding words that convey good wishes or messages.

For instance, the word Fatt Choy widely meaning 'prosperity wish' in Cantonese closely resembles the word Black Moss (also Fatt Choy) in the same language. For this reason, many Chinese include Fatt Choy into their New Year menu.

In our family, it is no different. On the first day of Chinese new Year, Tua Soh (eldest sister-in-law) prepares the "Happiness Drink" for our household. It is a sweet concoction of typical auspicious Chinese ingredients like the Pak Hup which is noted for unity, lotus seeds for fruitfulness, gingko nuts for wealth and so forth. The sweetness of the drink makes it a pleasant experience that keeps us happy. This is the message that it carries.

I share the recipe below, courtesy of Tua Soh. There are no quantifiable measurements for this recipe. You're free to follow your heart ~ the key is simply that it must be sweet and every cup served should contain at least one of each ingredient.

Happiness Drink

- Dried Lotus Seeds
- Gingko Nuts
- Pak Hup (Dried Magnolia Petals)
- Honey Dates
- Dried Longans
- Dried Red Dates (Cut in half and seeded)
- Cane sugar (To taste)

1. Boil dried lotus seeds, gingko nuts and pak hup together until tender. Then, drain away the water. We don't use this water because it is bitter. Leave aside.

2. Boil honey dates in sugared water, drain and leave aside.

3. To make the longan soup, boil dried longans with water (enough to serve the number of people required) for 3-4 minutes in a large pot. Add red dates and cane sugar. This will be the base of the drink because of the fragrant smell.

4. To serve, combine longan soup with ingredients from 1. and 2.

Pot of fragrant goodness

Yummy Honey Dates

I hope you enjoy this drink as much as I do.
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