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Monday, January 23, 2012

Lunar New Year 2012: Fat Goh/Fa Gao/Prosperity Cake

Happy Lunar New Year!

One popular treat eaten during the Lunar New Year is Fat Goh (in Cantonese) or Fa Gao (in Mandarin), which translates to Prosperity Cake. It's basically a type of rice cake that's steamed until it "flowers" or "smiles." People believe a bigger smile means more prosperity and fortune for you throughout the year.
Chinese New Year - Fat Goh or Prosperity Cake
These brightly smiling Fat Goh were made with mixes I found at my local Asian supermarket.
Lunar New Year - Fat Goh/Fa Gao/ Prosperity Cake Mix (White Sugar)
This was the mix for the white Fat Goh, which is made with white sugar. I found that the Fat Goh had a bit of a gritty texture after it was steamed, which I found odd. It was like the sugar did not fully dissolve.
Lunar New Year - Fat Goh/Fa Gao/ Prosperity Cake Mix (Brown Sugar)
Here is the mix for the brown Fat Goh, which uses brown sugar. (Notice the little yellow and red sticker. It's the only difference between the packaging!) I liked the flavor of this one way more than the white Fat Goh, but that's because I love the taste of brown sugar. Thankfully, the brown Fah Goh did not have the strange gritty texture found in the white version.

What I liked about these mixes were that they were simple to make and created Fat Goh that smiled beautifully! (More prosperity and fortune for us!) I've tried several mixes from other companies, but the results weren't as nice (no "smiles," dense texture, etc...) so I thought I'd share with you a brand that I know works so you, too, can have a new year filled with prosperity and fortune! :D

I've tried several times to make Fat Goh from scratch, but have yet to find a good recipe that smiles and has the proper texture. Many recipes online are for Huat Kueh, a Malaysian/Singaporean "smiling" cake. It looks the same but uses wheat flour rather than rice flour. This gives the cake a different texture than the Fat Goh I'm familiar with. If anyone has any recipes for homemade Fat Goh with rice flour or know of any good links to tested recipes, please let me know!

I hope everyone has a fun, prosperous, lucky Year of the Dragon!

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