Nian Gao cake is a gorgeous glutinous health-conscious Chinese New Year rice snack. Eat it with fresh grated coconut or in a yam or sweet potato sandwich, deep fried. It's sticky & sweet to seal up the mouth of the tittle-tattle Kitchen God. This is my Mom's recipe using her mom's own caramel recipe. At Chaya teahouse we're pairing it with intenser, darker oolongs & Chinese fruits. We wish everyone 'Nian Nian Gao Sheng': Increasing Prosperity Every Passing Year!
Great things come from accidental discoveries, penicillin, champagne & now my own new v modest addition. Chinese character for 'vinegar' combines 3 characters for 'wine', '21' & 'days': wine that's been left to go off for 21 days! How I 'discovered' Emperor's Golden Monkey and found it was surprisingly delicious! Red tea is really 'black' and black tea is actually 'red' - an accident of history, or a misunderstanding. Emperor's Golden Monkey tea liquor is red/mahogany, tastes malty, earthy, caramel, marmalade & sweet longan.
Nine of us gathered with our own tea-sets in a silent & serene tea-sharing circle round the Kyoto Garden's stunning lake. I spent a restorative, meditative 45 min at Holland Park enjoying a simple ritual of sharing tea with eight amazing people! Rain stayed away and the sun came out for last Sunday's 1st open-air medTEAtation in beautiful Kyoto Garden Holland Park! The ducks, squirrels and tourists were curious & bemused as we sat in the park to brew our teas for medTEAtation. Holland Park medTEAtation went so smoothly, all were delighted, & we came back to Chaya Teahouse for more tea & chitchat.
Tea since Ming era integral to weddings: bride & groom 'respectfully offer tea' to guests/elders & perform 3 symbolic tea rituals ('sancha'). Bride & groom eat date/lotusseed soup in setting-tea ritual to 'stick together' their hearts & drink 'hehuan cha' for life of conjugal bliss. On 3rd day of marriage new couple serve tea to wife's parents & receive gifts including a cockerel and hen as pets (plus tea & jewellery!) Candied winter melon, candied persimmon or dried longans signify sweet, mellifluous marriage & red fruits are auspicious at weddings. Dropped teacups at wedding are very inauspicious. Good matchmaker immediately says luo di kai hua (hit the ground and blossom) to make it ok!
Yuan-Yang tea-coffee is the 'Mandarin duck' of Hong Kong beverages, i.e. a solid tho unlikely pairing! Mandarin Ducks symbolise conjugal affection & fidelity & the name's bn gvn 2 this tea-coffee-combo concoction! HongKongers appreciate the oomph of Yuan-Yang tea-coffee. I tried it out in Birmingham! Yang (warming) coffee mixed with Yin (cooling) creamy is a delicious HongKong drink: here's the recipe! I'm intrigued by Yuan-Yang, complex, nuanced, East-West fusion of tea and coffee!
A heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped us inaugurate chaya teahouse this weekend, after such a long gestation period! Here is a review by tea lover Erin in yelp.co.uk. And here are a few of the pictures.
4 Nourishing brews to tide over this persistent winter chills. The Oolong Sweet Potato Congee with light oolong tea that is colourful and packed full of vitamins A and C. Roasted Rice Cha that is nutritious and very warming to the body. The Onion, Carrot, Potato and White Pepper Soup is a delectable peppery soup which sweet onions and carrots that is perfect with rice. Black Glutinous Rice with Matcha Coconut Milk Black that isbelieved to build up blood and strengthen the heart.
The festival of La Ba where a sweet congee is prepared to usher in the Chinese new year. The Koreans also has a similar dish made with 8 ingredients eaten around 3 weeks to the new year. Includes recipes for a sweet and savoury La Ba congee. The La Ba congee can nourish the spleen, enhance qi energy, clear the lungs and eyes and has calming, restorative effects.
Matching tea with the various moon cakes - a delicacy of the much celebrated Mid-Autumn festival. Includes a recipe for traditional moon cakes with red bean paste. And Win a Tea Appreciation Master Class by answering 3 lantern riddles!