<p>So Many Choices, So Little Time!<br></p>

So Many Choices, So Little Time!

Chinese New Year Pudding Cake  (nian/nin gao)

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nuttygrrl  nuttygrrl  | draft

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Kung Hei Fat Choy !

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In between visiting family and collecting lai see packets of good luck, eating is the common activity. The traditional foods that are eaten at this time of year consists of every type of meat; pork, chicken, beef or duck, lots of seafood including abalone and crab, along with snacks like hard-boiled candies, sugared nuts and lotus, or fried dough snacks such as sesame balls or egg rolls.

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The one customary food item that is seen during this time is the rice pudding cake aka: nian/nin gao, a steamed rice cake sweetened either with the traditional ingredient of red dates/jujubes, brown sugar blocks–unrefined cane sugar that contains molasses–or sweetened coconut milk.

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*Macro

GR

RR

Protein (g)

2

6

Fat (g)

0.3

1.4

Carbohydrates (g)

33

80

The main ingredient for this pudding cake is rice flour. Sweet rice or sticky rice can also be called “glutinous rice” because of the negligible content of amylose (densely packed glucose molecules) and a high content of digestible types of starch, amylopectin, which causes the rice to be sticky when cooked. When mixed with a liquid and sweetened this concoction is transformed into the Southern Chinese favourite rice pudding cake that represents a sticky, sweet beginning for the new year. Glutinous rice flour (GR) is not much different than regular rice flour (RR) for the macronutrients* of protein, fat or carbohydrates.

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However, if you’re busy visiting a lot of family then 2, 3, or even 5 servings of nin gao are eaten within 1, 2 days… a week, the numbers add up! This number doesn’t include the nutrients attributed to the additional sugars added whether it is sweetened from dates or coconut milk! Of course, big differences are found in fat, carbohydrate, and sugar content when the “sweet” ingredient are dates, 0.2 g fat, 75 g CHO, 66 g sugar compare to sweetened coconut milk, 21 g, 101 g, and 97 g, respectively. That’s a difference of 26g carbohydrates and 31g sugar. To compare, a packet of sugar is the equivalent to a cube of sugar or a teaspoon is 4 g. Therefore, a pudding cake made with sweetened coconut milk is equivalent to eating eight packets of more sugar than eating a cake sweetened with only red dates/jujubes.

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Don’t forget, this doesn’t include fat when served fried with butter or sugar content from the dried coconut flakes used in some of the modern pudding cake recipes!

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Number counting is not my forte, as I am neither in finance nor accounting. The overall message is while indulging in some traditional CNY sweets during the festive parties is a must –don’t forget there are also all of the wonderful food offerings of roasted meats, poached chicken or steamed fish and abalone in XO sauce. Eating a variety of CNY dishes is essential; to not only respect your elders’ hospitality, but also to fulfill the recommended dietary intakes of all those vitamins and minerals.

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So many choices, so little time!!!

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*based on 100 g serving size = 3.5 ounces

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nuttygrrl

nuttygrrl

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