Mid-Autumn Night’s Dream Plus a Delicious Moon Cake Recipe

     Does anyone know which Chinese holiday is coming around the corner in less than a month? That’s right, it’s the Mid-Autumn Festival! This festival, also known as the mooncake festival, is one of four most important and significant holidays in Chinese culture. It is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth month on the lunar calendar, which is around September or early October on the Gregorian calendar we use here. On this day, we look upwards to admire the beauty of the moon and be thankful for all of things we are fortunate enough to have. This holiday has more to it than just gathering with your family and eating delicious mooncakes, there is a rich history that dates back all the way to the Tang dynasty from 618 to 907 A.D. The legend you are about to read, translated from Chinese, is the story that started it all…

     A long time ago, ten flaming fireballs were in the sky. Fiery heat killed crops and people were suffocated in the warmth. Hou-Yi heroically scaled the mountain and aimed his arrow at the suns. One after another fell, leaving one to provide enough light and warmth to Earth. People honored him by electing him to be king.  Drowned in pride, he occupied his time with drinking and having fun. His wife, Chang-e, begged him to be a better king. But he didn’t listen, busy doing whatever he pleased.  

     On the 15th day of the eighth month (Chinese calendar), an immortal gave Chang-e two tablets of the elixir of life. Taking one would make them immortal, but taking both would make one fly to the moon. Chang-e felt that a bad king should not live forever, so she swallowed both pills, ascending her into the sky. Hou-Yi was devastated, then strived to be the king she wanted him to be, but knew that no matter what happened, nothing would change. He thought of her everytime he looked at the night sky, staring into the brightness of the moon to see Chang-e. She watched over him from her place happy to see his improvements.

     From this story, we have come to honor Chang-e and the moon. In addition to gathering with family to view the moon at its brightest and largest, another popular tradition is to eat mooncakes. Although there are many variations from different places in Asia, the standard and most famous is the Cantonese soft pastry filled with lotus seed paste and salted egg yolk. The roundness of the pastry represents completeness and reunion. Another way to celebrate this custom is by making mooncakes at home with family.  

You can try it too!  Here is an easy and scrumptious mooncake recipe for you to make with your family!

 

Tools

  • Mini mooncake 50g mould from eBay

Ingredients (for 10 mini 50g mooncakes)

 

  • 105g of plain flour
  • 55g of Lyle’s golden syrup
  • 25g of vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp of alkaline water/lye water/potassium carbonate (鹼水) (from local chinese supermarket)
  • 300g of lotus seed paste(蓮蓉)
  • 1 normal egg yolk (for egg wash)
  • 5 salty egg yolk (optional)

Steps

 

  • Mix golden syrup with alkaline water and vegetable oil.
  • Sift plain flour into the mixture and mix them gently (make sure the dough is not over-knead, otherwise the pastry will crack in the oven).
  • Cover the dough with cling film and let it rest for 40 minutes.
  • Divide the lotus seed paste into 10 (30g each) and roll each one into balls (optional: put half of the salty egg yolk in the middle of the lotus ball).
  • Divide the dough into 10 (20g each) and roll them into balls.
  • Pre-heat the oven at 150 degree.
  • Place the dough ball in between 2 pieces of cling film and start rolling it with a rolling pin roughy 10cm diameter.
  • Place the lotus ball in the middle of the pastry, bring the edges of the dough together to cover the fillings and form a mooncake ball.
  • Place the mooncake ball into the mould, turn it around and press it hard against the lined baking tray.
  • Bake them in the oven for 10 mins at 150 degrees.
  • Then brush the mooncakes with egg wash and bake them for another 10 mins at 130 degree.
  • Remove the mooncakes from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack.
  • Store the mooncakes in an air-tight containerfor a day before consume.

Sources: http://www.ntd.tv/2016/11/04/legendary-foundations-chinese-civilization-hou-yi-shoots-nine-suns/

www.monnylam.com/traditional-hello-kitty-mooncakes/

There are 32 comments

  1. Dylan S.

    This is a great article! The story you provided us on the history of why we celebrate this holiday is very interesting, and I learned so much!!

  2. Matthew Lecher

    I loved your article Hitomi. It gave us a great sense of how one could improve, both with their feelings towards a group of people, like in Hou Yi’s case, and also how one could gain back trust for an individual, like in Chang-er’s case. The recipe also sounded quite delicious. I look forward to seeing some more great articles from you in the future!

  3. Juliann L

    Thank you for writing this very informative article on the moon festival. I learned so much about the history of the origins of the moon festival. The photos you added help enhance the visual aspect of the story.

  4. Michael P.

    Hi Hitomi! I loved your article. I thought it was very interesting how you chose to include this version of the Moon Festival story in your article. I happened to like this one the best! I also liked how you included the symbolic meanings behind mooncakes in your article. Congratulations on writing your first article and keep up the good work!

  5. Pritesh P.

    Great Job Hitomi! Your article is really helped me understand the Moon Festival story even better. I thought it was really cool how you added a recipe for moon cakes at the end. Keep up the great work!

  6. Halle Fishman

    Great Article! I learned a lot from all the intricate details that were in the writing. I love how the recipe for moon cake was included.

  7. Kelly Wang

    Thank you for the amazing article! The story that you found on the Mid-Autumn Festival was a unique one that I had not heard before, so it is interesting to see how many different interpretations there are on the story of the woman in the moon.

  8. Avery Porges

    Nice work Hitomi. This article was incredibly informative, and I could totally see myself making a moon cake from your recipe. I really enjoyed reading the in depth history of one of China’s most awesome holidays. Thanks!

  9. Preethi Sridhar

    Wow, what an excellent article! It was very interesting to read about, especially the story about how the moon festival came to be. I also love the incorporation of the recipe for the moon cakes. The pictures helped with the cultural aspects of the Chinese mid autumn festival.

  10. Tiffany C.

    Great job with this article! It was extremely informative and well written. I liked how this legend was different from another one I’ve heard about with the Mid-Autumn Festival. Also, I love how you added a recipe, so people can try to make them at home. I look forward to reading more of your articles soon.

  11. Kelly M.

    Wonderful wording and highly informative! I haven’t heard this version of the story before, but this one makes Cheng-e someone who is thoughtful and did what was best for the people.

  12. Helen Zhang

    Nice article!! I love how you include the steps to make the moon cake. It was really interesting. Keep up the good work!!

  13. Stephanie Cen

    Amazing article ! I’m so excited to try this recipe with my family this weekend! Thanks for sharing the story behind this holiday Hitomi! I’ll make sure to share this with my family the old fashion way.

  14. Nicholas Yum

    Great article, Hitomi! The Mid-Autumn Festival is definitely one of the more interesting Chinese holidays. Also, the recipe sounds really delicious! Great work!

  15. Ashley Silverstein

    Great article! I am very excited to try to follow this recipe and make mooncakes one day! I enjoyed reading about the history behind it and then given the recipe as well!

  16. Jeff Bao

    Great article Hitomi, the stories of the Chinese legends are fascinating and interesting. Can’t wait to try out the recipe for the mooncakes! Thanks!

  17. Caroline Strauss

    This was a very interesting article! The history of the moon festival is very fascinating. This sounds delicious.

  18. Nathan Davis

    Great job. I always found the story of the moon festival very entertaining and enjoyable. I can’t wait to try out this recipe.

  19. Alynah Ratansi

    Wow, what a unique article. Thank you so much for sharing this story, especially what caused this holiday. Very insightful and interesting to read.

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