As a frugal college student living in a dorm, celebrating Chinese New Year’s is often difficult. With only a microwave and a sketchy oven, making delicious snacks and food is extremely difficult so I often choose to go out and eat Asian food. With the 13% Chicago food tax, however, eating out is just way to expensive.
This year, instead of making the treck down to Chinatown, I decided to make a few of my favorite chinese snacks in my room. Although these recipes require only the use of a microwave and/or a stove they are quite delicious.
Microwave Egg Custards:
1/2 cup boiling water (or milk for a richer custard)
1 tbsp sugar
1. Beat eggs
2. Add boiling water while continuing to beat the eggs slowly.
3. Add sugar
4. Microwave on high for 1 minute or until the custard begins to rise.
Peanut Butter Satay Noodles*
This is an easy delicious noodle dish my mom used to make for me as a snack. However, by adding some chicken (or meat of your choice) and fresh cucumber, this dish would be perfect as lunch or dinner. The best part? Minimal cooking required.
2 cups cooked udon noodles
2 – tbsp peanut butter
1.5 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp warm water
1 tsp honey
1 tsp chopped basil (optional)
1. Stir the peanut butter and soy sauce together into a thick paste.
2. Mix-in the warm water, honey and basil and stir until thoroughly combined. The mixture should now be a sauce like texture, if it is too thick, add more warm water/soy sauce (depending on how salty you want it). If the sauce is too thin, add more peanut butter
3. Pour the sauce over the noodles and mix well. Add salt to taste.
* There is currently a peanut butter recall, so make sure the peanut butter you are using is safe. I use Peanut Butter & Co’s crunch peanut
Even though this type of mochi is japanese, rather than Chinese ‘nian gao’, it is delicious and one of my favorite late night snacks. In college I mix peanut butter and raisins into it, however, at home I make little red bean filled mochi balls. The recipe calls for glutinous rice flour, I’ve bought many brands in the past, however, my favorite is definately the Erawan Brand flour in a clear bag with green letters. You can usually find it in any Asian market.
2 cups glutinous rice flour
2 cups warm water
Up to 1/2 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
1 cup of mix-ins like peanut butter, raisins, red bean etc.
1. In a very large microwavable bowl, stir the flour, water and sugar together until combined. I recommend a glass bowl or a heavy duty plastic bowl.
2. Cover the mixture with a microwavable lid
2. Microwave for 9 minutes. 3 minutes on high, 3 minutes on medium, 3 minutes on low.
3. Take off the lid and let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.
4. Stir in your mix-ins, or make small balls of mochi and stuff them with the mix-ins.