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Manjiu gor (Foochow Manchurian peanut cake)

This recipe is via Mildred’s aunt Ursula, and it’s made by very few Foochow families these days. It’s a traditional steamed cake that is usually served at the end of old-fashioned wedding banquets and Chinese New Year. The combination of powdered sugar and fried shallots may seem odd, but we’re certain you’ll be reaching for seconds. Read more about manjiu gor and how Mildred’s grandfather ‘lured’ his son-in-law with plates of these cakes.

Manjiu gor (Foochow Manchurian peanut cake)

by Mildred Voon

This recipe is via Mildred’s aunt Ursula, and it’s made by very few Foochow families these days. It’s a traditional steamed cake that is usually served at the end of old-fashioned wedding banquets and Chinese New Year. The combination of powdered sugar and fried shallots may seem odd, but we’re certain you’ll be reaching for seconds. Read more about manjiu gor and how Mildred’s grandfather ‘lured’ his son-in-law with plates of these cakes.

Servings: 12

Prep time: A project

Servings: 12

Prep time: A project

30g red dates (dry weight)

200g peanuts (weight with skins on)

20g sesame seeds

120g shallots (weight with skins on)

200ml vegetable cooking oil (sunflower oil preferable)

300g all-purpose flour

100g icing sugar

1 tsp salt

120ml water

  1. Soak the dates in water for at least 4 hours. Remove the seeds, then chop the dates into small pieces. Set aside.
  2. Bake the peanuts in an oven or air fryer at 180°C for 20-25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Once toasted, let cool before removing the skins. Crush lightly with a mortar and pestle to get differently-sized crumbs, no larger than half a peanut. Set aside.
  3. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium-low heat until they become light- to medium-brown. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.
  4. Peel the shallots and wash them. Slice the shallots thinly (about 2mm thick). Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over medium heat. The oil will be hot enough when it bubbles around a small piece of sliced shallot. Turn down the heat to a low flame, then tip the rest of the sliced shallots in. Fry the shallots gently for about 15-18 minutes, stirring often.
  5. Once it reaches a medium-brown colour, turn off the flame and continue stirring the shallots in the wok until the slices are crisp and dark brown. This will take another 1-2 minutes. Lift the fried shallots from the oil and set aside in a separate bowl to cool. Leave the oil in the wok to cool as well, about 20-30 minutes.
  6. When the oil in the wok is cool, stir in the chopped dates, baked peanuts, fried shallots, icing sugar, salt, and water. Mix until fully combined; it should resemble oily cookie batter.
  7. Fill the bottom bowl of a steamer pot with water and set to boil over high heat.
  8. In the meantime, line a loaf tin with baking paper. Fill the tin with the mixture from the wok as evenly as possible.
  9. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top. Place another sheet of baking paper on top and press the mixture down with fingers or the smooth bottom of a drinking glass or measuring cup to compact the mixture.
  10. When the water in the steamer begins to boil, set the loaf tin into the upper layer of the steamer pot and cover. Turn the heat down to medium and steam the cake for 20 minutes.
  11. After the cake is steamed, remove it from the steamer and set aside to cool for about an hour before slicing and serving.

Tips

  • Mildred’s late grandfather used a mixture of pork lard and vegetable oil. While the family doesn’t have the exact measurements, they have experimented with a 1:5 ratio of lard to oil, or 20%.
See more:  a project, cake, foochow, peanut

Ingredients

30g red dates (dry weight)

200g peanuts (weight with skins on)

20g sesame seeds

120g shallots (weight with skins on)

200ml vegetable cooking oil (sunflower oil preferable)

300g all-purpose flour

100g icing sugar

1 tsp salt

120ml water

Directions

  1. Soak the dates in water for at least 4 hours. Remove the seeds, then chop the dates into small pieces. Set aside.
  2. Bake the peanuts in an oven or air fryer at 180°C for 20-25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Once toasted, let cool before removing the skins. Crush lightly with a mortar and pestle to get differently-sized crumbs, no larger than half a peanut. Set aside.
  3. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium-low heat until they become light- to medium-brown. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.
  4. Peel the shallots and wash them. Slice the shallots thinly (about 2mm thick). Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over medium heat. The oil will be hot enough when it bubbles around a small piece of sliced shallot. Turn down the heat to a low flame, then tip the rest of the sliced shallots in. Fry the shallots gently for about 15-18 minutes, stirring often.
  5. Once it reaches a medium-brown colour, turn off the flame and continue stirring the shallots in the wok until the slices are crisp and dark brown. This will take another 1-2 minutes. Lift the fried shallots from the oil and set aside in a separate bowl to cool. Leave the oil in the wok to cool as well, about 20-30 minutes.
  6. When the oil in the wok is cool, stir in the chopped dates, baked peanuts, fried shallots, icing sugar, salt, and water. Mix until fully combined; it should resemble oily cookie batter.
  7. Fill the bottom bowl of a steamer pot with water and set to boil over high heat.
  8. In the meantime, line a loaf tin with baking paper. Fill the tin with the mixture from the wok as evenly as possible.
  9. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top. Place another sheet of baking paper on top and press the mixture down with fingers or the smooth bottom of a drinking glass or measuring cup to compact the mixture.
  10. When the water in the steamer begins to boil, set the loaf tin into the upper layer of the steamer pot and cover. Turn the heat down to medium and steam the cake for 20 minutes.
  11. After the cake is steamed, remove it from the steamer and set aside to cool for about an hour before slicing and serving.

Tips

  • Mildred’s late grandfather used a mixture of pork lard and vegetable oil. While the family doesn’t have the exact measurements, they have experimented with a 1:5 ratio of lard to oil, or 20%.
See more:  a project, cake, foochow, peanut

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© Copyright Periuk 2021