I vouched that I never liked this traditional moon cake when I was a kid. It bound to appear every year in my house and I never touched it. It is usually very oily and full of gao fen (糕粉) or cooked glutinous rice flour) flavour. It is quite tasteless and with very miserable fillings or no fillings at all. Of course when I grew up, I never made an attempt to buy it and it has also become not common. I hardly seen this traditional Teochew moon cake being sold in the annual moon cake fair as the moon cake fair was flooded with Cantonese baked moon cake and snow skin moon cake with lots of exotic flavour..
I presumed many readers of my age group may have the same view for this moon cake, oily and sweet and out dated. They are purchased for the praying ceremony and this may cause its gradual disappearance in the moon cake market. I told my friends that when our generation has passed on, I doubt if any younger generation will buy this and if there is no new packaging and development of new flavour.
I have totally forgotten about this moon cake but I remember readers have asked me this niche Teochew moon cake recipe that even trendy Teochew do not know existence of such moon cake. Of course, they are from my generation and they missed their childhood moon cake and not able to buy anywhere. Actually, this Teochew moon cake can still be bought in Singapore and Malaysia but you must know where is it being sold. Whether or not it is delicious I am not able to tell you as I have not purchase before.
The name of this moon cake is called La ko (朥糕) and usually come in black sesame or plain beige version. It is different from another more common Teochew mooncake called La pia (朥饼）and if you are interested, you can get the recipe of la pia here : Teochew Traditional Moon cake (潮汕朥饼）. You must be wondering what La (朥）in Teochew means and it basically means pork lard. These two Teochew moon cakes are prepared using pork lard that bring the flavour out and hence the name. For the flaky moon cake, lard is necessary to make it crispy and ability to have more layers. But for La Ko, it enhance the flavour and that also explains why the la ko is very oily.
There is only one English recipe available in the internet and I have used her recipe as a starting point. She has used cooked glutinous rice flour or 糕粉 for the cake and it may be the more traditional method of preparation. If you are interested, you can refer to this recipe of hers in the post: GNK on the Go!: Teochew La Ko ~ Steamed Mooncake. I believed her version may be more authentic as Gao Fen is a very important cooking ingredients in Teochew pastry shop. It is cooked glutinous rice flour and I have ever homemade gao fen before, but it is not as sticky as it should be. Those who uses gao fen before will know the characteristic of gao fen is it will become very sticky when it touches cold water. It has an unique flavour that homemade gao fen are not able to replicate. Therefore, I am wondering what is the ingredient of commercial sold gao fen which I believed they have added many other types of flour to enhance to stickiness and alter the aroma.
As the person who requested this recipe is residing overseas, it is very unlikely that she will be able to get hold of Gao Fen. Therefore, I have used another approach of using raw glutinous rice flour for the preparation of the cake. It may not be exactly the same texture and aroma, but the taste is very close to what is sold and it is definitely a nice cake in my own opinion. Well, if you are able to get hold of Gao Fen, you can always refer to Greg’s recipe above.
The filling of the softer type of la ko usually comes with filling. For the white colour version, it usually comes with black tausa yet for the black sesame version, it usually comes with mung bean paste moon cake fillings. Other side ingredients is very much depend on each bakery and can include candied oranges, candied winter melon, candied pork belly, nuts and etc. However, there are another type of la ko which has not filling, usually white in colour. This has to use Gao Fen and steam until fully cooked. Once fully cooker, colour will be slightly darken and slightly transparent. It is soft and full of gao fen aroma.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: Prepare 1 eight inches la ko
- 150 grams of glutinous rice flour (糯米粉） or cooked glutinous rice flour aka gao fen (糕粉）
- 25 grams of rice flour (粘米粉）
- 75 grams of black sesame seed flour (黑芝麻粉）
- 50 grams of lard (猪油）
- 100 grams of castor sugar (白糖）
- 250 grams of water (清水）
- 300 grams of moon cake filling of your choice (月饼馅料）
- 100 grams of nuts of your choice (所喜欢之果仁） – optional
- Some candied dried oranges (桔饼）
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Mixed the glutinous rice flour， rice flour with the black sesame flour. Set aside.
- Put the water, lard and sugar in a pot. Bring the water to boil until the sugars have dissolved. Off the heat. Add half of the flour mixture into the hot boiling syrup and stir until it forms a very wet dough.
- Put the other half of the flour mixture in a big mixing bowl, transfer the cooked dough to this dough, knead the cooked dough with the flour mixture until it forms a pliable dough .
Note: – Gao Fen Method
- If you are using Gao Fen, follow the follow step to get the dough
- Put the water and sugar in a pot. Bring the water to boil until the sugars have dissolved. Let it cooled completely until room temperature.
- In a big mixing bowl, put the rice flour, glutinous rice flour and black sesame flour. Stir until well combined and make a well in the centre. Add the lard follow by the cool to cold syrup. Use hand to knead until a smooth dough
- Mix your preferred filling ingredients and shape it into a ball.
- Take the black dough, shape round and lightly flatten it. Put the fillings on the centre and wrap the fillings with the black dough. Shape round and use a rolling pin to roll it flat.
- Transfer to the heavily greased baking tin. Transfer the dough into the tin. Press it to make sure the shape conform with the baking tin.
- Steamed until high heat for at least 30 minutes . Sprinkle with additional sesame seeds or nuts on top of the cake when the cake is still hot. Cool completely before cutting into pieces for servings. This cake cannot be keep long so it is advise to eat it as soon as possible.
- For the white colour no fillings version, you can follow the Gao Fen method above(but without any rice flour) without any filling. Press the dough into your preferred steaming tray, steam for at least 30 minutes or it becomes slightly transparent. Note that the steaming time will depend on the height of the cake. All the ingredients are already cooked. But long steaming hour will enhance the texture of the cake and if you are running out of time, you can try to use microwave to expedite the cooking.
This may not be the authentic recipe as I cannot get hold of a recipe in the internet. This shall be a temporary recipe until I manage to find a new recipe. Having said that, for people who do not like gao fen and for those who are not able to get gao fen, this should be a better alternative than the traditional la ko. If you like Gao Fen aroma and are in Singapore and Malaysia who are able to procure gao fen, i will invite you to try Greg’s recipe instead or my method stated above.
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