Friday, February 26, 2010

Furry Play-doh Balls

"COME HERE FAT BOY!!" is how my Aussie in-laws would translate the prosperous Chinese New Year verse Kung Hei Fat Choi. I don't care what you call me, if you're offering CNY dishes, I'm coming lol.

Yep, the Chinese sure know how to end the year with a bang. Family, friends and a good feasting to farewell the year of the Ox and a big welcome to the year of the Tiger.

It's the time of the year where I hang up my new age/fusion taste interests and go back to basics. Traditional meals that have been passed down generations that bring a sense of comfort and homeliness. This year I've really embraced this and attempted two dishes.

My first CNY Dish: Black Tea, Soy and Star Anise Eggs

After MiniB's successful dubbing of Bubblenuts, she has fashionably named dish #2 "Furry Play-doh Balls". Furry due the desiccated coconut that looks very similar to the fur of her much loved teddy. "Play-doh" as I tried to dye the glutinous dough red, a more festive colour for the Chinese New Year, which ended up more on the pink side and resembled her favourite past time. Finally "Ball" cos I rolled them up.

Which is Glutinous Rice dough and which is play-doh?

I've never used glutinous rice flour before. The stickiness at first was quite discouraging and I felt this dish was heading towards a disaster with every knead. If you find yourself in this predicament don't be discouraged; work with it more by balancing water and rice flour to get the perfect play-doh consistency. If you have warm hands like I do it's also easier if you rinse your hands in cold water before kneading. Also bear in mind the longer you knead it, the chewier the consistency of the end result.

Once you get over the fear of stuffing up the dough mixture, the rest is actually quite fun to make. And the taste...soft pillowy cases with a pleasant chewy but not stick to your teeth dessert that's actually not too sweet. It reminds me of grandma's Nian Gao which is also prepared during CNY. I was so impressed with my attempt I may try the peanut centered rice balls with a ginger syrup.

Red Bean & Coconut Glutinous Rice Balls


  • 1/2 cup of desiccated coconut flakes
  • 1 tbspn icing sugar
  • 5 tbspn sweet red bean paste
  • 3 tbspn brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups glutinous rice flour
  • 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup of boiling water, or as needed
  • 1/2 tsp red food colouring
  • Water to boil the balls


  • Sprinkle coconut on a sheet of baking paper and sift icing sugar over the coconut. Set aside.
  • Mix together brown sugar with the red bean paste and using a teaspoon roll into small balls about the size of half a teaspoon.
  • Place glutinous flour and condensed milk in a mixing bowl and use a fork to mix through.
  • Add water, 1 tblspn at a time, to the mixture while kneading until play-doh consistency.
  • Add red food colouring knead dough until mixed through.
  • Roll the dough into a large sausage, about 10 inches, and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • Take a piece of dough and flatten it with the palm of your hand until you get an evenly flat circle
  • Spoon in the red bean paste mixture and fold up the ends of the dough and gently roll into a ball
  • In a saucepan bring water to the boil and reduce heat to a dull simmer
  • Add balls in 4-5 at a time and swirl the water to stop them from sticking to the saucepan
  • Simmer for about 6-7 mins or until they float to the top
  • Drain and roll in coconut mixture immediately.

Here's a few happy snaps of our amazing CNY feast. Highlight of the meal would be the 3.4kg monster of a lobster that took up whole sink. It was so huge the meat on the spindly legs were like small chicken drumsticks. Also who can pass up suckling pig with it's crispy crackling!!
My tea eggs did work out and the flavours managed to penetrate through the shell, but probably could have stayed in the tea mixture a few days longer to intensify the flavour and get a better netting pattern on them.

Dried Scallop Soup & Fat Choi vegetarian Hot Pot

Braised Ling fish with Chinese Broccoli & Steamed Abalone with Lettuce

Suckling Roast Pork & a look at my Black Tea eggs attempt

Monster 3.4kg Lobster Before and After (braised in ginger and shallot)

So tell me readers, What is your traditional comfort food?

Till next time ... we eat!!



  1. I have warm hands too! It's such a bugger when rolling chocolate and things like this. Thanks for sharing the tips, they look great! :D

  2. MiniB has such a genius for naming things! They look so delicious, hope the red dye eventually came off your hands! That lobster was freaking huge, but yummy - so was everything else! Had the tea eggs on a sandwich for the next few days, hehe!

  3. A tip I learned very early on in my motherhood years, was to wear disposable gloves when mixing colour in to playdough! I guess this extends to glutinous ball dough too now..he he. Well, at least red is a lucky you have lucky hands now!!

  4. Haha- It really does look like pay doh! Only a lot tastier =] It looks really fun to play with....!

  5. That's the first time I've heard the "come here fat boy" line! I like it. And I picked the play-doh. Doh! :D

  6. i love playing with play doh! hehe especially making food lol

  7. Happy Chinese New Year! Big lobsters are the best as I'm a pretty lazy crustacean eater :-P

  8. Hi Lorraine. Give me a "warm hands" hi five LOL!! I can't even eat a wedge of toblerone without it melting into a gloopy mess :P

    Hi Yaya. Gotta share what you had with the tea egg sandwich..any good?? :)

    Hi HB. The red hands actually wasn't too bad. It was definitely luck that I pulled them off :)

    Hi Von. It was fun to play with!! If it didn't work out I would have had a lot more fun with it :D

    Hi GB. Not many people are responding to the Aussie version..I wonder why? - he he!! I need to make it more challenging next time ;)

    Hi Suze. Play-doh food = win!! :D

    Hi Jen. I totally agree, these legs were like seafood sticks only the real deal. Happy CNY :D

  9. Great blogging! Wag

  10. Hi Wag. Thanks, when are you going to try one? :)