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Chinese Nougat Recipe: A Sweet Treat for Your Taste Buds

If you're looking for a sweet treat that's a little different from the usual fare, Chinese nougat might be just what you need. This candy is a delicious blend of marshmallows, roasted peanuts, and other ingredients that come together to create a chewy, satisfying snack. Whether you're looking for a new dessert to serve at a dinner party or just want to try something new, this recipe is sure to please.

A table filled with ingredients like sugar, honey, nuts, and sesame seeds. A pot bubbling with melted sugar and honey, while a mixer blends the ingredients together

Chinese nougat has a long history and is often associated with the Lunar New Year. Traditionally, the candy is thought to bring good luck and prosperity to those who eat it. While it's often enjoyed during this holiday, it's also a popular snack throughout the year. With its combination of sweet and nutty flavours, it's easy to see why so many people love it.

To make Chinese nougat, you'll need a few essential ingredients, including marshmallows, peanuts, and milk powder. You'll also need some coconut oil to help bind everything together. Once you have your ingredients ready, you can start preparing your kitchen and getting everything set up for the cooking process. Whether you're a seasoned cook or a novice in the kitchen, this recipe is easy to follow and should yield delicious results.

Key Takeaways

  • Chinese nougat is a sweet candy that's often associated with the Lunar New Year.
  • The candy is made with marshmallows, peanuts, milk powder, and coconut oil.
  • Chinese nougat is easy to make and can be a delicious treat for any occasion.

History and Significance

A traditional Chinese kitchen with ingredients and tools laid out for making nougat. A chef carefully follows a handwritten recipe passed down through generations

Origins of Chinese Nougat

Chinese Nougat, also known as "Niu Zha Tang" or "牛轧糖" in Chinese, is a traditional sweet treat that has been enjoyed for centuries. The exact origins of Chinese Nougat are unclear, but it is believed to have originated in the Arab world and was introduced to China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD).

The original nougat was made with honey and nuts, and over time, the recipe was adapted to include local ingredients such as sesame seeds, peanuts, and dried fruit. Today, Chinese Nougat is a popular snack that is enjoyed all year round, but it is especially popular during the Chinese New Year celebrations.

Nougat in Chinese Celebrations

Chinese Nougat is an important part of Chinese cuisine, and it is often served during the Chinese New Year celebrations. The Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, is the most important festival in the Chinese calendar, and it is celebrated with family gatherings, feasting, and fireworks.

During the Chinese New Year celebrations, it is customary to exchange gifts of food, and Chinese Nougat is a popular choice. The sweet and nutty flavour of Chinese Nougat is said to symbolize a sweet and prosperous new year..

Essential Ingredients

A cluttered kitchen counter with a mixing bowl, sugar, nuts, and a sticky, taffy-like nougat mixture being pulled and stretched on a marble surface

When it comes to making Chinese nougat, there are a few essential ingredients that you simply can't do without. Here's a breakdown of the key components that you'll need to make this sweet treat.

Choosing the Right Nuts

Nuts are a crucial part of Chinese nougat, providing both texture and flavour. The most commonly used nuts in this recipe are peanuts, almonds, and cashews, but you can experiment with other nuts too. For a more luxurious twist, you can even add some seafood, such as shrimp or scallops, to the mix.

Selecting Sweeteners

Sweeteners are what make nougat so deliciously sweet. The most commonly used sweeteners in Chinese nougat are honey and sugar. Honey adds a lovely floral note to the nougat, while sugar provides a more straightforward sweetness. For a more authentic taste, try using White Rabbit Creamy Candy, a popular Chinese sweet that has a unique milky flavour.

Binding Agents

To hold everything together, you'll need some binding agents. The most commonly used binding agents in Chinese nougat are egg whites, butter, and milk powder. Egg whites are the traditional binding agent used in nougat, but butter and milk powder can also be used to great effect.

By choosing the right nuts, sweeteners and binding agents, you can create a delicious Chinese nougat that is sure to impress. Don't be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and flavours to create your own unique twist on this classic recipe.

Preparing Your Kitchen

A kitchen counter with ingredients and tools for making Chinese nougat

Cookware and Utensils

Before you start making Chinese nougat, you need to make sure you have all the necessary cookware and utensils. Here's what you'll need:

  • Non-stick pan: You'll need a non-stick pan to melt the marshmallows and butter. This will prevent the mixture from sticking to the pan and make it easier to stir.
  • Spatula: A spatula is essential for stirring the marshmallows and butter. Make sure you have a heat-resistant spatula to avoid melting it.
  • Baking pan: You'll need a baking pan to set the nougat. Line the pan with parchment paper to prevent the nougat from sticking to the pan.
  • Rolling pin: You'll need a rolling pin to flatten the nougat. Make sure you have a clean surface to roll the nougat on.

Setting Up the Workspace

Once you have all the necessary cookware and utensils, it's time to set up your workspace. Here are some tips:

  • Clear your workspace: Make sure you have enough space to work on. Clear your workspace of any unnecessary items.
  • Preheat your oven: If you plan on roasting nuts, preheat your oven to the desired temperature.
  • Prepare your ingredients: Measure out all your ingredients and have them ready to use.
  • Get a bowl of water: Keep a bowl of water nearby to dip your hands in when handling the nougat. This will prevent the nougat from sticking to your hands.

Seafood is not typically used in Chinese nougat recipes, but you can experiment with adding dried seafood such as dried shrimp or scallops for a unique twist.

The Cooking Process

A pot of boiling sugar syrup, mixed with nuts and sesame seeds, being stirred until golden brown

Mixing the Ingredients

To make Chinese nougat, you will need to mix a variety of ingredients. Begin by whisking egg whites in a bowl until they form soft peaks. Then, add granulated sugar and corn syrup to the egg whites and continue whisking until the mixture becomes stiff.

Next, stir fry a mixture of roasted peanuts and assorted nuts in a pan until they become fragrant. Once they are done, mix them into the egg white mixture and continue to stir until everything is well combined.

If you're feeling adventurous, you could also try adding some seafood to the mix. Shrimp or crab would be a great option to add some extra flavour to the nougat.

Cooking Techniques

Once the ingredients are all mixed together, it's time to cook the nougat. Begin by greasing a tin or lining a baking tray with greaseproof baking paper. Then, pour the mixture into the tin and smooth it out with a spatula.

Place the tin in the oven at 150 degrees Celsius for 15-20 minutes, or until the nougat is golden brown. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't burn.

Finishing Touches

After the nougat is cooked, remove it from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Then, cut it into small squares or rectangles and wrap them in parchment paper.

Chinese nougat is known for being chewy, so make sure to let it cool completely before eating. It's a great treat to enjoy with friends and family, or to give as a gift.

Making Chinese nougat is a simple process that requires a few basic ingredients and some cooking skills. By following these steps, you can create a delicious and unique treat that everyone will love.

Serving and Storage

A table with various ingredients and tools for making Chinese nougat, including nuts, sugar, and a mixing bowl

How to Serve Chinese Nougat

Chinese nougat is a versatile treat that can be served in a variety of ways. As a snack, it's perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth. You can also serve it as a dessert, either on its own or as a topping for ice cream. When serving, consider cutting the nougat into bite-sized pieces to make it easier to eat.

If you're looking for a more unique way to serve Chinese nougat, consider incorporating seafood into the recipe. While not traditional, adding small pieces of dried shrimp or scallops can add a savoury twist to the sweet treat.

Storing for Freshness

To keep your homemade nougat fresh, it's important to store it properly. The best way to do this is to place it in an airtight container and store it in a cool, dry place. This will help prevent the nougat from becoming too sticky or melting in warmer temperatures.

If you're making nougat in bulk, consider packaging it separately in parchment paper to prevent sticking. Nougat can be stored in the fridge for up to three days, or in the freezer for up to 30 days. When you're ready to eat it, simply remove it from the freezer and let it thaw for a few minutes before serving.

When it comes to serving suggestions, Chinese nougat pairs well with a variety of drinks such as tea, coffee or hot chocolate. It also makes a great addition to a cheese board or a gift basket.

Frequently Asked Questions

A table with ingredients and tools for making Chinese nougat

How can I make Chinese nougat without milk powder?

If you don't have milk powder or prefer not to use it, you can substitute it with powdered sugar or cornstarch. Both of these ingredients can help to thicken and stabilize the nougat mixture.

What's the secret to getting the perfect texture for homemade nougat?

The key to getting the perfect texture for homemade nougat is to cook the mixture to the right temperature. Use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature and make sure you cook it to the soft ball stage (around 240°F or 115°C). This will ensure that the nougat sets properly and has a chewy texture.

Can you share a simple method for creating Chinese nougat at home?

To make Chinese nougat at home, you'll need marshmallows, milk powder, peanuts, and butter. Melt the marshmallows and butter in a pan, then stir in the milk powder and peanuts. Pour the mixture into a greased baking dish and let it cool before slicing into pieces.

What are the key ingredients for an authentic Taiwanese nougat?

Authentic Taiwanese nougat typically includes peanuts, sesame seeds, and honey. Some recipes may also include other nuts or dried fruit.

How do I prevent my nougat from becoming too soft when I make it?

To prevent nougat from becoming too soft, make sure you cook the mixture to the right temperature and let it cool completely before slicing. You can also add a little extra cornstarch or powdered sugar to the mixture to help it set.

What's the difference between Chinese snowflake crisp and traditional nougat?

Chinese snowflake crisp (bing tang hu lu) is a type of candy that's made by coating fruit or nuts in a hard sugar shell. It's similar to traditional nougat in that it's sweet and chewy, but it has a different texture and is made using a different method.