Cookbook author and recipe developer Hetty Lui McKinnon is stopping by the TODAY kitchen to celebrate the Lunar New Year with recipes from her newest cookbook, "Tenderheart: A Cookbook About Vegetables and Unbreakable Family Bonds." She shows us how to make tender broccoli wontons with chili crisp and a sweet mochi cake flavored with ginger and coconut.
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Like dumplings, making wontons is a mindful ritual, an exercise of patience. Folding wontons would take up an entire afternoon for my mother, as she always made them in bulk, ready for freezing. With some planning, wontons are a wonderful last-minute meal. Here, I have served the wontons simply, blanketed in my Umami Crisp, but you could also serve them in a broth.
Growing up, my favorite Chinese desserts were always the chewy ones. The texture is unique, some say it's an acquired taste, but for me, these stretchy desserts represent childhood and home. Lo mai chi, the bouncy, coconut-coated balls filled with either peanuts, red bean or black sesame paste, is still my Chinese bakery must-have, while my mother's nian gao (New Year cake) is not-too-sweet and deliciously wobbly, a family celebration treat that is even better pan-fried. This mochi cake offers all the chew and gooeyness of my childhood treats, confidently accented with ginger and coconut.
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