Mooncakes - red bean paste, lotus bean paste with and without salted duck egg yolk, nonbaked pandan snow skin lotus bean paste, mini yam (taro), 'leng kok' aka Water Caltrop and Chinese tea, a must have with sweet mooncakes. Both the mini yam and water caltrop have been cooked by boiling in water for about 45 minutes. To taste the mini yam, remove the skin and dip it in some caster sugar. To break open the water caltrop, you'll need a hammer to crack up the hard shell ........ it sure is a tough nut to crack!
Today, 3rd October 2009 is the Mid-Autumn Festival and each year it falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month where the moon is at its brightest and fullest.
When I was young, I looked forward to this day because I got to play lanterns with my neighbours' kids, my contemporaries. I would be happier if the festival were to fall on a weekend as I could play lanterns later into the night and not have to get up early for school the next day. Those days the lanterns were made of tinsel and colourful glass paper, of all shapes and sizes, dragons, rabbits, butterflies, aeroplanes, just to name a few. Normally, I remembered that after the festival my late mum would wrap up it up with newspapers and put it away for the next year. Old folks were so thrifty those days.
Of course, festivals cannot go by without a merry feast and those days my working siblings would usually take time off to come home for a family get together. After the feast, we would wash up the courtyard and lay the table to give offerings to the Moon Goddess, for good fortune, family unity and blessings.
Traditionally, the offerings would be mooncakes, boiled mini yam (taro), pomelo, a green fruit which signifies abundance and not forgetting the black horn like type of water chestnut, which we called 'Leng Kok', known as Water Caltrop. We only get to see the mini yam and 'leng kok' once a year during this festival.
The water caltrop is an annual aquatic plant, growing in slow-moving water up to 5 metres deep. They bear ornately shaped fruits that resemble the head of a bull.
Do check in @ Wikipedia to read more about this specie of water chesnut.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my readers A very Happy Mid-Autumn/Mooncake Festival.
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