Celebrating The Mid-Autumn Festival

We all know that the Mid-Autum or Moon Festival is another reason to get together with family and friends to eat…and eat…and eat. Hey, we’re Asian, and we love to eat, right? Just look at Instagram! The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of our most favourite celebrations and one of the most important festivals of the year. But what is it’s origin?

As it happens in the Fall, it make sense that it surrounds the harvest season for farmers. Traditionally, it’s been a  way of giving thanks for a fruitful abundance in foods and to worship the moon for in hopes of another bountiful year. Occurring on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, the Moon Festival stories vary in origin and regions, but celebrating under the bright moon has remained to modern day and you can see for yourself that the moon is at it’s fullest and brightest on this day. By the way, this year it’s also dubbed the Supermoon so look up on the night of September 27 and be prepared to be wowed!

We’re all familiar with traditional moon cakes made with lotus seed paste with a bright solid duck egg yolk in the centre (sometimes double!). In recent years, the addition of pastel coloured “snow-skin”  versions pop up in stores as a modern day alternative and completely different taste, you find them in fruit flavours like mango, lemon, pineapple, cassis as well as matcha, chocolate, and vanilla.

While many of us will celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival this weekend here are some ideas to bring it all home:

My dad had mentioned many times over that food for our celebrations and traditions are very symbolic. For this time of year, round shaped foods are obvious choices to incorporate into the feasting. Fruits and seeds are also popular choices so grab some pomelos, oranges, and roasted chestnuts and peanuts to add to the mix. Pomelos in particular have meaning as traditionally in some regions peeling of the fruit’s skin known as ‘ghost skin peeling’ is a way to get rid of ghosts and bad luck. Chrysanthemum tea is also a popular hot drink made from the flower and great for the change of season.  For presentation at home, feel free to bring a contemporary feel to your food. I’ve found that my go-to charcuterie board makes for an nice updated look (See photo above? That beautiful wooden board is from PCHome).

If you’re visiting family and friends during this time of year make sure you’ve got your stock of moon cakes. There are so many great varieties in the stores now and beautifully packaged for immediate gift giving.  I’ve been able to actually source a number of asian food products at my local Loblaws and the Real Canadian Superstore which was really convenient…and yes, even moon cakes!

What about decorations? Traditionally lanterns were used as part of the celebration and can be still found brightly lighting up festivities in Hong Kong and other parts in southern China. Other decorations I can recall from my childhood were colourful baskets filled with biscuits (I think they were often piglet shaped cookies) that were giving to kids while the adults received the moon cakes.  If you’ve got kids coming over it’s a fun activity to make their own paper lanterns and display them proudly.

Here’s a yummy recipe to try! We know how our parents loved braised foods and the ingredients can be found quickly…

pork_2BRAISED MINCED PORK BALLS with Vegetables

Ingredients:

  • 600 g Minced Pork
  • 5 stalks Shanghai Bok Choy
  • 5 slices fresh ginger, peeled
  • 2 stalks green onion
  • 1 egg

Marinade:

  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp rice wine
  • 2 cups water
  • 5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp white pepper

Method:

1. Finely chop ginger and green onion in a small boil and set aside.

2. Wash Shanghai bok choy and cook it in boiling water for about 3 minutes. Remove from water and set aside on plate.

3. In a large bowl, mix minced pork with egg. Then, add ginger, green onion, 3 tbsp cornstarch, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp rice wine and white pepper. Stirl until meat becomes sticky. Kneed pork mixture into balls with your hands.

4. Spread cornstarch on each meatball evenly. Deep-fry until they turn golden, remove and set aside and drain off excess oil.

5. Put water, sugar, 3 tbsp soy sauce and 1 tbsp rice wine into the wok. Boil on maximum heat then add meatballs. Turn to low heat until meatballs have absorbed all the sauce. Place meatballs on bok choy and serve.

*Recipe provided by Loblaws/T&T Supermarket.

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CONTEST:

We’d love for you to discover the great selection of asian food products at your local Loblaws or Real Canadian Superstore this Fall so we’re giving away a $100 gift card ! Contest closes September 27 at 9:00 pm EST. Winner will be selected at random and will be contacted via social media directly. Prize must be accepted as awarded.

You have three ways to enter…

TWITTER ENTRY:

  1. Tweet and tell us what you love about the Mid-Autumn Festival and include @AZNmodern #Loblaws #RealCanadianSuperstore so we can find you!
  2. Make sure you’re following @aznmodern on Twitter because if we select you as a winner, we need to be able to DM you!

INSTAGRAM ENTRY:

Follow us on Instagram at  AZNmodern and tag a friend on the this post!

FACEBOOK:

Follow us on Facebook at AZNmodern, look for this post, and leave us a comment under that post about what you love about the Mid-Autumn Festival!

 

 

 

Sonya is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of AZNmodern.com. She is also a well-established contributing lifestyle writer to other sites and magazines sharing her passion for arts & culture, fashion, beauty, travel and food. Sonya is based in Toronto, Canada. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @theculturepearl

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