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Jan 26, 2011

Happy Lunar Year of the Rabbit & A Recipe

" Gong Xi Fa Cai! " to all celebrating Chinese New Year. The start of the lunar year falls on the 2nd of February this year. This is a biggy for most Chinese and there will be many family reunions. There is always lots of eating involved and besides traditions like the giving of 'ang pow' (monetary gifts in red packets symbolizing the wish of good tidings), there is the sharing of goodies, cakes and cookies.... especially pineapple tarts. Given that there's going to be no shortage of CNY cookie posts , I'm going away from the norm and featuring an onion jam recipe instead.

Onions? Yup, onions! I don't believe onions have any significance at all to the Chinese Lunar Year. It's just that this bunch of onions I had, started to sprout faster than I could use them (mistake of putting them by the window) and this particular onion started to cast a shadow resembling a Quasimodo-ish rabbit. As this is the turn of the Rabbit according to the Chinese Zodiac, it seemed fitting to use it as our greeting for this year..... and with it, a recipe with onions. Some things just seem to decide for themselves. Non traditional.. yup, that's me.



500 g red onions, sliced
15 g butter
50 ml balsamic vinegar
25 g brown sugar
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 sprig fresh thyme


Melt butter in pan. Add onions, salt, pepper and thyme sprig.
Cook on low to medium heat until onions are soft and translucent, not browned.
Add sugar and vinegar and continue cooking on low heat until most of the liquid is absorbed by the onions and mixture is the consistency of jam.
Remove thyme sprig.
Store in clean jars and refrigerate.
Great for hors d'oeuvres or as an accompaniment to hamburgers in place of relish.



10 oz plain flour
5 oz cold butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg + 1 tbs cold water


Mix together flour and salt. Cut in cold butter until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add egg and water mixture a little at a time until dough holds together. Do not knead. Leave dough to rest for at least 30 mins. Roll dough out on a floured surface to about 2 mm thick. Cut out pastry with a round cookie cutter (I used a 4 1/2 cm diameter round cookie cutter) and press into a tartlet tray with holes measuring about 4 cm in diameter. You can of course make it into whatever size you like.
Prick base of pastry with a fork.
Bake blind about 10 - 12 mins or until the sides turn slightly golden at 180˚C.
Cool before filling.


Shortcrust pastry cups (recipe above)
Onion jam (recipe above)
Feta cheese / Blue cheese, crumbled
fresh thyme

Fill prepared pastry cups with onion jam. Top with crumbled feta cheese and garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme.
The flavors and textures are awesome!


  1. Gong Xi Fa Cai!
    Lovely tarts !!! We use onion jam on toasts with baked goat chees.

  2. Love the photo and the jam recipe - doesn't use much butter and sugar which is great.

    Will your blog readers or those who leave comments receive ang pow from you?:)

  3. Wow, your photo is amazing. How clever! Your recipe also sounds wonderful. I love slowly cooked onions and this takes them to another level. I can tell you that this will be a big hit in my household. I also checked out your pineapple jam tarts and can't wait to try them too. I love that you used custard powder in the pastry.

    Happy Chinese New Year!

  4. Very cool to read about this new year in the Chinese zodiac! what a beautiful looking tart you made with the onion jam! Yum!

  5. Something Good: Hey, thanks! Goat's cheese is a great idea too! OOO

    Three-Cookies: Hehe. you won't delete your comment if I say 'no', will you? I did say I am non traditional so I'll be giving out hugs instead. Here's some hugs ... OOO

    All That's Left are the Crumbs: Thanks! OOO

    Christina: Hi! Thanks and yes .. Yum, it was! OOO

  6. Ping-Love your sprouting onion "rabbit shadow" creative, and clever. The onion tart recipe is fabulous, and so is the tart. The photos are amazing!

    Have a wonderful Chinese New Year celebration!

  7. This sounds fantastic! I would be all over this jam! And I cannot wait for the year of the rabbit to begin! The year of the tiger was awful!

  8. Elisabeth: Hi! Thanks for your kind compliments and holiday wishes. It's been a crazy, busy, baking week ... but all happy!

    Tiffany: Yeah, I agree ... the tiger year was quite a trying time for the whole world. Hope the cuddly rabbit will soften things up a little.

  9. I love the onion rabbit! Haha! That was so clever. The recipe sounds fantastic. We both must have been thinking about onions because I just posted a recipe for a Caramelized Onion and Potato Spread, although my onion didn't cast any animal shadows. I need to start shopping elsewhere, haha!

  10. Pretend Chef: Haha! Great minds, eh? (ahem)

  11. So elegant looking appetizers. I love your writing too.

  12. That is most definitely one of the fanciest looking tarts I have ever seen. Well done!! And Happy CNY!!

  13. Jackie at Phamfatale: Hi! Thanks so much for your kind comments and for dropping by.

    Kimberly: Really?! Gosh, coming from someone who gets a top9 almost daily, I'm totally flattered! Thanks! Happy Celebrating!

  14. That is a beautiful picture of your onion jam and pastry! And the little bunny pic = pure awesomeness! Love it!

  15. First of all, I love the cleverness of the onion rabbit. Great shot. The onion tarts sound amazing. I love savory over sweet any day.

  16. Sounds delicious, Ping! Hean and I will definitely give it a try. The shadow rabbit is a clever idea - love it :)

    Happy Chinese New Year to all!

  17. Kevin @ www.justedible.comFebruary 1, 2011 at 4:12 AM

    Fantastic photo and a recipe I've got to try.

  18. Kristen, Lin, Kevin: Thanks folks! Thought it was too cute not to share. Do try the recipe. The flavors and textures really go together beautifully.

  19. Ping:
    Brilliant shot you have there, cute little onion rabbit. This is real "ang ang ong ong" rabbit. Of coz, not forgetting the delicious looking tart!
    "Keong Hee Huat Chye!" (in hokkien) :-)

  20. Hi Yin. Nice to see you again and Kam sia lu.

  21. Ping.....could you be any cuter? What vision to look into your onion basket and find the icon for the Lunar New Year! Happy New Year! The tarts are perfection. I read the ingredients thinking I could make them but I feel sure they would never stand up the gorgeous tarts in your photo. Wish I could pop by for a taste!

  22. Boulder: Hahaha ... glad you like my little onion wabbit! You're most welcome to drop by for a bite anytime you're in the area but I promise the recipe is super easy and tasty! :D

  23. Brilliant photo and post! The jam recipe looks terrific. Can't wait to try it.

  24. Hi Nina. Thanks, and for dropping by too!

  25. I love red onion. And with balsamic vinegar and thyme... mmmm... I can imagine how delish it is! I also loved those pineapple tartlets. Perhaps I should stop being so stingy and make pineapple jam someday. Your cute tartlets look SO worth it!!

  26. Hi Alina, thanks. Are pineapples very expensive over where you are? I guess it would be, being a tropical fruit and all. But you just have to try it at least once to make the jam. It's so much better than the commercial ones. Let me know how it turns out when you do.

  27. Kevin at www.justedible
    Finally made the jam and it is really delicious. Thanks