Lemon Lavender Candied Ginger (Mứt Gừng) for Chinese New Year (Tết) | plantcrush.co

Lemon Lavender Candied Ginger for Chinese New Year (Mứt Gừng)

Like any new year celebration, Chinese New Year is about new beginnings. Sweet treats are popular cross-culturally, as they symbolize a sweet, joyful start to the upcoming year. I think we can all agree that we definitely need more joy this year. This year, I was honored to be invited by the lovely Christine (Vermilion Roots) to participate in a Chinese New Year sweets party with several other Asian bloggers. It’s kind of like a virtual potluck—I urge you to check out the participating blogs below, to get a taste of the lunar new year from various parts of Asia!

This is my first time participating in a big recipe link party like this, and I’m so excited to promote my fellow Asian bloggers’ creations. It’s always interesting and heartwarming to see how other cultures celebrate–there are similarities and differences. Not all the recipes below are vegan, but they’re all vegetarian and can certainly be veganized. I have another blog post about Chinese New Year (Tết, in Vietnamese) planned this week, in which I will share a recipe I made with my mom, and I will talk more about what the holiday means to us.


#SweetLunarNewYear Party: Sweet Recipes for a Joyful New Year

Snow Fungus Soup / Vermilion Roots

Three Color Dessert (Che Ba Mau) / The Viet Vegan

Pineapple Cookies (Nastar) / V for Veggy

Indonesian Honeycomb Cake (Bingka Ambon) / What To Cook Today

Chinese Peanut Cookies / Wok & Skillet

Vietnamese Steamed Rice Cakes / A Taste of Joy and Love

Gluten-Free Chinese Almond Cookies / Grits & Chopsticks

Black Sesame Shortbread Cookies / Little Sweet Baker

Ice Cream Mooncakes / Brunch-n-Bites

Coconut Red Bean Pudding / The Missing Lokness

Korean Caramelized Sweet Potatoes (Goguma Mattang) / What Great Grandma Ate

Cashew Nut Cookies / Anncoo Journal

One Bite Pine Nut Cookies / Yummy Workshop

Baked Coconut Walnut Sticky Rice Cake / Jeanette’s Healthy Living

Black Sesame Cream Puffs / Pink Wings

Cashew Nut Cookies / Roti n Rice

Mini Peanut Puffs (Kok Chai) / Malaysian Chinese Kitchen

Thousand Layer Cake (Lapis Legit) / Daily Cooking Quest

Almond Orange Spiral Cookies / Butter & Type

Year of the Rooster Mochi / Thirsty for Tea

Korean Tea Cookies (Dasik) / Kimchimari

Sweet Sticky Nian Gao (Kuih Bakul) / Lisa’s Lemony Kitchen

Sweet Rice Balls with Peanut Butter (Tang Yuan) / Omnivore’s Cookbook

Chick Egg Tarts / Dessert Girl

Red Bean Soup with Black Glutinous Rice / Nut Free Wok

Orange Scented Sweet Red Bean / Lime and Cilantro


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Candied sweetmeats, such as candied ginger (mứt gừng), are part of the traditional array of treats for Vietnamese celebrations of Chinese New Year (Tết). Initially, for this recipe, I was envisioning a simple lemon infused candied ginger, sweetened with coconut sugar instead of regular sugar. My friend Margaret (the girlboss behind The Plant Philosophy) suggested the genius addition of lavender! The pairing sounded gorgeous, and the taste turned out to be a sweet romance—tangy and aromatic, perfect with the fiery fire of the ginger. Lemon and lavender are truly destined to be together. The lavender’s subtle fragrance creates a quiet delight of mystery (what is this elusive flavor, people may ask), while the ginger is cleansing and will warm your soul up from the inside. I hope you’ll enjoy this twist on a classic Vietnamese Tết treat!

Lemon Lavender Candied Ginger (Mứt Gừng) for Chinese New Year (Tết) | plantcrush.co


I love the caramelized, earthy look they have, due to the coconut sugar, which has more nutrients than just cane sugar. I’m so thankful to Margaret for all of her valuable feedback on this recipe, and for letting me use her kitchen! Having amazing, hard-working friends like her is so inspiring and empowering.


Lemon Lavender Candied Ginger (Mứt Gừng) for Chinese New Year (Tết) | plantcrush.co
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Lemon Lavender Candied Ginger (Mứt Gừng)
makes about 1 cup of candied ginger (20-25 pieces)
Time: 2 hours
Ingredients:
  • about 4 inches of fresh organic ginger, peeled and sliced (turns out to be about 1 cup of sliced ginger)
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, divided in half
  • water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon dried lavender
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (heaping)
  • 2 pinches of cardamom (optional)
Method:
  1. Wash and peel the ginger. Using a mandolin, slice the ginger as thinly as possible.
  2. Soak the ginger slices in a glass jar with the lemon juice and add about 3/4 cup of water (or however much it takes to cover the ginger).
  3. Fill a saucepan with about 1 1/2 cups of water. Add the ginger slices and the lemon juice mixture. Let the ginger boil for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. During the last 15 minutes, add the lavender to the boiling mixture.
  5. Take the mixture off the stove. By now, the liquid should have mostly reduced and evaporated.
  6. Transfer the ginger and reduced lemon juice mixture to a nonstick pan over medium heat. Toss the ginger slices with the coconut sugar. Add the vanilla and lemon zest. Stir the mixture until bubbly and caramelized—this should take about 15 minutes.
  7. Take the pan off the heat, and work quickly (and carefully!) with chopsticks to lay the ginger slices on a piece of wax or parchment paper. Make sure the pieces are not sticking together. Let these cool for about 10 minutes.
  8. In a small bowl, combine a couple tablespoons of coconut sugar, with a couple pinches of cardamom. Dip each piece of candied ginger into the coconut sugar to lightly coat.
  9. Enjoy with a steaming cup of tea, with a good book or sixteen… 😉
    If, like me, you are feeling hopeless because your country just elected a fascist, angry yam for president, and you have also been heartbroken about the whole damn world for a long time, take a deep breath…sip your tea slowly, and gather strength from the spicy ginger. Use your strength to resist and reject systems of oppression in all forms, and spread love and care to your fellow humans. There’s a multitude of ways to serve the planet, humanity, and animals. Grab onto that fire in your heart, to pursue what you are passionate about, to improve the world wherever you are.

“You have to find what sparks a light in you so that you in your own way can illuminate the world.” ― Oprah

PS: the ginger can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks. 🙂

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Thank you so much for reading–I decided to try something new and interesting with the ending of that recipe, hehe. I just had to express myself…I hope it was inspiring in some way–let me know what you think! Chúc Mừng Năm Mới (happy new year)!

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11 thoughts on “Lemon Lavender Candied Ginger for Chinese New Year (Mứt Gừng)

  1. Lokness says:

    I have never had candied ginger! I love all the flavors, sweet, spicy, and tart. No doubt a great snacks for CNY! Happy New Year! Can’t wait to read your CNY post later this week! 😉

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