01/29/2013

Sweet Tet Treat

The Lunar New Year has many wonderful and fun traditions. One of the most anticipated Tet customs perhaps is preparing and sharing Mut Tet to family, friends, visitors and even to ancestors. Mut Tet is colorful, candied fruits that have become an indispensable Tet treat for many generations.
 
A Mut Tet tradition usually consists of a visitor nibbling on the traditional New Year fruit candy, roasted watermelon seeds, and sipping on jasmine tea. The Vietnamese used to make the Tet candies themselves as part of the tradition. But sadly nowadays, people have become so busy that this sweet tradition is slowly dying. The home-made candies are now being sold commercially in supermarkets and stores and people just conveniently buy them and set them down all ready for Tet.
 
But for those who want to keep the tradition alive, some Vietnamese continue to prepare the New Year treats at home where the ingredients are surprisingly available and healthy. Coconut, ginger, sweet potato, kumquat, tamarind, and pineapple are the usual fruits made into Mut Tet which have the health benefits of relieving flatulence, sore throat and stress; promotes digestion and good sleep; and eases hangovers.
 
Lotus seeds seem to be the favorite ingredient for Mut Tet for their delicious taste and easy process of making. Here is the procedure for making candy out of Lotus seeds:
 
The seeds are soaked in water for a number of hours in order to get bigger and softer. Meanwhile, water is boiled where the seeds are then added. Once the mixture simmers, the seeds are transferred into a bowl, rinsed and cooled. Sugar is then added to the seeds to taste. Heat a pan with half a bowl of water, add sugar, and stir constantly until the sugar dissolves. Simmer the mixture to low heat until it becomes thick and syrupy.
 
Add the lotus seeds into the pan and stir gently. To make the mixture smell even more inviting, you can add juice extracted from pomelo flowers. Slant the pan to separate the seeds from the syrup. Pour the syrup onto the lotus seeds until they turn translucent. Pour it into a tray and allow to cool. The delicious New Year candy treat is now ready to be enjoyed.
 
Aside from the delicious taste and easy process, Lotus seeds also have the health benefits of relieving stress and promoting good sleep.