Mooncake business is now a very lucrative business for many business owners. For once a year, bakeries, hotels and restaurant chains would be selling their own mooncakes with the price increasing gradually each year.
Previously, my mom would make mooncakes at home and distribute them to her friends, neighbors, friends and relatives. Of course, it would be compulsory for us to help her out in the baking. The ‘mooncake baking day’ used to be very hectic as she would be baking batches and batches. But most of it she baked for our own consumption because mooncakes are so expensive and she loved them so much. I am the kuli (laborer) who is in charge of putting the filling and the skin into the mould and placing them on the trays.
Due to her declining health, she has stopped making them the past 3 years. One of my regret is I was only doing the labor job and did not manage to learn the skill from her….especially her nutty mooncakes (kam tui) which was more delicious from what that was sold outside.
I really felt the pinch as the last few years, I would need to spend a few hundred ringgit just to buy mooncakes. A well branded mooncake could easily cost between RM14 to RM25 per piece.
Mooncake giving is customary in the Chinese culture and generally the younger ones are expected to buy mooncake to present to their elders, parents, in-laws and business partners.
Do you feel the same too?
Well, instead of buying mooncakes, why not try your hand at baking your own mooncakes at home?
You would only need to worry about getting mooncake moulds (you can try asking around at bakery supply stores or stores selling plastic/hardware/baking trays), the ingredients and mooncake boxes/linings. You can find most of the nuts and ingredients to make being sold in Chai Huat Hin shop in Petaling Street/ KL Chinatown which you can explore.
Like any cooking or baking skill, your mooncakes would taste better with practice. You can also identify which type of mooncake that you are good at baking (for example lotus seed, nutty, Shanghai mooncake or jelly mooncakes). Eventually, you may do what we have done for years, that is dedicate one Saturday or Sunday (closer to the festival) to do mass baking and then distribute to those in your distribution list.
There are some very good YouTube videos available that teaches you how to make mooncake. Regardless of which part of the world you are, you would be able to bake your own mooncakes. However, I must admit that some things like mooncake moulds and mooncake boxes are hard to get in certain countries. There is a shop though that I saw contained the wooden mould located in Jalan HS Lee.
In Malaysia, you can try buying the mooncake moulds online as well. There are plastic and wooden moulds available. The plastic version is much cheaper.
Recommended videos from YouTube:
The videos from Siu’s Kitchen channel are in Cantonese but it contains English subtitles. With practice, you would be able to perfect the taste of your mooncakes.
Traditional Lotus Paste mooncake:
Kam Tui or Nutty mooncakes (also known as Chinese Ham and Nuts Mooncakes (火腿五仁月餅)):
Another delicious mooncakes are taro pastry mooncakes. I used to spend a fortune buying from a local hotel because they were so delicious.
Or else you can search out for variants such as Shanghai mooncakes, Teocheow mooncakes and jelly mooncakes.
Happy baking and don’t give up on the first tries.