12 Easy and Delicious CNY Goodies You Can Make With Your Loved Ones

Looking for CNY goodies that you can make with your family in the comfort of your home? Here are 12 snacks to try making this year!

by Tan Jia Hui

Chinese New Year is around the corner! One of the things many of us look forward to during the festivities is the spectacular variety of CNY goodies and snacks we can feast on.

This year, instead of buying the usual store-made goodies, why not turn them into a fun activity with your loved ones? Besides being a great family bonding activity while you stay at home and safe from the recent COVID-19 surge, you can customise these delicious goodies to suit your dietary preferences and needs and snack on them guilt-free!

Read on for 12 easy and delicious goodies you can make with your loved ones this Chinese New Year and tips on how to make them healthier.

12 easy and delicious CNY goodies to make

1. Seaweed crackers

Seaweed cracker snacks for Chinese New Year

Source: What To Cook Today

A crowd favourite among both kids and adults, crispy seaweed crackers consist of roasted seaweed, spring roll pastry, and sesame seeds (optional) sealed with egg wash, then fried till golden brown and crispy. It is a simple snack with few ingredients and that takes no more than a few minutes to fry.

For a healthier option, opt for air-frying or baking the crackers instead of deep frying them in oil. 

Find the full recipe for these crisp seaweed crackers.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Difficulty Level: 1/5

2. Lotus root chips

Lotus Root Chips as easy Chinese New Year snacks

Source: Veggiekins

Impress your guests with these beautifully shaped lotus root chips! A great alternative to potato chips, these vegan, gluten-free and oil-free snacks only take 3 steps to make. Simply peel and slice the lotus roots and season them with garlic powder and salt (or anything you like). After that, you can then bake, air fry, or microwave them. With full flexibility in seasoning, this crispy snack can be as healthy and as sinful as you make it to be.

Find the full recipe here.

Preparation Time: 35 minutes

Difficulty Level: 1/5

3. Koi fish jelly

Koi fish jelly as easy Chinese New Year snacks

Source: Greedy Girl Gourmet

Koi fishes are prized possessions as they represent prosperity and success. With that symbolism, koi fish jellies are often consumed during Chinese New Year and can retail for over $100 for a bundle of 6. With those extravagant prices, why not try making them at home instead? Making the jelly is a straightforward process, and exercising creativity to paint these colourful fishes could be a fun activity for both the young and old!

Find the full recipe here.

Preparation Time: 4 hours (including time taken for the jelly to set)

Difficulty Level: 1/5

4. Fried crab sticks

Air Fried Crab Sticks as easy Chinese New Year goodies to make at home

Source: Noob Cook

Making CNY goodies can’t get any simpler than this. These addictive crispy snacks are made by pulling crab sticks apart into small strips lengthwise and frying them together with curry leaves. Opt to air fry or bake them instead to reduce your oil consumption.

Find the full recipe here.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Difficulty Level: 1/5

5. Oatmeal raisin cookies

Source: Huang Kitchen

Packed with loads of vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants, oats are nutrient-dense and among the healthiest grains available. Combined with naturally sweet raisins and savoury fragrant nuts, oatmeal raisin cookies are probably one of the healthier CNY snacks out there. These bite-sized CNY goodies are thick, soft, chewy and crunchy all at once, perfect for both the young and old.

Find the full recipe here.

Preparation Time: 35 minutes

Difficulty Level: 2/5

6. Peanut cookies

Peanut cookies as easy CNY goodies to make with family

Source: Rasa Malaysia

Peanut cookies are round, bite-sized cookies that are crumbly and addictive. The steps to make these cookies are as simple as it gets. Combine the ingredients to form the dough and roll them into small balls, brush the top with egg wash for decoration, then pop it into the oven till they turn brown. Cut down on the amount of sugar and shortening that the recipe calls for a healthier option. You can also opt to replace the sugar with artificial sweeteners for a guilt-free snack.

Find the full recipe here.

Preparation Time: 40 minutes

Difficulty Level: 3/5

7. Love letters

Source: Asian Inspirations

Love letters, also known as egg rolls, are crispy thin wafers traditionally made by heating an egg batter over hot charcoal and then rolling the batter into a funnel shape. This snack is typically gluten-free, so those who are sensitive to gluten can enjoy it too.

To understand why this snack is consumed every Chinese New Year and holds significant meaning, you have to find out the endearing story behind it. In the past, lovers would discretely convey messages of affection to one another through this pastry, and the act of consuming the pastry would mean that the message was well-received and taken to heart. How poetic!

The ingredients for the batter are easy to find, but you may need to find the mould to bake it. You may be able to swap it up with a waffle cone maker if you have one.

These days, it is also common to find love letters with a modern twist — infusing additional flavours like strawberry and chocolate into the snack. Feel free to experiment and modify the recipes to suit your taste preferences too. After all, what’s most important is to create fun, precious memories with your loved ones.

Find the full recipe here.

Preparation Time: 1 hour

Difficulty Level: 5/5

8. Arrowroot chips

Arrowroot chips are made from thinly sliced bulbs of the arrowroot plant. These snacks are often widely available during the Chinese New Year period but are hard to find off-season. However, the good news is, that they are super simple to make if you ever crave them during other times of the year. Just soak and fry the thinly sliced arrowroot bulbs till they achieve a golden yellow hue. To reduce oil consumption, you can also opt to air fry them instead.

These addictive snacks are so savoury that you wouldn’t have guessed no seasoning is required. They also contain higher protein content than potatoes, so you may want to reach for this healthier alternative instead whenever you’re craving a handful of potato chips.

Find the full recipe here.

Preparation Time: 1.5 hours

Difficulty Level: 3/5

9. Almond cookies

Almond cookies as snacks to make for Chinese New Year

Source: Just One Cookbook

Almond cookies are fragrant and crumbly, best paired with coffee or tea for maximum satisfaction. They usually take on a round shape and symbolise coins and wealth. 

The main ingredient in this recipe is almond meal or flour. Some recipes may use almond flour and others use almond meal, but they are interchangeable. Almond meal is coarser and grounded with the almond skin, while almond flour, also called almond powder, refers to finely grounded almonds without skins and appear lighter in colour without speckled bits. Most of their nutritional composition is the same, but almond meal has higher fibre and mineral content, which makes it slightly healthier.

However, when replacing almond flour with almond meal in recipes, you may need to add a bit more oil to achieve the same crumbly texture.

Find the full recipe here.

Preparation Time: 40 minutes

Difficulty Level: 3/5

10. Kueh Bangkit

Source: Asian Inspiration

Impress your relatives with homemade Kueh Bangkits, one of the most popular CNY goodies around. While it may seem difficult to achieve the perfect melt-in-your-mouth texture, these light and crumbly coconut cream cookies are actually great for beginner bakers. It only requires 5 ingredients and a few steps. While finding an alternative for coconut milk is hard since it is a critical ingredient in this recipe, you can cut down on the amount of sugar for a healthier version of the Kueh Bangkit. 

Check out this recipe for delicious, melt-in-your-mouth Kueh Bangkits.

Preparation Time: 40 minutes

Difficulty Level: 4/5

11. Cashew cookies

Source: Milk and Dust

Cashew nuts are a great source of healthy fat and minerals. Plus, cashew nuts and can improve heart health when consumed in moderation. As for cashew cookies, well, they can always be made healthier by modifying the recipe when it’s baked at home!

The recipe is relatively easy to follow, consisting of combining the ingredients, chilling the dough, then forming flattened balls and baking them till golden brown.

Find the full recipe here.

Preparation Time: 2 hours

Difficulty Level: 4/5

12. Sambal shrimp rolls

Source: Tummy Troll

Salty sambal shrimp rolls, which your grandparents might know as hae bee hiam rolls, are always a refreshing change to your palate and a good contrast to balance the boxes of sweet buttery cookies and CNY goodies. These rolls are essentially dried shrimp sambal mixture wrapped in pastry skin and fried to perfection.

Make them healthier by baking or air-frying the rolls instead of the traditional method of deep frying them. To save time and effort, you may want to buy ready-made hae bee hiam, but do note that this would leave less room for healthy modifications such as reducing the amount of oil used. Regardless, rolling up these shrimp rolls is sure to be a fun family activity.

Find the full recipe here.

Preparation Time: 1 hour

Difficulty Level: 3/5

Tips for making healthier snacks

1. Reduce the amount of butter, shortening, salt and sugar in recipes

Most (if not all) of us are aware of the negative health consequences of consuming fat, salt and sugar in excess — the very ingredients that make our CNY goodies so fragrant and tasty. In fact, consuming too much of anything is rarely good for us. The key is always to consume a well-rounded diet and enjoy the food you love in moderation.

Butter, shortening, salt and sugar are all key ingredients in baking. However, there are always ways to make them healthier, and the most straightforward method is to reduce the amount of these ingredients in recipes where possible. Another way is to substitute ingredients with healthier alternatives.

2. Substitute sugar with stevia or artificial sweeteners

One of the concerns with baked goods is the amount of sugar that goes into them and its effect on our health, particularly for those with diabetes. However, this can be resolved by replacing sugar with diabetic-friendly substitutes like stevia and other artificial sweeteners in the recipes. 

One cup of sugar can be substituted with 18-24 stevia sweetener packets, ⅓ to ½ teaspoon of undiluted stevia powder or 1 teaspoon of liquid stevia extract. Since using stevia as a substitute would result in a much lower volume than sugar, you may need to make up the lost bulk of sugar by adding ⅓ cup of egg whites, apple sauce, fruit puree or yoghurt for each cup of sugar substituted. If the recipe already includes one of these bulking agents, simply increase the amount of that ingredient in the recipe. The final product may be more dense and doughy because of the substitution, but you can counter that by adding more baking powder.

On a side note, you may also want to check out our diabetic-friendly CNY snack guide.

3. Use whole-grain flour instead of regular white flour

Whole-grain flours are widely considered healthier than white flour as they are made by grinding entire grain kernels into powder, while white flour removes bran and germ — the most nutritious parts of the grain. 

Besides being a rich source of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals, whole grain flours can also add additional texture and a nutty flavour to your CNY goodies. Simply replace white or all-purpose flour in the recipes with an equal amount of whole-grain flour.

However, do note that whole-grain flour contains gluten. Those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity can try coconut, almond, potato, cassava, teff, buckwheat, sorghum, amaranth, teff, chickpea, brown rice, oat or corn flour instead.

4. Opt for healthier preparation methods

Besides baked CNY goodies, there are many snacks like lotus root chips and sambal shrimp rolls that require deep frying. To reduce your oil consumption and calorie intake, opt to air fry or bake them instead.

5. Make bite-sized goodies

Reduce the size and bake mini versions of your favourite goodies. Not only does it make it easier to share with family and friends, but bite-sized snacks also give you the full flavour at reduced fat and calories per portion.

This Chinese New Year, instead of snacking mindlessly while watching TV, get hands-on and bake those goodies while forming precious memories with your loved ones!

If you need additional support during this festive season, Homage’s Care Pros can help — from taking care of their personal needs to planning out a variety of activities like making goodies, arts and crafts, or even going out on walks and for light exercises. Have peace of mind with an experienced caregiver to help you out while creating moments with loved ones that you’ll always hold close to your heart.

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About the Writer
Tan Jia Hui
Jia Hui is a content marketer who loves helping others and hopes to make this world a kinder place in any way she can. In her pockets of free time, you can find her snacking on ice cream and fries with her 80-year-young Grandma at home.
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