Young people making use of candied fruits and nuts after Tet to make nougat
In the past three years, after the Tet holiday every year, Ms. Nguyen Thi Dung (Loc Thuy, Phu Loc) always makes nougat. As a passion, for Ms. Dung, nougat is not only making use of candied fruits and nuts after Tet, but each piece also carries wishes of love and good luck to relatives and family.
Dung shared: “According to my research, nougat is made from aromatic, fatty ingredients but still less greasy, sweet, and nutritious, helping people to feel more relaxed and optimistic. In addition, nougat is also used to treat guests at ancient French weddings. Perhaps because of that, this candy carries the symbolic meaning of luck, a wish for happiness."
The batches of candies wishing luck and peace
Besides, the wishes of this candy are also expressed through nuts, because in Western culture, each type of nut represents a different blessing.
Ms. Dung said: "It can be almonds that bring good luck and peace or walnuts that represent health and age, etc. But when imported into Vietnam, along with mixing and changing the main ingredients, the nuts used to make nougat are also selected and used more diversely, which are typical dry fruits and nuts of the tropics.
Anyone can make nougat, especially young people, when detailed videos or instructions on how to make this candy can be found on cooking forums or social networking sites. According to Ms. Dung, despite many variations, nougat is still very easy to make.
“Besides nuts and candied fruits, to make nougat, just add unsalted butter, whole milk powder, and marshmallows. These are important ingredients that help bind nuts and candied fruits as well as bring the sweet, fatty aroma characteristic of the candy,” she said.
Batches of spring nougat
Ms. Tran Nguyen Kieu Trinh (Truong Chinh Street, Hue City) said: “My family often treats guests with melon seeds, pumpkin seeds, raisins, candied fruit, and cashew nuts. So, when making nougat, I make use of all kinds of nuts and candied fruits without buying more ingredients. For me, making nougat both creates delicious food and avoids wasting nuts and candied fruits after Tet."
The steps to make nougat are very simple but still need meticulousness, timing, and adjusting the heat level. First, melt the unsalted butter, then add the marshmallows and stir continuously and evenly. Ms. Kieu Trinh said: "When unsalted butter and marshmallows are mixed, I add milk powder and stir well. Finally, I put all the melon seeds, pumpkin seeds, raisins, candied fruit, and cashews. At this point, in addition to my flexible hands and caring the fire, I have to be very careful so that the candy doesn't burn and the candied fruits and nuts are mixed well."
Nougat must be rolled on a mold with a piece of stencil while it is still warm so that the finished product is spread evenly, flat, and smooth. After letting the mixture cool, just put it in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours to be able to cut the candy into bite-sized bars.
In addition to saving money, and avoiding the waste of candied fruits and nuts after Tet, which is a delicious and nutritious snack, nougat also becomes a meaningful spring gift for young people to give to family and friends.
Kieu Trinh said: "The first batch of nougat I made was very clumsy, the candy was not smooth and even. But in the following batches, I was confident to give it to relatives and friends. I just hope that as its name suggests, nougat will bring happiness, peace, and warmth to the people I love.”
Not only making candies for her family like Kieu Trinh, Ms. Dung also receives candied fruits and nuts to make nougat for families in need. According to Ms. Dung, this is a way to avoid wasting food after Tet, both to bring her income and for customers to enjoy delicious and sweet candies from their candied fruits and nuts.
Ms. Dung confided: “Whether I make the candy or not, I still want to spread the meaningful message of this candy to everyone. Because whether it's meticulous, or still clumsy when making, nougat, as its name suggests, brings warmth, faith, and hope to the first days of the new year.
Story: Mai Hue.Photos: Thanh Van