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Make Desserts and Learn the Chinese Zodiac (Episode 5): Mouse and Monkey German Cookies

MILLIE | JULY 06, 2020
This is Episode 5 of our “Make Desserts and Learn Chinese” series! If you missed the first few episodes, you can check them out here: 

Episode 5: Mouse and Monkey German Cookies

Check out Episode 5 of the series below, where we learn how to make German cookies - 德国酥饼 (dé guó sū bǐng) that look like the mouse/rat - 鼠 (shǔ) and the monkey - 猴 (hóu).

You’ll also learn some interesting things about these two zodiacs, including their significance in some eastern and western pop-culture references!

If you’re curious about what your zodiac animal is, look for it in this infographic:

The Mouse/Rat - 鼠 (shǔ)

Zodiac Years: If you were born in the years 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, or 2008, your zodiac is the rat!

Zodiac Traits: People born in the year of the rat are said to be hard-working, lucky, smart, outgoing, adaptable, positive, and have a great memory. Their weaknesses include being timid, stubborn, petty, and picky.

The character Remy in the movie Ratatouille is also a rat, is the true embodiment of the traits of the Chinese zodiac rat - perhaps not by coincidence!

Suitable Careers: Those born in the year of the rat are best suited for careers where they can exercise their creativity and attention to detail, so they make great artists, architects, authors, teachers, doctors, and engineers. They tend to shy away from leadership and political positions.

Compatibility: They are most compatible with the ox and dragon, but their best match is our next zodiac - the monkey! The rat is least compatible with the horse and rooster.

The Monkey - 猴 (hóu)

The monkey is another zodiac animal that is important in the Chinese culture. If you’ve ever heard about the story "The Journey to the West", you might know that it features the Monkey King, among other noteworthy animal characters. 

(Interestingly enough, monkeys are known to also eat tangerines in China, rather than just bananas like in the West!)

Zodiac Years: If you were born in 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992 or 2004, your Chinese zodiac is the monkey!

Zodiac Traits: People born in the year of the monkey are known to be wise, enthusiastic, sociable, creative, and determined. Their weaknesses are they can be impatient, arrogant, jealous and suspicious. 

Suitable Careers: If you were born in the year of the monkey, it’s said that you’ll be most successful in creative careers like journalists, freelancers and entertainers, and challenging and risky careers, like athletes, stockbrokers, detectives, lawyers, businessmen and businesswomen.

Compatibility: The monkey matches well with the ox and the rabbit, snake and dragon. It also matches very well with the rat. Their worst matches include the tiger and pig.

Key Vocabulary in Episode 5 

  • 德国酥饼 (dé guó sū bǐng) - German cookies
  • 酥 (sū) - crispy
  • 无盐黄油 (wú yán huáng yóu) - unsalted butter
  • 糖粉 (táng fěn) - powdered sugar
  • 低筋面粉 (dī jīn miàn fěn) - cake flour
  • 土豆淀粉 (tǔ dòu diàn fěn) - potato starch
  • 奶粉 (nǎi fěn) - milk powder
  • 色素 (sè sù) - pigment/food coloring
  • 可可粉 (kě kě fěn) - cocoa powder
  • 鼠 (shǔ) - mouse/rat
  • 猴 (hóu) - monkey
  • 西游记 (xī yóu jì) - Journey to the West
  • 米老鼠 (mǐ lǎo shǔ) - Mickey Mouse

Try recreating these delicious zodiac-themed German cookies, and let us know how they are!

Recipe Ingredients:

  • Unsalted butter: 60g
  • Powdered sugar: 20g
  • Cake flour: 40g
  • Potato starch: 75g
  • Milk powder: ½ tsp
  • Cocoa powder: 1 tsp
  • Food coloring: use as desired (a few drops)
  • Melted chocolate for decoration: use as desired

Learn More

Be on the lookout for the FINAL episode of this zodiac-themed cooking series, to see what our final dessert and last two zodiac animals are! It might be the best dessert yet - you don’t want to miss it!

2020年是什么生肖年?(èr líng èr líng nián shì shén me shēng xiào nián) - What zodiac year is 2020? 

Let us know in the comments below!

Since we learned about 德国酥饼 (dé guó sū bǐng) - German cookies - today, if you want to learn about 德国 (dé guó) and other country names, check out the Lecture Notes in this free lesson from our Beginner course.

If you’re just starting out learning Mandarin, you can go through Level 1 of the course for FREE, so start here with Lesson 1.