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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Homemade Chinese Rice Dumplings

Time and tide awaits for no men, and half year is almost gone. Chinese calendar 5th of May i.e. Duan Wu Festival has approached and various types of Chinese rice dumplings from different Chinese heritage could be seen selling in most markets. Our family had the basic Cantonese style, savory type in which my grandmom used to make when she was here.

Well, my super-mom had learnt the skills of making rice dumplings. The advantages of having home-cooked rice dumplings are able to control the quality and quantity of ingredients filling in the rice dumplings. The disadvantage is the hassle of preparing the ingredients and it takes significant hours to cook the rice dumplings. This year, the residential area rule restricts burning charcoal (otherwise the sensitive fire alarm might be ringing non-stop), so we my mom changes the way of cooking them.

As shown in the photo below, various ingredients have to be prepared before wrapping the rice dumplings. The bamboo leaves have to be soaked in water over a fortnight and dried off with clean cloth. The main character of the rice dumplings i.e. pork belly had to be marinated with five spice powder,pepper, oyster sauce and dark soya sauce over a fortnight as well. Black-eye peas (mei dou) ,dried shitake mushrooms, dried shrimps, preserved egg yolk, chestnuts were cooked before the day of wrapping rice dumplings.

So,which is your most favourite ingredient? My choice is the roasted chestnut.

Before wrapping the rice dumplings, stir fry garlic and shallots until fragrant, then add in the glutinous rice. Subsequently, add in dark soya sauce, five spice powder and salt. My mom mixed some of the black-eye peas with glutinous rice.

The dumplings-wrapping process was considered easy when the ingredients were prepared well. My mom used two bamboo leaves in which one was placed on top of another, then just wrapped it into a triangular shape.

A layer (2 spoonful) of glutinous rice was placed in the bamboo leaves. Then a small well is made in order to fill in the pork,dried shrimps, dried shitake mushroom, chestnuts, black eye pea and preserved egg yolk.
Finally, cover up the fillings with one to two spoonful of glutinous rice mixed with black eye peas.

The bamboo leaves were then folded gently to cover the dumplings and tied up with the grass strands. According to my mom, the hardest part of rice dumplings making is the packing a firm rice dumpling. Otherwise the bamboo leaves might be opened up when being boiled.

The final step: Place these wrapped rice dumplings into big pots filled with water; boil using medium heat up to three hours.

So, what's now? Awaiting for the rice dumplings to be served hot shortly.. :)

Similar Post: Dumpling-Making Day