"Luck is like having a rice dumpling fly into your mouth"..
The Duanwu Festival, also known as the Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month in the lunar calendar - in 2012, it falls on June 23. During this celebration, the Chinese would eat "zongzi" or "bak chang" (粽子), also known as glutinous rice dumpling, drinking realgar wine xionghuangjiu (雄黃酒) and racing dragon boats.
Duanwu Festival is believed to have originated from ancient China. The best known story is that the festival commemorates the death of poet Qu Yuan of the ancient state of Chu. Qu was a descendant of the Chu royal house, serving in high offices, however when the king decided to ally with the state of Qin, Qu was accused of treason and banished. Twenty eight years later, Qin conquered the capital of Chy and Qu Yuan commited suicide by drowning himself on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. The local people who admired him (Qu wrote a great deal of poetry) dropped sticky rice triangles wrapped in bamboo leaves into the river to the feed Qu in the afterlife. The rice was wrapped so that the fish would not eat it. This is said to be the origin of zongzi. The local people are also said to paddle on dragon boats to scare the fish or retrieve the body- this is said to be the origin of the dragon boat racing.
I have always been fascinated about how a zongzi is made. My parents love eating them during the festival, so when the opportunity arose to attend a dumpling workshop at Lai Ching Yuen at Grand Millennium KL, I grabbed it.
Chef Kong of Lai Ching Yuen was our "sifu" (master/teacher) of the day. We knew that we would be in for a treat, just by looking at the sumptuous ingredients that would be used in making the dumpling. There was pork belly, duck, salted egg yolk, and dry scallop amongst them. At first, Chef Kong demonstrated to us how to put the ingredients together, before showing us how to wrap the dumplings. He makes it look simple, but trust me, it needs quite a bit of practice before getting right! I know because after he demonstrated it to us twice, each of us got to make our own dumpling which we got to take home with us. Mine actually turned out looking quite nice :) Btw, recipe will be shared in the bottom of this post, courtesy of GMKL. There are also videos which I recorded during the workshop.
All the ingredients for the dumpling workshop
The glutinous rice has been marinated in five spice powder
Lotus and bamboo leaves for wrapping the dumplings
Putting the ingredients together
Using the string, you have to repeat the tying process three times until you have formed a square in the centre
Part 1 - Putting the ingredients together
Part 2, Wrapping the dumpling
The dumplings that Chef Kong made
The other participant's dumplings - not bad for first timers :)
The dumpling that we learnt during the workshop was the glutinous rice dumpling with dried scallops and roasted duck meat. Other than that, we also got to sample the glutinous rice dumplings with abalone and Chinese mushroom, glutinous rice dumpling with roasted pork and sweet glutinous rice dumpling with white lotus paste. Lai Ching Yuen rice dumplings are available from 9 June to 23 June 2012 and are priced from RM28++ to RM68++.
A dumpling feast
Glutinous rice dumpling with dried scallops and roasted duck meat
Sweet glutinous rice dumpling with white lotus paste
Glutinous rice dumpling with roasted pork
Glutinous rice dumplings with abalone and Chinese mushroom
Recipe for glutinous rice dumpling with dry scallops and roasted duck meat
50g of streaky pork (pork belly)
50g of Pork Fat
1 pc of Salted Egg Yolk
200g of Glutinous Rice
100g of green bean
100g of Dry Lotus Leaves, soaked and dried
30g of Dry Chestnuts
20g of Bamboo Leaves, soaked and dried
15g of Strong Salt Ham
10g of Dry Scallop, soaked and drained
80g of Roasted Duck Meat
5g of Salt
10g of Chicken granules powder
10g of Five Spice Powder
20g of Vegetable Oil
1/2 bulb Garlic, finely diced
3 pcs of Shallots, finely diced
Heat 2 tablespoons cooking oil in wok and fry the garlic and shallots till lightly browned. Add glutinous rice, 1 tablespoon of ketumbar (coriander), salt and 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper powder. Stir well. Remove and leave to cool.
Marinate the streaky pork, pork fat, roasted duck meat and strong salt ham with five spice powder and chicken granules powder for at least 2 hours.
Place the lotus leaf followed by the bamboo leaf. Apply some vegetable oil on the bamboo leaf. First, place the mushroom, top side down, followed by half the glutinous rice and green bean. Top with streaky pork, strong salt ham, duck, pork fat, chestnuts, scallops and salted egg yolk. Cover with the remaining glutinous rice and green bean.
Wrap the Bak Changs. (Please watch the video, Part 2 for instructions on how to tie the bak chang).
Bring to boil a large pot of water and throw in the pandan leaves. Boil Bak Chang for 4 1/2 hours completely submerged and covered and leave to stand for 30 mins. For best results, use a charcoal stove. For quick cooking, use a pressure cooker and boil for approximately 45 minutes on pressure and leave to stand for 15 minutes.
This is bak chang that I made during the workshop and brought home. One word.. YUM!
Lai Ching Yuen rice dumplings are available from 9 June to 23 June 2012 and are priced from RM28++ to RM68++.
Full set of photos can be viewed here.
Opening times: Lunch; Monday to Friday 12.00pm - 2.30pm, Sat & Sun 11.00am - 2.30pm. Dinner; 6.30pm - 10.30pm daily.
Location: Lai Ching Yuen, Grand Millennium Hotel, 160 Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: 03-2117 4180
GPS Coordinates: 3.147694, 101.712338