Showing posts with label 1g.Hakka. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1g.Hakka. Show all posts

Monday, 6 June 2011

Hakka mochi zhongzi 客家粄粽

Ker ja bun zong 客家粄粽

Zhongzi can be written as 子 or 糭子

Today is Duan Wu Festival 端午節 or Dragon Boat Festival. The origin and story behind this festival see Wiki. Zhongzi or leaf wrapped dumplings are a must to be eaten during this festival.

There are few ways to wrap zhongzi. Most people use bamboo leaves, available dried in most countries and fresh is available in some S E Asian countries. Other leaves may be used. Nyonya style zhongzi sometime added pandan leaves mainly to add flavour. Shapes of zhongzi, the most common are triangular shape and a longish pillow shape. I always wrap mine in triangular shape.

These are different zhongzi recipes posted previously. More detailed pictures available for wrapping.
Five spice, peanut and pork zhongzi
Lye zhongzi

Today recipe is a different type of zhongzi made with a rice flour dough than the usual with glutinous rice grains. This is a Hakka delicacy called bun zong 粄粽 or guo zong 粿粽.

The resulting dumplings pastry is similar in texture to mochi. Soft and chewy.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Hakka steamed dumpliings 客家茶粿

Chinese name: Hakka chai guo 客家茶粿 or Hakka chai bao 客家菜包

In Brunei we called these dumplings chai kuih. I remembered in our family we used to have them for breakfast nearly every weekend, we buy them from the kuih lady in the market. Eventually we learnt how to make them and have them as and when we feel like making some. I have never seen these dumplings in UK restaurants, the only way I can have them is make my own.

The dumplings pastry has a soft chewy texture. Nice eaten hot, freshly steamed or reheated in the steamer. Reheating in the microwave is ok but sometime the pastry can be a bit dry.

My pastry recipe use rices flour and tapioca flour. I have seen some Taiwanese recipes use rice flour and glutinous flour.

Here is the recipe if you like to give it a try.


A. Dough (makes about 50 dumplings, a big plateful)

Part 1
250g oriental rice flour
150g tapioca flour
700ml(g) water
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cooking oil

Part 2
about 100g rice flour
some cooking oil


  1. Mix all ingredients in Part 1 together till no lumps. Pour this into a pan, heat at medium heat and stir continuously till the mixture become a very thick paste. Cover and leave to cool. This will take over 1 hour till the paste is cool enough to handle.
  2. Sprinkle the working area with some rice flour from Part 2. Scrape the paste onto the dusted flour. Sprinkle more flour on top of paste. Knead and fold in rest of the the rice flour. This is very messy job will stick to all your hands and fingers. Knead till the dough is smooth without lumps and all flour is incorporated. Scrap the sticky dough off your hands with a spatula. Clean hands.
  3. Put some cooking oil in a small bowl. Now brush/dip the spatula with oil and scrape the dough to a rounded lump. Grease both hands with oil then lightly knead the dough and form into a smooth round lump.
  4. Divide the dough into few pieces. Roll each into a sausage about 2.5cm thick. Then cut with a oil greased spatula or knife into small pieces, each about 22 - 25g each.
  5. Roll each piece with oil greased hands then put aside.

Make this filling while the dough paste is cooling.

about 600g peeled mooli (daikon) or jicama (mungkuang)
about 200g pickle mustard (hum choi)
about 250 minced (ground) pork
about 50g dried shrimps
about 10 cloves garlic
2 tsp sugar
2 - 3 tbsp light soy
salt to taste
ground pepper to taste
about 2 - 3 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp cornflour mix with a little water
4 - 5 stalks of spring onion (scallion), chopped

* I much preferred jicama but this vegetable is not something I can get locally. So I used mooli.

  • Shred mooli or jicama with a cheese grater. Sqeeze out excess water to about 450 - 480g.
  • Cut/shred pickle mustard into very fine strips. Have a taste if pickle is salty soak with water for few minutes then squeeze out excess water.
  • Soak dried shrimps for about 10 - 15minutes then chop.
  • Chop garlic.
  • In a wok, add few tbsp oil. Heat and add 1/4 of the garlic. Fry till till fragrant add dried shrimps and pork. Mash the pork till no large lumps. Stir fry till the meat has turned brown and any liquid is drying. Add in some light soy, sugar and pepper to taste.
  • Add shredded mooli (or jicama) and pickled mustard. Stir fry till vegetables are softened and heated through. Have a taste see if you need more light soy or salt to taste. Finally drizzle in slackened cornflour. Stir till thickened then add remaining chopped garlic and spring onion. Remove onto a plate, spread it out and leave to cool.

Now time to wrap dumplings

Put about 1/2 cup of rice flour in a container or bowl. This is for dusting to prevent dough sticking.

Take a piece of parchment paper. Cut it to fit the steamer tray. Then punch many holes with a sharp skewer to let steam flow and prevent condensation logging in between dumplings during steaming.

  • Take a piece dough. Lightly coat with dry rice flour. Coat fingers with some flour too to prevent dough sticking to hand and fingers..
  • Then roll it out quite thin about 1.5mm thick.
  • Take the dough onto one hand. Put some filling on one side of dough.
  • Fold the dough into half moon shape. Pinch and seal the edge
  • Then place the dumpling with the seal edge facing up in the middle like in picture.
  • Place dumplings on paper lined steamer tray. Continue wrapping the dumplings till the tray is full. Can also place any extra dumplings on a greased tray to steam for later. Cover dumplings with tea towels to prevent drying.
  • Heat steamer till water is boiling. Steam dumplings for about 4 -5 minutes on high heat till dumplings are cooked and pastry looks semi translucent.
  • Brush cooked dumplings with a little oil to prevent drying and sticking to other dumplings when piling up on a plate.

Plateful of dumplings

Eat them while hot or reheat, on their own or with some light soy, chilli sauce or chilli oil.

Great for breakfast, brunch or snack anytime of the day and night.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Hakka fried pork braised with woodears 客家炸肉燜木耳

Most People called this char yoke, meaning fried pork. The pork is fried then braised. It's similar braising pork like hong shao rou. The dish is flavoured predominantly with red fermented beancurd and five spice powder. Quite a simple recipe, other than the flavourings there are only two ingredients pork and woodears. Probably the only recipe that uses the most woodears in my experience. Not the prettiest dish but quite tasty with plain rice and some steamed or fried green vegetables. The pork is tender and the woodears are soft yet slightly crunchy.

Do not substitute red fermented beancurd with white fermented beancurd, the flavour is different.

Recipe will feed 4 - 5 people


Pork and marinade
about 1 kg pork belly or shoulder (best with skin and fat), cut into chunks
1 rounded tbsp fermented red beancurd (about 2.5 small squares or 0.75 pc large square), finely mashed + 1.5 tbsp of the pickling juice
1 rounded tsp sugar
1 tsp five spice powder
good pinch of ground pepper
2 - 3 tsp soy sauce
1 rounded tbsp cornflour

about 1 cup of oil for frying

Rest of ingredients
about 60 - 75 g woodear (best use the thickest type you can find, more crunchy)
1 rounded tbsp of red fermented beancurd ( about 2.5 little square or 0.75 pc large square), mashed
1 tsp of five spice
5 - 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tbsp shaoshing wine
some light soy to taste
some oyster sauce to taste (optional)
pinch of ground pepper

  1. Mix pork with the marinade and leave in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Soak woodears in water till softened then tear into pieces and remove the hard stem. If you using the large thick type, when soaked some can be expanded to 5 - 6 inches wide. Because this takes quite a while to stew best use thick woodears, flimsy ones or ready shredded may be too soft after stewing.
  3. Heat oil in wok till hot then fry the pork in several batches at medium high heat till golden brown. Be careful oil may spit due to the pork skin, don't get too close. If the oil starts spitting turn the heat down. When done remove pork and place in large metal sieve, large spider skimmer or colander to drain off any excess fat. This pork can be eaten like this without stewing, quite nice too.
  4. When frying is done, remove oil and wash the wok because they could be a sticky layer on the wok.
  5. Heat about 1 - 2 tbsp of oil and fry the garlic then add in the red fermented beancurd and five spice, stir fry till fragrant.
  6. Add a splash of shaoshing wine. Add in the pork and woodears. Stir for a while.
  7. Add enough boiling water to nearly cover pork and woodears. Let this boil for 2 - 3 minutes, cover with lid and lower heat to simmer for about 40 minutes or till the meat is tender.
  8. Taste if salty, then add light soy and/or oyster sauce and pinch of ground pepper.

Fermented Red beancurd

I had used so many different types of fermented red beancurd; in tin (can), glass jar and ceramic jars. My latest favourite is this one below. It's from Shanghai with a nice ceramic jar, suitable for storing garlic later. The fermented beancurd and juice are stored in a plastic bag, so the jar is not stained. The beancurds are quite large not the tinny squares. The smell is much nicer than any other brands I had tried. I can smell a nice fragrance from the fermented red yeast rice 紅麴米 . (Red yeast rice is what gives this fermented beancurd the deep red colour). Truly recommend this. Not the cheapest around £3+ for a jar.

Do keep fermented red beancurd in fridge if you are not using it often. Prolong storing at room temp. or in a warm room can over ferment it and it could smell sour or foul.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Abacus Beads 算盤子

To go with CNY and celebration food, I had made some Chinese gnocchi called Abacus beads 算盤子. This is typical Hakka cuisine and is eaten at most Hakka celebration meals. It’s a good luck dish because the dumplings are round, smooth, sticky and chewy similar in meaning to Chinese as the sticky rice dumplings as mentioned in the last post. These round dumplings are made to look like the beads on the ancient Chinese calculator the abacus, eating them are considered a blessing for good luck, wealth and fortune and children will be brainy to count and good with maths! Such is Chinese superstition!

Very similar to the making of Italian gnocchi, instead of potato we use Chinese yam or taro which looks like this, if you can’t get the fresh one get some frozen like this pack I got from my local Chinese supermarket. For the flour, we use tapioca starch. The dumplings are quite chewy compared to gnocchi. Once boiled the dumplings are stir fried with vegetabls, meat or anything you like. I have also seen the dumplings deep fried rather than boiled, I guessed deep fried could be nice but may be greasy.

This recipe is the typical method to stir fry these dumplings.

To make the dumplings:
about 500 – 550g Chinese yam or taro
about 180 – 225g tapioca starch
some water (optional if needed)
1 tsp of salt
About 4 – 5 tbsp of cooking oil


  1. If you use fresh taro, peel and cut into thick slices about 1 – 1.5 cm thick. Cautions: Do wear gloves if you handle fresh taro some people can be allergic to the sap oozing out when you peel the skin. If you use frozen just leave the taro to defrost overnight in the fridge.
  2. Then lined a steamer with baking paper and pierce the paper to allow steam to flow through and condensation to flow back into the pan. Place the taro pieces on the paper and steamed till cooked through.
  3. Take them out and mash while hot and add in the starch, add oil and enough starch and mix/knead till you get the a smooth and firm enough dough, if too dry add some water, if too wet and sticky add a bit more starch. The amount of starch needed depends on the water content of the taro itself and how much water it has absorbed through steaming. The more starch added the chewier the dumplings. To test if you got the right textur, take a walnut piece of the dough and roll into a ball and gently press in the centre with your thumb to make a deep dimple if it cracks badly then it is too dry, add more water or a bit more oil till you get a soft enough dough.
  4. Then divide the dough into 3 – 4 pieces. Then roll each piece into a sausage and cut into equal bite size piece. Roll each piece of dough into a ball and pinch gently in the centre with your thumb and index finger together to make a deep dimple (both sides) like a belly button or a Werther original sweet. See slide show as mentioned above.
  5. Boil a large pan of water and boil these dumplings, don’t crowd the pan. Wait till the dumplings float onto the top and boil for another 30 seconds or so before you scoop them out with a slotted spoon. Put the dumpling on a plate. Leave to cool slightly before stir fry. If you want to make in advance can keep in the fridge up to 2 days before stir fry.
  6. Before you are ready to stir fry, sprinkle water onto the dumplings pull and to release them if they stuck together.

Ingredients for the stir fry:
about 2 tbsp of cooking oil
about 2 - 3 large dried shitake mushrooms (about 4 – 5 cm wide), soaked and thinly sliced
about 2 - 3 large piece of dried wood ears or black fungus, soaked and thinly sliced
about 3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
about 1 tbsp of chopped ginger
about 1 large chilli chopped (optional if you like spicy)
about small handful of Chinese preserved radish or choi bo, chopped
about 2 heap tbsp of dried shrimps, soaked for 5 mins then roughly chopped
about 125 -150g of minced pork
about 2 tsp dark soy
about 2 – 3 tsp light soy
about 1tbsp of oyster sauce
pinch of ground pepper
dash of sesame oil
handful of chopped spring onion
handful of chopped coriander

  1. In a wok or large sauté pan, add the cooking oil and heat till hot, add garlic and ginger stir fry for few seconds then add mushrooms, wood ear, preserved radish and dried shrimps, stir fry till fragrant. Add minced pork and fry till browned and mince has separated, add a dash of dark soy.
  2. Add in the separated dumplings, stir fry till hot add dash of light soy and oyster sauce to taste and chopped chillies stir for few minutes, add in drizzle of sesame oil and pinch of ground pepper. When ready stir in spring onion and coriander.
  3. Serve hot.

Suitable for vegetarian: omit pork and dried shrimps, use more of the vegetable or include diced or grated carrots and or fried tofu pieces. Sub oyster sauce with veggie oyster sauce.