I have a long list of kuehs' and dumplings to make. But first, I wanna make TeowChew Png Kueh.
Max told me that he doesn't really fancy Png Kueh. He felt that it is a super thick skinned tasteless kueh. I frowned when I heard how he described it. But I just braved myself to do it, even though I knew he probably won't appreciate it.
In Tradition, almost every TeowChew family will make Png Kueh for festive season and also part of the religious offering. There are white and pink version of peach dumpling. White is commonly used as offering to the ancestors, pink is used during religious praying session. In Malaysia, there's still certain TeowChew family practicing the Png Kueh's color differentiation for different purpose. But in Singapore, white colored Png Kueh almost doesn't exist anymore unless they are making it on their own at home.
This lovely pink peach shaped dumpling has two versions, differentiating different clans.
The TeowChew version's pink peach shaped dumpling is wrapped with flavorful glutinous rice filling, called 潮州饭粿 / 潮州红桃粄. The HorPor Clan (河婆) version's pink peach shaped dumpling is wrapped with crushed toasted peanuts with sugar, and this sweet dumpling is identified it as 桃粄.
Max like it pan-fried. The crusty layer of skin gives aroma, served with sweet dark soy sauce, some toasted sesame, I personally preferred to add some chopped coriander and chillies for richer in flavor. Yummm!!!
It's quite a challenge for the first time, without anyone guiding me. I need to factor in the overall taste of the Png Kueh as a whole. The skin is almost tasteless. The glutinous rice filling is savory. Both skin and filling will be eaten and chewed together in my mouth. And so, the filling must be more salty than the savory glutinous rice that we usually cook for plain eating. And this is how we balance the overall taste.
I also imagined that the Png Kueh to be pan-fried, serve with sweet black soy sauce and chilli. Sweet black soy sauce has slight saltiness, and so does chilli sauce. Hence, the saltiness of the Png Kueh itself cannot be over-powered, but at the same time, it must be flavorful, robust and aromatic. In Singapore, yes, we eat it this way. But in other places, maybe they eat it plain. If you love it in plainly steamed Png Kueh rather than pan-frying, I'd suggest you to add another half tsp of salt on your glutinous rice seasoning.
This Png Kueh is lightly pan-fried. The skin is not as thick as those selling out there. The filling is firmly pressed during wrapping, and hence, filling is fully packed, to ensure every chew gives mouthful of flavored glutinous rice. Max is totally sold by my Png Kueh. He says he'd changed the way he feels about Png Kueh. Hahaha...
You want a bite?
For Png Kueh, you need to plan ahead. Glutinous rice and chinese dried mushrooms need to be soaked overnight. So, here, I will tell you my preparation process to shorten your actual day's chore.
DO NOT get freaked out by my long writings. I'm just trying to give you as much details as you probably need. This recipe makes 20 to 22 dumplings. But it also depends on the size of your dumplings, and how thick or how thin your dumpling skin is. My dumpling skin is 45 grams each dough, and wrapped up 40 grams of glutinous rice filling.
(Source : Authentic Chinese Dumplings published by Famous Cuisine Publishers, with modification)
The Skin Dough
- 400g Rice Flour
- 80g Tapioca Flour
- 1 tbsp Caster Sugar
- 560ml Boiling Water
- ½ tsp Salt
- 2 tbsp Cooking Oil
- 360g Glutinous Rice, soaked overnight
- 60g Chinese dried mushrooms, soaked overnight
- 25g Dried Shrimps
- 12 Shallots
- 1 can of Canned Braised Peanuts
- 1 heaped tbsp Premium Oyster Sauce
- ½ tsp Sesame Oil
- 3 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
- 1½ tsp Sugar
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1½ tsp White Pepper
- 6 tbsp Water
- Sweet Dark Soy Sauce
- some toasted sesame seeds
- some chopped coriander
- some chilli sauce or sambal or whatever chilli you prefer
Preparation (The night before)
- Walk to the supermarket and get everything I need.
- Wash and soak glutinous rice. Do the same to the chinese dried mushrooms.
- Peel shallots, rinse, pat dry with kitchen towel, pack it in a plastic bag. Throw it in the fridge.
- Rinse and soak dried shrimps for 10mins. Chop up dried shrimps using chopper.
- Snip away mushrooms stems, discard. Cut mushrooms into small pieces.
- Chop up peeled shallots using chopper.
- Open up a can of braised peanuts. Discard the braised sauce. We only need the peanuts.
- In a bowl, mix all the seasoning together.
- Drain soaked glutinous rice, place it on a large plate, steam it for 25 minutes. Uncover the lid and splash some water on the glutinous rice every 10 mins steaming interim. Set aside.
To cook the Filling
- In a pre-heated wok, 4 tbsp cooking oil, saute shallots and dried shrimps over low heat until fragrant.
- Add in mushrooms, stir fry briskly over until well combined and heat through.
- Add the steamed glutinous rice, turn to low heat. With your spatula, break the lumpy glutinous rice.
- Pour in seasoning, stir and toss well. Ensure all glutinous rice is well coated with the seasoning. Stir in braised peanuts. Stir well.
- Dish out. Transfer the glutinous rice to the steamer and steam another 10mins.
- Remove from steamer and leave to cool. Cover it up with a wet towel to prevent the top layer of the glutinous rice from drying out.
You can get braised peanuts from supermarket. I used Narcissus brand. I think it taste pretty good.
To prepare the Dough
- In a mixer, add in rice flour, tapioca flour, sugar and salt. Mix well.
- While the mixer is still moving, add in boiling water and cooking oil in the flour mixture in two intervals. Half boiling water, mix, half cooking oil, mix. And then, half boiling water, mix, half cooking oil, mix. And when I said boiling water, use boiling water. Don't give me warm water and expect it to work. You need boiled water to "pre-cook" the dough here.
- Add a drop of red coloring, mix. Observe the change in color for your dough while mixer is doing the job. Is that the pink hue you want? If yes, continue to let the mixer to mix. If no, add more coloring. Do remember to add coloring abit at a time. You don't want to over-power the color.
- Continue to let the mixer mix until the dough turned entirely pink.
- Transfer the pink dough into a big bowl, and this is where you need to do it manually. Knead the dough with both palm until dough is smooth.
- Evenly divide the dough into small portions, cover it with wet cloth to prevent dough from drying. My individual dough is about 45g each.
To wrap and form the dumpling
- Form the dough into ball shape, then, make a hole, flatten it with your fingers, to create a "bowl" shape.
- Spoon in some glutinous rice filling, wrap well. My filling is about 40g for each dumpling. Firmly press the rice filling abit, so that they are packed together and you will be able to do the wrapping easier. If there's holes here and there, patch it with some extra dough pieces. It's fine. Patches would be hardly seen because it is steamed dumplings. Do it the way you prefer.
- Dust the mould with a little tapioca flour, knock the excess tapioca flour out of the mould. Dust the wrapped dumpling with a little tapioca flour too if you want. Dusting the mould is tedious. I only dust the wrapped dumpling. It works also.
- Put the wrapped dumpling into the mould, press it firmly with your palm and invert the dumpling.
- Arrange dumplings on a greased steaming tray or a plate.
- Steam the dumpling under medium heat for 10mins or until it is cooked. If your dumpling is bigger in size, steam it for another 1 or 2 minutes.
- Transfer steamed dumpling into a plate and leave it cool abit, then, grease the dumpling with some cooking oil on top to prevent them from sticking to each other.
- Serve the dumpling hot from the steamer or slowly pan-fry it to achieve crust on the skin, accompanied with sweet dark soy sauce, toasted sesame seeds, and some chilli sauce if you prefer.
This is my peach shaped wooden mould. I got it from taobao, the china shopping website. I love it and it is probably one of the nicest peach shaped mould I've found so far.
Look at the result. Isn't it lovely? It has nice round sexy butt! Max says ... "我的饭粿有屁股的!!!" Hahaha..
The medium heat steaming gives good result in retaining the nice flowery pattern on the dumpling. Absolutely lovely! However, the skin will turn abit hardened when dumpling is cooled. Just re-steam it before serving, and the skin will turn soft again.
For this first attempt, the result was satisfactory, although I do prefer the skin to be slightly softer. But again, it depends on what's your expectations on the end result. I'm quite happy with it for now. But I will continue to seek improvement. When it comes to cooking, imaginations do comes in.
TeowChew, Hor Por, Hakka, GuangDong and HuiZhou. They are so near to each other. That probably explains why there's a similarity in their traditions and cuisines. Not only the peach shaped dumpling. For example, Hor Por style Mochi 河婆客糍粑 and Hui Zhou style Mochi. They are the same. But in different shape. In Singapore, we identified it as "Muah Chee" 麻糍, in Japan, it is Mochi.
There are so many types of kuehs, dumplings and small eats to learn and explore. I'm quite into it. Are you one of them?