Monday, June 10, 2013

Lye Water Rice Dumplings / 鹼水粽 (aka Kee Zhang)

Oh! I just couldn't tell you how much I love this! Cantonese called this Gan Sui Joong (鹼水粽), also known as Kee Chang in Hokkien is one of the most basic rice dumplings during the Chinese Rice Dumplings Festivals. But I also knows that this lye water rice dumpling is the least favorite to most modern people nowadays. Some don't even wanna look at it.

But Woohhhh!!! Look at my Kee Chang! The smokey effect! Hehehe...


Last year, I posted My Mama's Savory Rice Dumpling (我妈妈的咸肉粽) recipe and Nyonya Rice Dumpling (娘惹粽子) recipe. This year, I'm gonna post Lye Water Rice Dumplings (鹼水粽) recipe.

This rice dumpling may appear to be boring and taste bland. But hey! When you get the dipping right, you will fall in love with it! It can be anything sweet! I love to dunk my Kee Chang in Gula Melaka (Palm Sugar), or Kaya (Coconut Jam), or some really good Honey, or even just plain fine grain white sugar! One dumpling, but many ways of enjoying it :)


I want my Kee Chang to have golden effect. So, I used some really nice Honey to do the photography work :)

This recipe makes about 35 to 40 rice dumplings. Depends on how big you want your rice dumplings to be. I've got 37pcs if I'm not wrong. If you are not feeding a village or giveaway, half of the recipe will do :)

Ingredients
  • 1 kg Glutinous Rice
  • 1 Lye Rock (鹼水头)
  • 40 to 50pcs of Dumpling Leaves (or more, incase some leaves are not in good shape)
  • some grass strands to tie the dumplings

Method

  1. Prepare dumpling leaves. Boil the dumpling leaves for 20mins or upto 30mins if you are boiling alot of leaves. Remember to add in the grass strands and boil together. Let the whole pot of leaves cool down on it's own. Use water to kinda gently wash them, drained. Use a cloth to wipe the leaves piece by piece. Set aside for later use. 
  2. Use mortar pestle to break the lye rock into small pieces. Add broken lye bits into a bowl of water, stir until dissolved. Some people says it will speed up this process if hot water is used. I never try it before. I just use room temperature water. It worked fine. It dissolves well.
  3. Wash glutinous rice for few times until water runs clear. Add enough water to cover the rice by 5cm or so. Pour in the bowl lye water into the rice and give it a good stir. Make sure it is mixed evenly. Leave it soaked overnight thoroughly.
  4. The next day, drain the rice using colander. Once rice well drained, you could start wrapping the dumplings. 
  5. Once dumplings are wrapped, using a big pot, cook half pot of water. Once water is boiled, add in the rice dumplings and let it cook for at least 2 hours (if you have 20+pcs in the pot), or upto 3 hours or more (if you have more dumplings in the pot).
  6. To check if dumplings are done, simply dish up one dumpling, unwrap it and check if the inside of the dumpling is soft enough. If it is hard or bitter, continue to boil for another 20 or 30 mins. 
  7. Once dumplings are cooked, remove dumplings from water and hang it up. Let it air dry and cool down for at least 1 hour before eating. 

The most painful part about making nice Kee Chang is the rice picking work. Nope! I'm not asking you to go to the paddy field to harvest glutinous rice yourself. But you have to pick the jasmine rice out of the bag of glutinous rice! For dunnowot reason, glutinous rice available in Malaysia and Singapore somehow mixed with a little bit of jasmine rice. I hate it! And this is where all the "rice-picking" work came in. You could skip this step if you are feeling lazy. But in order to make some really good Kee Chang that gives you every good mouthful of gooey and waxy feel, you really have to do this "pain-in-your-arse" work if you want quality Kee Chang. Last year, I get my MIL and Max to help me. This year, I've got Henny and Linda! Haha :)


This is the lye rock 鹼水头 (a.k.a Kee in Hokkien). Easily available at any grocery shops or even supermarket during rice dumpling festivals. It should cost about 20cts to 30cts per piece. If you are staying in Malaysia, usually they sell lye water instead. After soaked for 2 hours. The lye water gives really nice color to the glutinous rice. But NO... 2 hours isn't enough. You got to soak this overnight! :)


Ooohhhh!!! Look at this sexy shiny and waxy looking Kee Zhang! Yumms!!!


If you intend to learn how to make rice dumplings, Kee Chang is the 1st rice dumpling you should try making. They are the easiest of all and they are the best rice dumpling for you to practice wrapping because if you failed to shape your dumpling, you could always re-wrap it again and again as long as the dumpling leaf is still in good shape. And yes! Henny and Linda picked up rice dumpling skills through wrapping Kee Chang too!

Don't forget to take a look at My Mama's Savory Rice Dumpling (我妈妈的咸肉粽) recipe and Nyonya Rice Dumpling (娘惹粽子) recipe too!


Happy Rice Dumpling Festival everyone! :)

20 comments:

  1. 哇!这个点上椰糖浆好好吃哦。。。。。。 你很pandai也。

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  2. Annie, the colour very golden lah! When I was small I don't like this chang but I learnt to appreciate it much later after eating it with kaya :)

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    Replies
    1. Phong Hong, Eat with Gula Melaka lagi sedap! :D

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  3. hi Annie,

    what's the equivalent amount of lye water in replacement of the lye rock? I didn't even know lye rock exist, I only know of the liquid kind!-Simone

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    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous, I'm not sure about the equivalent amount of lye water in replacement of lye rock. For lye rock, one rock makes 1kg glutinous rice. Lye water is not available in Singapore. So, Lye rock is the only thing I know and I used. Maybe you may wanna ask around?

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  4. Such a beautifully wrapped dumpling.
    thanks for the method.!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Gin, thanks for visiting. Do visit my other recipe too :)

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  5. May I know where can I buy lye rock??

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    Replies
    1. Hello Jiamin, if you are staying in Singapore, you can get Lye Rock easily at NTUC or any sundries shops during rice dumplings festival :)

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  6. It's a pity my mum cannot eat kee. She once ate those yellow kee noodles and vomited so much in a day, she lost like 5kg and it took months for her to gain the weight back. It wasn't food poisoning since my dad ate the same noodles too. She suspect she might have reaction to kee has never eaten anything with kee since then.

    I don't really like kee zhang either 'cos of the smell? Maybe the ones my parents bought last time weren't that good? I guess I should try it again some time in the future with gula melaka.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Bri, I guess you havent get the right one. If you've got the right one, with the right dipping that you love, you will totally get hooked :)

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  7. ivy sew http://simplybeautifulhealthyliving.blogspot.comJune 12, 2013 at 11:04 PM

    Hi Annie, I love kee zhang too. The colour of your kee zhang already beh ta han :)

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  8. Ah I love these and I love your blog!
    The pictures make everything so appealing. Are you from Malaysia?
    My mom's side is from Malaysia and I love going back there to visit!

    Keep up the good work! =P

    kfclovesyou.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Hi KFC, yes! I'm from Malaysia, but staying in Singapore. Thank you for visiting my blog. Your blog looked awesome too! :)

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  9. How to ensure the kee chang not to stick to dumpling leaf ???

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    Replies
    1. Some people uses small amount of Borax to avoid kee chang from sticking to dumpling leaf. However, Borax is only available in some part of Malaysia.

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  10. About one table spoon of lye water to one kilo of rice give and take. I used lye water

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  11. Did you use borax in your dumpling? If no, can teach me how to avoid sticking you the leaf? Thanks!

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  12. Do you drain rinse out next day or just drain out the lye water Annie?

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