Thursday, February 3, 2011

"Joong" Hay Fat Choy!

Today is the first day of the year of the Rabbit and I proudly made an authentic Chinese delicacy. It’s called Joong, sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves.

Richard was raised on this and his earliest recognition is eating it at Chinese New Year. With the popularity of Dim Sum, it can be enjoyed everyday. I love it and it’s a specialty and quite unique. Not one is exactly alike. It has all the elements of a comfort food that I find pleasing.

Because of Richard, my Chinese cooking is pretty good and I found it both fun and challenging. It’s not your regular grocery item. And, not every Asian store carries the ingredient. I’m a Quebecer and growing up I never knew of any restaurant to carry this dish. It’s quite the joy to discover it through Richard and rewarding to actually make it. It’s easy.

This is like Tourtier, a Quebec family delicacy of meat pie. Every Quebec family has their own recipe.
Heres my interpretation of the old Chinese dish called, Joong...

First you have to gather all the ingredients. I admit, I wanted to include preserved duck eggs. But, I bought the wrong type and it was stinky and I had to toss it out. Every ingredient has it’s own in this, mainly flavoring. Richard tells me he grew up seeing it incased in dirt and found in an obscure Chinese grocery store in Edmonton.

The main ingredients (found in Chinese stores).
This makes 14 Joong…
1.              (2 ½ lbs.)     Glutinous Rice
2.              (42)             Banana Leaves dry
3.              (1 C)            Raw Peanuts
4.              (1/2 C)         Dry Shrimp
5.              (10)             Dry Chinese mushrooms
6.              (4 )              Chinese Sausage
7.              Preserved Chestnut (optional)
8.              Preserved Duck Eggs (optional)
9.              Roll of White String (no dye it’s toxic)
10.          Soya Sauce
11.          Cooking Oil

The night before; soak your banana leaves in warm water and soak your rice in separate bowl. Best to use the bowl of soaked rice to add weight so the leaves don't float to the surface. Next day sterilize by immersing your leaves in a pot of hot water. Then separately soak your shrimp and mushrooms in hot water until soft. Best to buy the mushrooms sliced, they soak faster. And precook your peanuts by boiling in a pot for about 15 minutes.

Rinse your mushrooms & shrimp and saute them in cooking oil add a dash of soya sauce and set aside. Rinse the rice place in a bowl and mix in ¼ C of soya sauce and set aside. Slice your Chinese sausages and your ready to wrap.

Here’s the fun part. Start with two leaves that you roll the end to form a cone. Hold with your left hand and put in 3 T of rice. Then add the rest: a few sausages, peanuts, shrimp/mushroom mix. Place a third leaf to add height to your cone. Having fun yet?

If you really need to see it go online there’s plenty of video’s on how to roll your Joong.
Layer again with more rice and fold neatly into a compact shape. Don’t be scare it doesn’t have to be beautiful but importantly hold the rice. Tie it securely with the string.

Gather all the Joong’s together in a large pot of boiling water for 2 hours to finish the cooking. When ready, piping hot, unwrap and discard the leaves (or compost them) and enjoy your homemade Joong! Oh yeah, add a splash of soya sauce to taste.

They will keep in the fridge in an uncovered container up to seven days… if they last that long. However, if you have too many just freeze them. Make sure you re-boil them for 15 minutes before eating. Enjoy!

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