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Joong & Joongzi: The Topic


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Here is a sneak preview of my soon-to-be joong2 webpage. This was the how-to session on June 11 with my international students and friends.

Dejah: You sure use a lot of "liu" for your joong. No wonder that you need to use 3 leaves to wrap it. :smile:

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Here is a sneak preview of my soon-to-be joong2 webpage. This was the how-to session on June 11 with my international students and friends.

Dejah: You sure use a lot of "liu" for your joong. No wonder that you need to use 3 leaves to wrap it. :smile:

That's why everyone wants my joong! :laugh: The proportion is still about 1/3 liu to 2/3 rice. You just can't see the back part of the joong, which is all rice.

My sister will take 3 doz back to Vancouver with her because of the liu. Uncle Ben will get some when he comes out in July. Maybe he'll give a report after he gets home as to whether there is too much liu. I believe he said upthread that he was a connoisseur of joong. :laugh:

If I want lots of rice, I may as well just cook a pot of rice with acouple of lapcheung. I put hours of prep. and TLC into these suckers, so I want to make my eating worthwhile. :wink:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Finished my second joong session...Whew! With my big stock pot and turkey fryer, I am able to boil 3 doz at a time. Had some for supper. By God! They were great! :wub:

Didn't take pictures today but the packets were bigger than usual because of the amount of liu. You should have seen them this time! hzrt: BBQ duck, salty pork, lapcheung, egg yolk, chestnut, peanuts, onion, dried shrimp meat, Chinese mushrooms, and rice. :wink:

The second batch is boiling now...in a thunderstorm! I have to top it up with a kettle of boiling water every half hour.

In one of the packets of leaves, I found a bundle of grass string. Mom was quite excited about them as that's what she used in China.

She told how as a young girl, their job was to shred these long pieces of grass into thinner strands, tied them together and wind the one long piece into a ball like yarn. Then they'd use it like I use my cone of string.

She also told how she learned to wrap joong by collecting discarded leaves, using sand for the rice, and practising the technique until she was able to do them properly.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Unable to find time to make joong this season, last weekend I picked up a couple of them in a restaurant on Stockton Street in the heart of San Francisco China Town. Thinking... it's from China Town... must be good!

Wrong! What a big disappointment!

Each joong is wrapped with 4 bamboo leaves. I suppose they could have done it with 3.

One of them has sticky rice, peanuts, 2-inch cut of lap cheung, and a piece of fatty pork (this one has no mung bean).

The other one has sticky rice, mung beans, 2-inch cut of lap cheung, and a piece of fatty pork (this one has no peanut).

No mushroom, dried shrimp, salted egg yolk in sight. The sticky rice is very soft. It feels as if they had been in the boiler for over 8 hours. :raz: The rice "fell apart" as soon as I unwrapped it. :angry::angry::angry:

This goes to show: if you want something done well, you might just need to do it yourself! Or you should call 1-800-dejah-I-want-your-joong! :wink:

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Sorry you weren't able to get thru' on your call; the 1-800-Dejah line has been busy all day... :laugh:

I tied several packets with the grass instead of string. Won't do that again as I lost one joong when the grass came loose in the boiling. :sad: Made a mess as well as losing all the goodies. I made the ones for our son who doesn't like mushrooms. This last batch, his, I double tied with regular string, but left the grass on for identification.

Looked authentic tho'...

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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  • 3 weeks later...

Met up with Ben Hong yesterday for yum cha. I think he was impressed with the quality of the dim sum in Winnipeg's Chinatown, if not with the weather!

We had a great visit with another bi-racial family whom he met on his hunting trip here in November.

I remembered to pack his joongzi. Now, we'll wait to see if HE thinks I have too much liu in the joong! :laugh::laugh:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Found some pictures of some home-made joong.  Look pretty good!

http://www.basil.idv.tw/Main/Diary/2004/040622/01.jpg

http://www.basil.idv.tw/Main/Diary/2004/040622/03.jpg

Fillings: Black mushrooms, chestnuts, salty pork, salty duck egg yolk, peanuts.

Hi,

This photos looks so good. Can you throw together steps in how you make yours? I just made some this weekend, for my mom and grandma. Iam not chinese but we love it enough for me to attempt it. Here is what I made, not sure if its right. I just have an idea whats in it from eating them.

Soaked the sweet rice along with dried mushrooms and dried shrimp ( was hoping the flavors would be soaked in the rice. Sauteed some shallots and star anise in oil, addedsome chicken stock, and soy sauce and the rice, with salt and rock sugar. Removed the shrimp and mushrooms before I added rice. Cooked till its a little translucent.

Filling : Sauteed garlic and shallots, added some sliced chinese sausages, the dried shrimp I soaked, shitake mushrooms, chestnut paste ( had some chestnut paste in hand, next time i will buy the chestnuts sold as a snack), toasted peanuts, Chinese white wine, 5-spice powder, and some star anise, salt, pepper, sugar.

Cooled and wrapped.

I wrapped with banana leaves. I havent found any bamboo leaves yet. Maybe I will try the Ranch 99 supermarket here. I found my toasted peanuts didnt cook through. Iam also confused of what shape it should be? Pyramid or a 3-D triabgle or square like? I tied it with just these pink wires which worked. My rice wasnt all one piece when I cut it open, it was very soft.

Any suggestions on how to improve this would be helpful. Thanks all. I know you guys are pros at making them. :)

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Found some pictures of some home-made joong.  Look pretty good!

http://www.basil.idv.tw/Main/Diary/2004/040622/01.jpg

http://www.basil.idv.tw/Main/Diary/2004/040622/03.jpg

Fillings: Black mushrooms, chestnuts, salty pork, salty duck egg yolk, peanuts.

Any suggestions on how to improve this would be helpful. Thanks all. I know you guys are pros at making them. :)

Check my URL posted above, post # 75. It's a pictorial of how I made my joong.

Your process is not clear. It sounds like you were making nor mai gai. :unsure: You said you cooked everything together? And, how long did you cook them AFTER you wrapped them? Did you boil them or steamed them?

I used raw peanuts that you find in Asian stores. These must be soaked over night or they will stay crunchy.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Found some pictures of some home-made joong.  Look pretty good!

http://www.basil.idv.tw/Main/Diary/2004/040622/01.jpg

http://www.basil.idv.tw/Main/Diary/2004/040622/03.jpg

Fillings: Black mushrooms, chestnuts, salty pork, salty duck egg yolk, peanuts.

Any suggestions on how to improve this would be helpful. Thanks all. I know you guys are pros at making them. :)

Check my URL posted above, post # 75. It's a pictorial of how I made my joong.

Your process is not clear. It sounds like you were making nor mai gai. :unsure: You said you cooked everything together? And, how long did you cook them AFTER you wrapped them? Did you boil them or steamed them?

I used raw peanuts that you find in Asian stores. These must be soaked over night or they will stay crunchy.

Hi Dejah,

I boiled them after they were wrapped. Cooking time is less if i cook the rice a little upfront, and the fillings are sauteed.

-NhumiSD

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I boiled them after they were wrapped.  Cooking time is less if i cook the rice a little upfront, and the fillings are sauteed.

-NhumiSD

In shortening cooking time while wrapped, I feel you lose an essential aspect of jooong in the first place which is the infusion of the essence of the leaves which to me is equally important as the filling. It's like a stir fry without the wok hay... it's just not as good as what it can be. Like wok hay, the aura of the leaves deeply permeating the essence of the rice sets the highest epitome of the dishes apart from the rest.

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I boiled them after they were wrapped.  Cooking time is less if i cook the rice a little upfront, and the fillings are sauteed.

-NhumiSD

In shortening cooking time while wrapped, I feel you lose an essential aspect of jooong in the first place which is the infusion of the essence of the leaves which to me is equally important as the filling. It's like a stir fry without the wok hay... it's just not as good as what it can be. Like wok hay, the aura of the leaves deeply permeating the essence of the rice sets the highest epitome of the dishes apart from the rest.

Ah...who would have thought that a "mudbug" could wax so poetically about the essence of joong! :wub::biggrin:

Well put! M (you deserve a big M for that)udbug!

Edited by Dejah (log)

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Ah...who would have thought that a "mudbug" could wax so poetically about the essence of joong! :wub:  :biggrin:

Well put! M (you deserve a big M for that)udbug!

:blush:

Awww...

:shock:

Aack! What have I done?!

Supposed to be keeping those "Ancient Chinese Secret" under wraps!

(no pun intended)

:wink:

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Met up with Ben Hong yesterday for yum cha. I think he was impressed with the quality of the dim sum in Winnipeg's Chinatown, if not with the weather!

We had a great visit with another bi-racial family whom he met on his hunting trip here in November.

I remembered to pack his joongzi. Now, we'll wait to see if HE thinks I have too much liu in the joong!  :laugh:  :laugh:

Dejah, the fates were conspiring to thwart my enjoyment of your joong. When I arrived back in Toronto, good old Air Canada had lost my bag(s) which caused me to wail, rail, and assail the company once again. My precious joong were in that luggage!! The attendants assured me that usually missing luggage shows up within 24 hours. Sure enough, the next day the bags were delivered at noon.

I eagerly opened the bag with the joong in it and was despairing that all was lost in this heat wave from hell. BUT, the joong were still half frozen, halleluia :biggrin:

Clean clothes, dirty laundry, bath towels, etc. make great insulators.

And, they didn't detract from the taste.

Which was SUPERB :wub::wub::wub:

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I boiled them after they were wrapped.  Cooking time is less if i cook the rice a little upfront, and the fillings are sauteed.

NhumiSD,

You don't boil them. What happens is you completely dilute the flavor of the end product. You want to steam them. In my experience you usually want them in rectangular form, not triangular with is usually reserved for deserts (this way you can tell from the outside whether the contents are sweet or savoury).

Here is the recipe I use and I absolutely love the flavor and texture of the filling:

Lotus Leaf Wraps (Lo Mai Gai)

(This popular dim sum dish is made by steaming lotus leaves filled with

sticky rice, Chinese sausages, and other vegetables).

Serves 10

5 dried lotus leaves, cut in half or use banana leaves or aluminum foil

3 cups glutinous rice (aks sweet rice), washed and drained

4 Chinese dried mushrooms, soaked in hot water 20-30 minutes to reconstitute,

drained, stems removed and chopped (combination of shitake and woodear are excellent)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 teaspoons peeled and grated fresh ginger

6 1/2 ounces ground (preferred) or minced chicken

4 ounces jumbo shrimp (green king prawns) peeled, deveined, and finely chopped

2 Chinese pork sausages, finely chopped

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice wine

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

2 teaspoons cornstarch (cornflour) mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Pepper to taste

Directions:

Prepare the rice and lotus leaves:

Soak the lotus leaves in hot water for 1 hour. Pat dry.

Cover the rice with water and let soak for 1 hour or overnight. Drain

Steam the Rice:

Line a bamboo steamer with a few pieces of cabbage or a parchment paper so that the food will not stick to the bottom. Add the rice and cover. To steam, fill the wok (you may use a vegetable steamer instead) approximately to the half-way point with water (the steamer should be sitting above the water without touching). Bring the water to a boil and turn down to steam. The sticky rice should take about a 20 minutes of steaming to cook and will become translucent when done. After the rice has cooled, divide it into ten equal portions.

Heat wok to medium-high heat and add oil. When the oil is ready (oil is ready when bubbles quickly form around chopstick held vertically in oil), add ginger and stir-fry briefly, then add chicken and shrimp, stir-frying until they first change color. Add, in the following order, Chinese sausages, mushrooms, soy sauce, rice wine, and oyster sauce and stir-fry one minute.

Give the cornstarch mixture a quick restir. Make a "well" in the middle of the wok and add the cornstarch mixture, stirring to thicken. Pepper to taste. Mix in with the other ingredients for 1-2 minutes. Remove from wok and set aside.

Once the meat and vegetable mixture has cooled you can make the wraps. Begin by spooning a portion of the rice mixture into the center of a lotus leaf. Add approximately 3 teaspoons of the meat and vegetable mixture, placing it in the middle and forming a "rice ring" around it. Add more rice to cover. Form llotus leaf around the rice to form a rectangular package (like wrapping a gift) and tie with the twine. Reheat the wok with water for steaming and steam the wraps, a few at a time, for 15 minutes. (Add more boiling water to the wok as required).

To serve, cut open the wraps.

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I boiled them after they were wrapped.  Cooking time is less if i cook the rice a little upfront, and the fillings are sauteed.

NhumiSD,

You don't boil them. What happens is you completely dilute the flavor of the end product. You want to steam them. In my experience you usually want them in rectangular form, not triangular with is usually reserved for deserts (this way you can tell from the outside whether the contents are sweet or savoury).

Here is the recipe I use and I absolutely love the flavor and texture of the filling:

Lotus Leaf Wraps (Lo Mai Gai)

(This popular dim sum dish is made by steaming lotus leaves filled with

sticky rice, Chinese sausages, and other vegetables).

Form llotus leaf around the rice to form a rectangular package (like wrapping a gift) and tie with the twine. Reheat the wok with water for steaming and steam the wraps, a few at a time, for 15 minutes. (Add more boiling water to the wok as required).

To serve, cut open the wraps.

Ok...problems here.

Mudbug: Remember NhumiSD said banana leaves These you can boil. You, meanwhile, are talking about lotus leaves.

With lotus leaves, you cannot boil as the leaves will fall apart, and you don't need to tie if you are making rectangle packets.

BEN:

I'm glad that you finally got to taste my joong! Took a long time, but they made it into your tummy! :laugh::laugh: I gather you liked them.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Dejah,

I see. Noted.

But regardless of which leaves, banana or lotus, what I'm trying to say is - why risk submerging the joong in water at all and potentially diluting the flavor of the contents when it can be steamed? Steaming is the key to infusing the contents with the essence of the leaves. Boiling would inhibit this.

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Dejah,

I see. Noted.

But regardless of which leaves, banana or lotus, what I'm trying to say is - why risk submerging the joong in water at all and potentially diluting the flavor of the contents when it can be steamed? Steaming is the key to infusing the contents with the essence of the leaves. Boiling would inhibit this.

The whole process of boiling the joong wrapped in bamboo leaves DOES infuse the rice with flavour - of the the leaves and the various ingredients. The meats in my joong are raw, except for the BBQ duck. The boiling process cooks the meat as well as allowing the flavours to seep into each grain of rice. The hours required binds the rice together...not mushy, but.., I wish I could send you some to try for the difference between nor mai gai and joong. :huh:

One can't really compare nor mai gai to joong. They are same but different things. Does this make sense?

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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One can't really compare nor mai gai to joong. They are same but different things. Does this make sense?

Sort of... did I miss a definition of the difference between the two somewhere? Feel free to clarify...

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Sort of... did I miss a definition of the difference between the two somewhere? Feel free to clarify...

I wrote this about their differences in a previous discussion:

At first, the two dishes appear to be the more or less the same thing: glutinous rice wrapped by some sort of leaves. However, the difference between the two dishes becomes much more apparent when you look at their respective origins. Joong has always been pretty much what it is, i.e., glutinous rice boiled inside bamboo leaves. OTOH, the classic dish of Nor Mai Gai is nothing like the sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves that you find in restaurants nowadays. True Nor Mai Gai, meaning "glutinous rice chicken," is an elaborate dish that requires hours if not days of preparation time. To make this dish, the bones and flesh of a whole chicken are removed from the bird while at the same time leaving the entire skin intact. Then, the meat is separated from the bones, stir-fried, and then combined with glutinous rice and other ingredients to form a stuffing. This stuffing is then placed into the chicken skin, and the whole thing is reshaped back into the form of a chicken. Finally, this "chicken" is deep fried until crisp.

Obviously, this dish is extremely labor intensive, which is why you won't ever see it prepared in the traditional way in restaurants. Instead, what you will get is an approximation of the dish, and that is exactly what the glutinous rice wrapped with lotus leaves is supposed to be. It's the most common way of approximating true Nor Mai Gai but it certainly isn't the only way. Another way I've seen it done is by dipping balls of glutinous rice stuffing in a batter and deep frying them until crisp. I'm sure there are dozens of other ways, as well.

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......  Iam also confused of what shape it should be?  Pyramid or a 3-D triabgle or square like? I tied it with just these pink wires which worked.  My rice wasnt all one piece when I cut it open, it was very soft. 

The shape is technically called "tetrahedron", right Origamicrane? :wink: More commonly it's called a triangular pyramid. But this is a misnomer because a pyramid, technically, needs to have a square base..... oh, I let the nerd inside of me came out for too long. :wink:

The 2 pictures shown are nice triangular pyramid shape. But if you use as much "liu" as Dejah, forming a nice triangular pyramid shape, especially with only 3 leaves, is impossible. :smile: It naturally turns into an elongated triangular pyramid, or like an olive flattened on 4 sides. And in Origamicrane's case, it looks more like a cylinder (or a sausage shape). :laugh:

Thank you for letting my indulged in sharing what I learned from my solid geometry and topology classes... :laugh::laugh:

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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  • 1 month later...

I passed by the 99 Ranch Market in Richmond last weekend. I saw a small eatery selling joongs. Couldn't resist, I bought a couple of them to try.

They were labelled as "Taiwanese style zongzi". They shaped more like a long pillow than a triangular pyramid. (Sorry, no pictures). I opened up one. The glutinous rice is dark brown. It looked like in Taiwanese style, they mix soy sauce with the glutinous rice before boiling. The saltiness flavor is already there. No need to drip on soy sauce.

I must say that I was quite disappointed. There was only one piece of pork inside the joong. No mung bean, no black mushroom, nothing else other than glutinous (with soy sauce flavored) and pork.

Is this truly the Taiwanese style zongzi? Seems too simplistic.

Dejah, what is your mail order address again?

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Store made, main concern is cost factor. Simple=cheaper.

Home made=extra and quality liu. As Po-Po says" "Jee gai sic la mah, gung hai jing ho dee la!" "aka: It's for ourselves. Of course make it better!"

Once or twice a year, all day effort = special, liu loaded joong.

I wish I could send you all joong. Wasn't even able to squeeze a couple out of my sister's batch for Irwin because they shared with their friends and made piggies of themselves! I was born to feed the masses! :laugh::laugh:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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      凤尾菇 (fèng wěi gū), literally “Phoenix tail mushroom”, is a more robust, meaty variety which is more suitable for stir frying.
       

       
      Another member of the pleurotus family bears little resemblance to its cousins and even less to an oyster. This is pleurotus eryngii, known variously as king oyster mushroom, king trumpet mushroom or French horn mushroom or, in Chinese 杏鲍菇 (xìng bào gū). It is considerably larger and has little flavour or aroma when raw. When cooked, it develops typical mushroom flavours. This is one for longer cooking in hot pots or stews.
       

       
      One of my favourites, certainly for appearance are the clusters of shimeji mushrooms. Sometimes known in English as “brown beech mushrooms’ and in Chinese as 真姬菇 zhēn jī gū or 玉皇菇 yù huáng gū, these mushrooms should not be eaten raw as they have an unpleasantly bitter taste. This, however, largely disappears when they are cooked. They are used in stir fries and with seafood. Also, they can be used in soups and stews. When cooked alone, shimeji mushrooms can be sautéed whole, including the stem or stalk. There is also a white variety which is sometimes called 白玉 菇 bái yù gū.
       

       

       
      Next up we have the needle mushrooms. Known in Japanese as enoki, these are tiny headed, long stemmed mushrooms which come in two varieties – gold (金針菇 jīn zhēn gū) and silver (银针菇 yín zhēn gū)). They are very delicate, both in appearance and taste, and are usually added to hot pots.
       

       

       
      Then we have these fellows – tea tree mushrooms (茶树菇 chá shù gū). These I like. They take a bit of cooking as the stems are quite tough, so they are mainly used in stews and soups. But their meaty texture and distinct taste is excellent. These are also available dried.
       

       
      Then there are the delightfully named 鸡腿菇 jī tuǐ gū or “chicken leg mushrooms”. These are known in English as "shaggy ink caps". Only the very young, still white mushrooms are eaten, as mature specimens have a tendency to auto-deliquesce very rapidly, turning to black ‘ink’, hence the English name.
       

       
      Not in season now, but while I’m here, let me mention a couple of other mushrooms often found in the supermarkets. First, straw mushrooms (草菇 cǎo gū). Usually only found canned in western countries, they are available here fresh in the summer months. These are another favourite – usually braised with soy sauce – delicious! When out of season, they are also available canned here.
       

       
      Then there are the curiously named Pig Stomach Mushrooms (猪肚菇 zhū dù gū). These are another favourite. They make a lovely mushroom omelette. Also, a summer find.
       

       
      And finally, not a mushroom, but certainly a fungus and available fresh is the wood ear (木耳 mù ěr). It tastes of almost nothing, but is prized in Chinese cuisine for its crunchy texture. More usually sold dried, it is available fresh in the supermarkets now.
       

       
      Please note that where I have given Chinese names, these are the names most commonly around this part of China, but many variations do exist.
       
      Coming up next - the dried varieties available.
    • By liuzhou
      It is possibly not well-known that China has some wonderful hams, up there with the best that Spain can offer. This lack of wide knowledge, at least in the USA, is mainly down to regulations forbidding their importation. However, for travellers to China and those in  places with less restrictive policies, here are some of the best.
       
      This article from the WSJ is a good introduction to one of the best - Xuanwei Ham 宣威火腿  (xuān wēi huǒ tuǐ) from Yunnan province.
      This Ingredient Makes Everything Better
      I can usually obtain Xuanwei ham here around the Chinese New Year/Spring Festival, but I also have a good friend who lives in Yunnan who sends me regular supplies. The article compares it very favourably with jamon iberico, a sentiment with which I heartily agree.



      Xuanwei Ham
       

      Xuanwei Ham
       
      more coming soon.
       
       
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