Karn sui chung (alkali water dumpling)


I’m back! Full story and picture plus food from Cameron Highlands later. (we cut short our holidays in Cameron)

Tomorrow is the 5th day of the 5th month of the Chinese lunar months. It is also the dumpling festival. The above is a photo of the alkali water or karn sui rice dumpling. Basically, it is glutinious rice soaked in alkali water which gives it the yellow colour and jelly like texture.

In the olden days, grandmothers used to sort out the few grains of normal rice from the glutinous rice. Glutinous rice is white whereas the common type of rice we eat every day is transparent. Therefore, can you imagine the amount of work are done in sorting the rice? The batch of glutinous rice bought from the shop usually have some grains of normal rice in them. When the normal rice is accidentally left in the glutinous rice, the normal rice will result in hard, sandy texture when cook. Hmmm…a lot of hardwork back then. I don’t think people are so finicky nowadays and just ignore the process of sorting rice.

The above dumpling is made by my eldest sister. Making this dumpling takes some skill. One cannot put too much rice when wrapping the dumpling with bamboo leaf or the dumpling will be too hard. When tying the dumpling, it has to be tied with just the right pressure. Otherwise, if too loose, the bamboo leaves may opened up, spoiling the whole dumpling. Or if tied too tight, the dumpling will come out looking curvy at the wrong place. Hmmm…another tough job. Frankly, the dumpling is not the best because I think my sister had put too much alkali water making the dumpling colour too dark. Otherwise, the dumpling will look a shiny yellow.

The brownish syrup on the plate is made from coconut milk, brown sugar and pandan leaves.

More on dumpling festival can be read here.

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