Hakka Rice Dumplings
The Secret Recipe
The Secret Recipe
The Hakka rice dumpling is a traditional festive food that reflects the culture and identity of the Hakka people in Mui Tsz Lam, Hong Kong. Making and eating rice dumplings is an essential part of the Tuen Ng Festival, also known as the Dragon Boat Festival. People make rice dumplings at every Tuen Ng festival as a tradition, with various recipes passed on in different areas.The Hakka recipe is modest and simple, which utilizes almost all homegrown produce including bamboo leaves, sticky rice, peanuts, shallots, and dried shrimp.
Mothers of the Hakka teach their daughters how to make Hakka rice dumplings as aunt Gui Yin’s mother did.
Here is the recipe aunt Qui Yin secretly told.
Soak bamboo leaves and sticky rice overnight, and dried shrimps for 15 minutes. When bamboo leaves are soft, clean and cut the top and bottom of bamboo leaves.
Mince the soaked dried shrimps and shallots. Crush peanuts and remove skin.
Villagers sift and blow away peanut skins using the same technique they did with harvested rice in the past.
Fry the dried shrimps, shallots and peanuts, first separately until fragrant then together. Set the filling aside.
With 1 bamboo leaf, place a layer of sticky rice and a layer of filling, then another layer of sticky rice.
Wrap around the rice and filling with the same piece of bamboo leaf. Turn the dumpling to one side and use another piece of bamboo leaf to cover and wrap around. Do the same for the other side, and the dumpling should be completely wrapped around by 3 bamboo leaves.
Tie up the dumpling with a piece of string or grass.
Cook the dumpling in boiling water for 3 hours before eating.
Cut the dumplings into bite-size pieces.
The grass or string used to tie the dumpling is also used to cut up the cooked rice dumplings.
The seats under the lychee tree of Mui Tsz Lam village is the villagers’ favorite place to gather and share food.
Enjoy the dumplings with your family and neighbors as the Hakka people do.
“Hakka” means “guest people” in Chinese. This culture is also reflected in festive foods like rice dumplings for the Tuen Ng Festival, also known as the Dragon Boat Festival.
WaH! Collective (Workshops-at-Home Collective) is a Hong Kong based initiative that promotes and documents intangible cultural heritage from the rural areas through workshops and media, in response to the social distancing norm during COVID. The initiative will first focus on Hakka cultural heritage, partnering with villages located in the Northeastern New Territories of Hong Kong.