Sunday, 13 June 2010

Dumplings galore and kaya (碱水粽, 娘惹粽, 咖椰)

It's Dumpling Festival again this Wednesday. Nowadays, there are dumplings with a variety of flavours with some really exotic ones. I have never tried those innovative creations and still prefer the traditional type. As my dad is a Baba, I would consider myself a half nonya. From young, I have grown up eating nonya dumplings made by my mum and somehow or other, I cannot accustomed myself to accept other types of dumplings. But I like the teochew style dumplings which my maternal grandmother used to make. The teochew dumplings encase ingredients like pork, chestnuts, mushrooms and most importantly, tau sar. However, ever since my grandmother passed away many years back, I rarely have the chance to savour the teochew dumplings again.

One other must have in my family is 'kee chang'. It is healthier and does not contain any traces of oil. For me, 'kee chang' goes really well with kaya and I cannot do without kaya if I were to eat 'kee chang'. Without kaya, I would rather not eat 'kee chang' at all! That's how fussy I am with my affair with 'kee chang'. I must confess that I do not know how to make nonya dumplings and kee chang. It was always my mum who does the frying of ingredients, preparation and wrapping. I am just her assistant for such occasions, helping with washing of leaves and cutting ingredients. I started learning the wrapping skill about 3 years back. Now, I have been promoted (by myself) from just helping with the cutting to wrapping the dumplings. So knowing that my mum will be making the dumplings this weekend, I decided to make my kaya to accompany my kee chang. Making kaya is a tedious task which requires patience, stamina (to keep stirring constantly for an hour or more) and the sheer love of it. The irony is, I am not a great fan of kaya. The only time I can't do without it is when eating 'kee chang'. Weird, isn't it?
These are the 'kee changs'
And nonya dumplings

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