Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chinese Dumpling Festival/Dragon Boat Festival

On the 5th day of the 5th lunar month of the Chinese calendar the Chinese all over the world celebrate the Duan Wu Festival 端午节, also known as the Dumpling Festival or Dragon boat Festival. This festival is celebrated by wrapping the glutinous rice with bamboo leaves. The festival commemorates Qu Yuan 屈原, a patriotic poet from the Kingdom of Chu 楚国 during the Warring States period 战国时代 who committed suicide upon hearing the fall of Chu’s capital city to the Qin. He was believed to have drowned himself in the Miluo River 汨罗江 on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month in 278 BCE. Civilians around the area row their boats out to try to save him or to recover his body. They beat on drums and gongs to frighten away fishes and sea creature to prevent them from eating his body. When these efforts proved futile, they threw rice dumplings into the river to prevent the sea creatures from attacking his body.

Qu Yuan came to symbolize patriotism and on his death anniversary date, it became a custom to organize Dragon boat races 赛龙舟 and to consume dumplings 粽子. For more details about the festival you can read it here .

Each year we brothers and sisters look forward to this festival as we love eating our mom’s homemade traditional dumplings which filled with chestnuts, mushrooms, black eye peas, pork and salted egg yolk. I know we can buy these dumplings but mom's one is the best. The last time I had my mom’s dumplings were many years ago as I am never home during this time of the year. She taught me the techniques of wrapping the dumplings many times but I can’t seem to get it right. I tried making it once but gave up half way through the process and end up steaming the rice in bowls rather than wrapping it in bamboo leaves


I am very lucky this year as a few of us Malaysian ladies gather together to made this. As usual the ladies tried to teach me but I fail miserably. I guess I still need a lot of practice. End up Michelle and Roselind made all the dumplings ;). I took some pictures of our dumplings making session to share it with you.

Getting all the ingredients ready for the dumplings.

The wrapping begins.

Fold the bamboo leaves into cone shape.

Filled the bottom part with a bit of rice.

Follow by the fillings of meat, mushroom, chestnut, black eye peas.

Top it up with the rice again.

Wrap it up.
Tie it with a string.

Viola!! all ready to be boil.

The ladies busy at work. As for me I am busy taking photos ;)

We made a lot. All ready to be boil.

After 2 hours of boiling.

This is how it look like after unwrapping the leaves.

This is how it look like on the inside.
Thanks Choy, Roselind and Michelle. I had a great time learning from you ladies.

36 comments:

Jess @ Bakericious said...

Happy Duan Wu Festival! the dumpling has so much filling, yummy!

tracieMoo said...

this is on gorgeous dumpling!
I made this for the first time, and it was very very tiring.. need alot of stamina to make..

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Well, that's fine even when you ended up as the photographer!!! Haha! Look well done! Eat more dumplings! Happy Dragon Boat Festival!!!

My Little Space said...

How fun was that? I used to do that with my in-laws. I just made 1kg of rice last week and already finished up by last Saturday! haha.... I've been really busy lately and going to post it out soon! Happy 'Duan Wu Jie' to you & your family too!
Best wishes, Kristy

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Really love the way you ladies gather to make this...Regretfully, I have still never made a dumpling by myself. My favourite zhang is Nyonya zhang. Happy 端午节!Go easy on the dumplings - they are difficult to digest... drink lots of tea!

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... said...

Good, at least there are a few of you guys over there to make them.

If you are just looking at all our pictures with non to eat over there, sigh... will be so cham.
Now you have yours too.

Which part of it that you can't do?
The cone forming or the 4 points formation?

Cubie said...

Happy 端午节!
I miss my mom's dumplings too :(
Bought one from the Asian shop yesterday, pale yellow rice with only one small piece of pork :(

ReeseKitchen said...

Happy Dumplings festival Gert, I too cannot get it right, and end up my mum did all the job..;p I've tried to wrap and wrap until my mum said the rice is already cook coz I took so much time to wrap & unwrap the dumplings..haha!
Have a nice day and enjoy the dumplings!!

Jennifurla said...

Oh what a cool tradition, I have never had this before and the unwrapped picture of one looks so so good

Cheah said...

Can see that you ladies were having so much fun. I can't wrap this either, and my neighbour gave me some which were very tasty and nicely done.

Anonymous said...

My family make it different by cooking rice just a little and mixing ingredient in and duck egg in each wrap. Pork also is added and wrap it and cook it faster way of doing it Done this way in Taiwan for years to sell.

Ann

J.C. said...

Happy Duan Wu Festival. Your bakchang looks yummy. I wish I can try some.

Angie said...

Wow! Those dumplings looks so delicious. I have not had that for a long time. Did you managed to same some for me?? Hah! Happy Duan Wu Festival!

Little Corner of Mine said...

Yummy! Loved bak chang! Happy DuanWu festival to you and family!

pigpigscorner said...

That's so fun! No bazhang for me this year, too lazy =P

ICook4Fun said...

Jess, Happy Duan Wu Festival to you too.

Tracie, yes making dumplings is a lot of work but we enjoyed it a lot :)

Pei-Lin, yea end up me being the photographer. Happy Dragon Boat Festival to you too.

Kristy, yes it was a lot of fun doing this. Looking forward to see your posting of it. Happy Duan Wu Jie to you and your family too.

Shirley, yes we ladies gather every 3 weeks to to cook something Malaysian :) Yea I limit myself one or two a week as my stomach can't take too much of glutinous rice.

Wendy, yea lucky two of the ladies know how to do this if not we just have to look at pictures of it ha ha.. Yes I always have problem with the 4 points formation. Just can't seems to get all the edges right :(

Cubis, the one sold at the Asian store here were as bad. The rice were white with a piece of fat pork and some mung beans in it and pretty tasteless!

ICook4Fun said...

Reese, ha ha your mom is funny. Yea lah by the time I wrap one the leaves also 'pecah' and rice will come out at every corner :( Happy Dumpling Festival to you too.

Jennifurla, so far you live so far away if not for sure I will share it with you. I am pretty sure you are going to like it.

Cheah, oh yes. We always have lots of fun cooking together that is why we do this very often. You can't wrap either? Welcome to the club. I least I feel a bit better that I am not the only one :)

Ann, we did fry the rice a little bit with some seasonings. So you mix all the fillings into the rice before wrapping it?

J.C, Happy Duan Wu festival to you too. You are in Malaysia and I am sure you can find the dumplings everwhere :)

Angie, I have some in the freezer and I can share it with you :)

LCOM, did you make some this year? Happy Duan Wu Festival to you and your family too.

Pigpigscorner, how come? You should make some for yourself and your other half :)

My Little Space said...

Hi there, coming back to wish you Happy Birthday or Happy Belated Birthday! Hope you're having a wonderful time as well.

Cheers, Kristy

Jeannie said...

Wow! so many dumplings! can last for weeks! Very nicely done too! Happy Dumpling Festival to you and your family:D Oh and Happy belated Birthday?

Sarah said...

You ladies are so hardworking to make these bakchang so far away from home. I noticed you used cotton twine to hold the bamboo leaves wrap together. I like my bakchang with a touch of Lingham chilli sauce. Thanks for sharing your bakchang making adventure.

Ho Ho Ho said...

hooray ...dumpling time!!!
thanks for the photos... it gives me an idea how to wrap the dumplings... the next task is to look for the leaves!! :)

Somewhere in Singapore said...

I have been a regular reader of your blog, but never leave comment before...

I do not know how to make dumpling, but from the way u all do it, see that it is quite fun...

Chow and Chatter said...

oh wow these look wonderful great post and full of family fun

noobcook said...

wah, these home made dumplings look fantastic. Love the step by step photos too. Every year, I was tempted to learn but I was intimidated ... maybe next year I will try ^^

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

Happy 端午节!
Wor, this look really fun to made dumplings together. And the dumpling look too good!

Elin said...

I too wish I could wrap like your friends ! I could never master it haha that is why I normally buy them . One day I shall try wrapping my own dumpling :) Can see you guys are having so much fun :)

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... said...

The white yucky ones with mung beans are Cantonese dumplings.
Hokkiens will not like that type of dumpling. My hokkien hubby won't eat white ones. But I like them :)

Eh, want to check with you about the rice flour you used for your Pak Thong Koh, did you use pure rice flour or blended rice flour?
The information should be on the labels. I checked with Reese, and she used Rose's recipe, as seen from your blog, and hers is blended rice flour. Mine was pure rice flour, so just want to know about your flour.

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Looks like you had lots of fun and good food....really nothing else to ask for! ;) Happy dumpling fest to you!

My Asian Kitchen said...

wow!! so much zhang!!it's nice to gather wt all the Msian ladies to make this special dumpling!! this year I didn't make any dumpling at all.as you know I'm the only one who is eating this gem.Actually I still have the bamboo leaves,rice and other ingredients but too lazy..Maybe I can get one or 2 when I go to Flushing next week..

Anonymous said...

I can never wrap it right. Is there some kind of Youtube that shows how to wrap it? Wendy

Madeline said...

I love this post! I love the gathering of ladies to wrap zong together. It's a very special tradition. :)

Anonymous said...

Since I do not use bamboo leaves but foil instead. I found it so much more faster and easy to get and make dumplings. I cook rice first and add other ingredients in later with seasoning. Rice hold more easy being cook and wrap in foil to steam or boil for just one hour.

I just want to eat it only not into custom way of it.

Stella

ICook4Fun said...

Kristy, thank you so much.

Jeannie, yea dumplings everywhere ha ha.. and thank you :)

Sarah, yes we can't get those regular string that we used back in Malaysia. I too eat the bak chang with lingham chilli sauce. There were good :)

Ho Ho Ho, you are most welcome. I actually took a lot of pictures but too many to post it here :)

Somewhere in Singapore, thanks for your support and your first comment. Hope to see your comment often.

Chow and Chatter, yes it was fun :)

Noobcook, you should try it out next year.

Sonia, thank you.

Elin, I am facing the same problem. Each year I told myself I have to master and art of wrapping but still can't get the hang of it :(

Wendy, I think the Cantonese dumplings back home taste better than the one here. Here it is tasteless!! Oh I just finished the rice flour last week. I have to swing by the Asian store and get more this weekend and I will let you know ok. I will email you :)

ICook4Fun said...

Bee, yes if was fun doing the chang with all the ladies.

Leslie, Carlos is not a fan of it either but it is ok. I freezed some of it and gave some to Diana. You should make some since you have bamboo leaves as I know you can wrap very well :)

Wendy, there are plenty video at Youtube that teaches you ways and teachniques of wrapping the dumplings.

Madeline, thanks for dropping by and your comment. I tried preserve our Asian tradition as much as I could even though living in a Western country.

Stella, I did that once with aluminium foil but I still put a bamboo leaf in it so I can get the nice fragrant smell of it.

Laura said...

My mom showed me but mine fell apart soon as I tried to tie it up. My mon said it is not tight enough. Tried for hours and didn't even get one done right. My mom made over 30 when she came visit and I didn't want to share with my siblings. LOL My kids don't know any of the Asian tradition....sigh.

BTW, I link my Avon website to here... love your blog.

Christelle said...

Oh wow, I've always wanted to learn to make these!!