Welcome to my Joong page; my little contribution in trying to perpetuate traditional gastronomic delights. It was done in a real hurry for those who'd want to try making it for the first time. Just made 6 dozens each of nyonya joongs and gan sui joongs yesterday ( June 7, 2005). The gan sui joong is the more petite one, because it doesn't have any filling; meant to be eaten with palm sugar coconut syrup. I get an ample supply of ham yoke joongs from the 2 mothers. Ain't I lucky?
Nyonya Joong (tetrahedron-shaped)
Nyonya joongs (my fav) are spicy, but not overly so. The fillings include bean paste, fennel powder, cummin powder, coriander powder, pounded white peppercorns, candied winter melon, chinese mushrooms, belly pork, and etc. The glutinous rice part is sometimes partly colored with blue dye (natural or food coloring), but we just do ours uncolored, but pre-fried with shallots and garlic. The joong is topped with a small piece of pandan leaf for added fragrance.
I think these joongs can only be found in M'sia/S'pore, even then, there are some folks up north who has never tried one. Nyonya joong is the creation of the peranakan (straits chinese) people. Just 2 days ago, we visited one Peranakan restaurant (which incidentally served the best cendol I've ever tasted) on our way home from S'pore. The picture shows the front interior of the restaurant filled with typical nyonya antiques. The shophouses of those days are at least 10 rooms deep! But, I digress......
I didn't take any pics of making the nyonya joong when I making them, so these are done for demonstration purposes using dry glutinous rice...a bit more tricky....and the leaves were drying fast while my DD#1 were snapping the pics, but I think she did a good job.
1. Use 1 bamboo leaf (washed and soaked overnight) if the leaf is big and unflawed. Use 2 if the leaves are smaller. Position them in opposite directions.
2. Make a very tiny 1mm crease in the middle as a pivot point and fold the 2 ends up.
3. Fill the cone with some rice, as much filling as you want (heh heh), and top up with more rice. Compress the rice.
4. If you're a right-handed, make a triangular grip (eh?) with your left hand. With your right hand, fold down the leaf ends.
5. Maintain the tetrahedron shape as you fold the leaves over. Make sure you have 4 pointy corners.
6. A word on the strings. We can buy hemp strings already shredded thinner and bundled into 10's, or unprocessed strings. Make a loop (some come made already) and hang at a higher place, like the back of a chair if you're working on the floor. For the purposes of this demo, I didn't do all that.
Okie dok. Wind string around. Slip under and continue to make another round. Slip under again. Make a 'live' knot for quick and easy access to the joongs.
Picture doesn't show the double loops.
Gan Sui Joong (a dainty dessert)
Demonstrator: my SIL
GSJ is a little delectable morsel for someone with a sweet tooth (like me) because it's eaten with delicious thick palm sugar syrup enriched with coconut milk and fragranced with pandan leaves, or simply with kaya. I used to love it filled with red bean paste, but, if it's small enough, I don't mind it plain. Rice which have sneakily tried to pass off as glutinous rice are carefully picked out. <<'Encourage' the young 'uns do to do it, heh, heh, I feel like one of them sneaky rice>>. Any rice grain will clearly show in the steamed GSJ if this picky process is not done. Soak the glutinous rice overnight in water, drain and later add with lye water/alkaline water/gan sui, cooking oil and salt. This turns the rice yellow and translucent with a bouncy texture.
1. To make this dainties, buy the smallest leaves you can find. However, my SIL says her mother picks her own leaves. I should have done that because 2 weeks ago, I went to Cameron Highlands and the whole road was lined with giant bamboo trees. Oh, for some foresight!
2. You may think that making a smaller joong is easier than a big one. Wrong! This really demands skill. You need to wrap this loosely so the end product will not be tough.
3. Untrimmed and Trimmed Pix. Careful, careful...you don't want to slash the joong or the wrong strings during the trimming.
4. Steaming time is less...just around an hour and a half will do.
Ham Yoke Joong
Here's a pic of a ham yoke joong made by my SIL's mother who's from the north (Malaysia, that is). Their style uses dark sauce, very flavorful. Yum!