Making the Swatow famous Lao Ma Keng Rice-Dumplings 老妈宫粽球做法

The tuang-ngou 端午 or Chinese dragon festival is round the corner and it is time to savour the rice dumplings again! 

The traditional Teochew rice dumpling is called the zanggiu 粽球 ("dumpling ball"). It is a misnomer as it appears in the regular triangular shape. It is unique as it comes in three types of taste: salty, sweet and sangpeng 雙拼, that is a combination of both salty and sweet. In Southeast Asia the Teochew rice dumpling is less commonly sold in the open compared to the varieties of the other Chinese. Perhaps it is because Teochew families preferred to make their own at home. It appears to be the same in the Teochew homeland, although in Swatow there is a stall that has been selling its rice dumplings since the 1920s.  

Known as the Lao Ma Geng Zanggiu 老媽宮粽球, after a nearby old temple, the stall is a household-name in Swatow. This week we bring to you a video showing how its rice-dumplings are made:

 Video uploaded for educational purpose only and is not monetized by The Teochew Store. Copyright belongs to Shantou Radio & Television (STRTV) 

Steps to make the Lao Ma Geng Zanggiu:
1. Soak the glutinous rice (糯米) in water for 12 hours
2. Wash the glutinous rice before frying
3. To fry, first heat pork oil (豬油) in the wok; then add to the rice, peanut bits (花生碎末), shallot oil (蔥油), white sugar (白糖), star aniseed powder (八角粉), five-powdered spice (五香粉), as well as cooked chestnut (板栗) and lotus seed (蓮子).
4. Fry with slow-fire for about 20 minutes, until the rice is about 70% cooked
5. Hold the fried glutinous rice in bamboo leaf, and before adding the fillings. For salty taste, add marinated pork belly (五花肉), salted duck egg yolk (鹹鴨蛋蛋黃), boiled gingko (糕燒白果) and lotus seed paste (蓮蓉沙). For sweet taste use red bean paste (乌豆沙) or lotus seed paste (蓮蓉沙).
6. Tie up the rice dumpling with string.
7. Finally place the rice dumplings and steam in water till the rice is fully cooked.

On how to make your own red bean paste and lotus seed paste, you can learn from our Recipe To Make Your Own Teochew-style Mooncake

For readers who prefer to try the original Lao Ma Geng Zanggiu, when you are in Swatow you can head out to the stall that is located across the road from the landmark Lao Ma Geng temple in the heart of the old city area. It is found within an alley with the sign showing 新关街.


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