kruizing with kikukat

Monday, June 18, 2012

Joong Practice

Today's post is in honor of the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival (June 23 or so, 5th day of the 5th lunar month).  I hope you will be fortunate enough to enjoy joong.

When I lived in Honolulu and went to Chinatown on the Saturdays to buy snacks, I would often buy a joong from the pastry shop.  It was also a frequent selection from the steam cart on occasions for dim sum.  On my last trip to Honolulu, I went to my favorite pastry shop (since resurrected in a similar storefront), Sing Cheong Yuan, to buy some macadamia nut candy to bring home for "moonyagi" (bastardized version of "omiyage", courtesy of my Portuguese-Italian friend in Kihei).  In addition to the box of macadamia nut candy blocks, and a baggie of li hing bittermelon (for Mom and Dad), I left with a longing to eat joong.  The shop had several varieties of joong sitting on the pastry case, and I was so tempted to buy the pork-egg joong.  Practicality got the better of me, and I left empty handed, but not without a cause. . .I would make my own joong.

I already had a jar full of salted eggs, so all I needed to buy was a few things and look for some help with seasoning.  Seemed simple, and the gathering of the ingredients was the easy part, especially when I opted to use ti leaves (instead of bamboo leaves) to wrap the joong.

Call me what you will, but my idea of joong uses black-eyed peas instead of mung beans.  I also added lup cheong for additional flavor.

mochi rice and black eyed peas (soaked overnight)
seasoned pork belly
raw salted egg yolks
sliced lup cheong
mise en place ingredients
joong composition:  rice, pork, yolk, lup cheong, rice.  Popo Wu in Taiwan adds a chestnut too.
wrapping joong
tying joong
boiling joong

Joong is ready!
 I tested out my joong with D1's friend Ashley, whose family hails from Taiwan.  Ashley does not say "joong" the way those of us who grew up in Hawaii say it.  In fact, her dad referred to is as "tzongshe", which sounds like something I can't even spell.  I made Ashley repeat it over and over, yet I still cannot say it.  In spite of my shortcomings in pronounciation, Ashley and her parents said they loved it.  They said it tasted very similar to what her Popo in Taiwan would make around the time of the dragon boat races (5th day of the 5th lunar month).  I took it as a compliment. 
 click on recipe title for printable recipe

     2 lbs mochi rice
     4 tbsp (scant)  rock salt, divided per recipe directions
     1/2 c black eyed peas
     10 salted duck/chicken egg yolks, raw
     1 lb pork belly
     2 lup cheong, each sliced diagonally into 5 pieces
     1 1/2 tsp 5-spice
     20 ti leaves, cleaned and de-ribbed
     string to tie

Begin the night before by washing mochi rice.  Add water to cover and add 2 tbsp rock salt to the water.  Rinse black eyed peas and add to mochi rice.  Let soak overnight.  Cut pork into 10 pieces.  Season with 5-spice and remaining 1 1/2 tbsp salt.  Chill overnight.

The next day, heat a large pot of boiling water.  Roll 2 ti leaves into a cylinder and plunge into boiling water.  Lay flat.  Repeat with remainder of ti leaves.  Drain rice/bean mixture.  Arrange all ingredients.  Take 2 ti leaves and overlap them with a 2" stagger.  Fold in half to form a corner.  Place 1/2 c rice/bean mixture into corner.  Place 1 yolk, 1 piece pork, and 1 slice lup cheong onto rice.  Cover with another 1/2 c rice/bean mixture.  Fold ti leaves to completely encase rice and filling so a 4-sided pyramid is formed (3 faces and a base).  Use string to tie bundle securely.  Place joongs in a large pot.  Cover with water.  Add 1 tsp rock salt, and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to simmer and cook for 3 hours.  Remove joong from pot and place on a rack to drain.  Serve immediately, chill, or freeze.  Leftovers may be reheated in the microwave.

I was busy last week, catching up with friends.  I had lunch with Edz on Wednesday and Brucie on Thursday.  Edz leaves on Thursday for the City of Brotherly Love, and Brucie will be on his way to the Forbidden City soon.  I wish both of them safe travels.
This week should be interesting...I'm lunching with the Rents today (belated Mother's/Father's Day celebration),  brunching with A tomorrow, and going into the office again on Wednesday.  I wish I could escape work.  I think I will try and make this the last day of work for a while.  I need my summer.

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