Monday, December 15, 2008

Foochow Sii Yian or Glutinous Rice Balls

Several days before Christmas Chinese usually.. get ready for the last festival of the Chinese lunar calendar called Winter Festival which falls on the Winter Solstice itself.

(The Sarawak Almanac will tell you exactly when Winter Solstice is...this year it falls on 21st Dec - on Sunday)

Early on Sunday morning (yesterday) like any good Foochow mother I took out my packets of glutinous rice flour and soy bean and peanut powder to make the Sii Yian or tang yuen - the Foochow dry style.

This is the traditional way we eat Sii Yian - like satay or kebabs - pushing the sii yian through a chopstick. I like to eat mine this way as it makes me feel good and so do my children. It has such a happy and loving traditional atmosphere when we eat it this way.

This is how I made the sii on....

You need only half a packet of glutinous rice flour and some water . Knead into a lovely dough for several minutes and then divide the dough into small rolls like these. If there are more helping you you can have more rolls. Just take a bit off the roll and start using two hands to make the small balls or sii yian or tan yuen. Old Foochow word is Che.

Here on my left hand are two pieces of wet glutinous rice flour. I am trying to make two balls at the same time. Can you make three or four at the same time? Try.

These two packets are pounded/blended/grinded soy bean powder and roasted peanut powder. They are available at the market for RM 2 this year!! Double the price of yesteryears because the price of petrol has gone up (??????) Consumers are suffering and especially housewives. But if we have more time we can make our own.

The rice balls are cooked when they are floating happily at the top of the boiling water. Leave them boiling for a longer period of time while you prepare the powdery coating with some sugar.

Coat the Si Yian (or glutinous balls in the soy bean and peanut powder)Add enough sugar to taste. I made about 56 pieces (small diameter of 3/4 inch). Normally we try to make ten sii yian for each person. Many Foochows would like to eat them the whole day through. If there are left overs we usually steam them for breakfast the next day. It depends on how much you make of course.

I will post the story of the Winter Solstice another time...Hope you are making some this year!!

Happy reunion!

5 memories:

Philip said...

What makes the Sii Yian having the red colour? I can make three at the same time,haven't tried four.

Victor Kiu said...

4 at the same time? Cool

I Am Sarawakiana said...

Philip - we usually use a little bit of pink colouring to make the sii yian more "lucky" or have "yi lick".

When you buy the dough from the market the hawkers also give you a large amount of white dough and a small piece of pink dough. This is also in line with the Yin and Yang Philosophy of the Chinese culture I suppose.

Victor - thank you for visiting...yes do try out to make four sii yian at the same time...

Happy eating!

Daniel Yiek said...

I love this! Saliva dripping

I Am Sarawakiana said...

I checked with the Almanac - the Selalang Kutch factory was built in 1911..but no mention of its closure.

The Winter Solstice is on 21st Dec - Sunday.

Can you get the Che in Singapore? May be you can make some too....But it is real Foochow food :) :)


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