- Food and Cooking
Rice Dumplings in Malaysia
Rice Dumpling in Malaysia
Rice dumplings is a common type of food available in Malaysia. It is a favorite for a great portion of people because of the variety of its unique tempting savor. It can be eaten as a snack as well as a meal, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Rice dumplings are made of rice that is wrapped by using leaves and then cooked. Although some other cooking such as “nasi lemak “ ( or coconut milk rice ) is usually wrapped in banana leaves, coconut milk rice is not considered as a type of rice dumpling. The coconut milk rice is cooked and then wrapped in banana leaves. For the rice dumplings, the rice is wrapped by using leaves and then cooked in pots, either by direct boiling or steaming.
We can divide the rice dumplings in Malaysia into two main categories in accordance with their ethnic origin. The rice dumplings of Chinese origin are called “Cang” or “Chang”, and in Mandarin , “ZongZi”. The rice dumplings of Malay origin are called “Ketupat”. The Chinese usually calls the “ketupat” as “Ma Lai Zong”or “Malay Chang”.
Differences between Chinese and Malay rice dumpling
The Chinese dumplings are usually wrapped using bamboo leaves, whereas the ketupats are usually kept in pouches made of woven palm leaves. In the modern days, some creative housewives or cooks even make use of pandan leaves to make the pouches for ketupats. Pandan is “Pandanus amaryllifolius” which is a tropical plant widely used in the Southeast Asia as a cooking ingredient. This will definitely add the good flavor of pandan to the rice in the ketupats.
Chinese dumplings are usually tetrahedral in shape whereas the ketupats are usually in square or triangular pouches.
In addition, Chinese rice dumplings are usually made of glutinous rice whereas the Malay rice dumplings are made of either white rice or glutinous rice. The Malay rice dumplings made of white rice are called “ketupat nasi”. The Malay dumplings made of glutinous rice are called “ketupat pulut”.
Ingredients of Chinese rice dumplings
There are 3 main types of Chinese rice dumplings. The main ingredient is glutinous rice. For the meat-rice-dumpling, or “Bah Chang”, pork, dried prawns, black mushrooms, chestnuts, and sometimes even salted eggs are added to the glutinous rice.
The second type of Chinese rice dumplings is called bean-rice-dumpling. Read beans of white beans are added to the glutinous rice.
The third type of Chinese rice dumpling is alkaline-rice-dumpling, or “Ki Chang” or “Jian-Shui- Zong”. The glutinous rice used in making this kind of dumplings has been processed with alkaline liquid, usually sodium carbonate or potassium carbonate. Sometime, read beans are added to the alkaline-rice- dumpling. The alkaline rice dumplings are springy while being chewed whereas the other two types of Chinese rice dumplings are usually sticky. The alkaline-rice-dumplings are usually eaten with syrup or sweet and sour sauces.
Ingredients of Malay rice dumplings
The Malay rice dumplings are made of either white rice or glutinous rice. In some cases, the Malay rice dumplings contain only plain rice but they usually contain a mixture of rice and beans. They are usually eaten together with syrup or various kinds of spicy gravies. Malay rice dumplings gourmets will be most satisfied if the dumplings are eaten together with marinated, grilled meat inserted on wooden skewers called “satay” or “sate”.
If you happen to come to Penang or Singapore, rice dumplings, be it of the Chinese or Malay styles, is something that you must not miss. It sure enriches your experience.