Today is my mother’s birthday. I will try to post one Guangxi dish each year on her birthday to honour her heritage.
Guangxi is one of the few places in China where banana leaves are abundant, and I saw on the internet that some are so huge, you can go all bare behind a frond and not get seen.
My grandmother made a kuih when my mom was a small kid. Mom recalled how it tasted like…. sticky dough, with preserved radish, 5 spice tofu… and all the while, I thought it’s grandma’s dump in anything type of food. Couldn’t find anything with just those information. Until my mom finally remembered how it looked like. Mom said, it was wrapped in banana leaf, like a parcel, she showed me how it was with her hands. With that extra information… I found out what it was right away on google.
It’s Guangxi Banana Leaf Dumpling 广西蕉叶糍, something typical from this region, not my grandmother’s own dump in anyhow thing, hahahaha.. It can be made either sweet or savoury. My mom had the savoury type, and so… I tried making it based on her recollection and what I can gather from the internet, like what you can see from, here and here.
I’m not too sure if I got it right, as she could barely remember it too, as she last ate it around 60 years ago. I didn’t put in any cornstarch and so the filling looks a bit dry, I wrote the recipe, adding cornstarch because I think it will be much better this way. But I’m glad I just tried to make it. Just to keep this dish alive in our memories. But my grandma for sure didn’t put in any greens as, with greens, it spoils easier. You can do as per the recipes, and add in diced green beans or spring onions.
It looks familiar.. like the local kuih lepat. But this is a traditional snack all the way from China.
Guangxi Banana Leaf Dumplings 广西蕉叶糍
Filling (approximate amounts)
1/3 cup minced pork
1/3 diced spiced tofu
1/4 cup minced preserved radish (Choy bo 菜哺）, soaked and drained
3 dried mushrooms, soaked, finely diced
1/4 cup chopped peanuts (fried or roasted)
Salt and pepper to taste, sugar, if needed.
1 tsp cornstarch + 1/2 cup water
1. Heat wok and put in some oil. Put in tofu cubes and fry until slightly golden. Push aside.
2. Put in minced pork and saute until it turns opaque. (add more oil if needed)
3. Then push the pork aside and add in preserved radish and cook it until fragrant, add in mushrooms and cook until fragrant.
4. Push everything back into the center and season with salt and pepper, and sugar if needed.
5. Pour cornstarch mixture into the wok, Toss until the liquid is absorbed.
6. Put in peanuts and turn off the heat.
250gm glutinous rice flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
50gm boiling water
150gm water or more
Mix flour, salt and sugar together. Pour in boiling water, then stir with chopstick. Add in oil and more water, knead until a soft dough forms. Add more water if needed. Set aside.
10 pcs 6×8 inches banana leaf, blanched or wilted over open fire
Some oil for greasing, put in a saucer.
1. Divide dough into 10 pieces.
2. Flatten each piece of dough and put in a generous amount of filling, and seal the dumpling neatly.
3. Put one side of the formed dumpling into the oil. Smear the banana leaf with the oiled dumpling. Turn the dumpling, oil side up.
4. Fold the banana leaf to wrap up the dumpling. See here.
5. Steam the dumplings on medium high heat for 15 minutes.