It’s A Hokkien Thing

When my mom is lazy, she cooks Tua Chye Perng or Chinese green mustards rice. 大菜饭 The same vege 大菜 is used to make pickled kiam chye or salted vegetable. It was a recipe handed to her by her mother or my late grandmother. It was humble food popular with the poor people of Fujian, China. It is a cost saving meal as no separate dishes are required.

It is similar to yam, pumpkin, long bean, carrots, mushroom, potato and cabbage rice. Collectively, they are known as “kiam perng” or salty / savoury rice. 咸饭Some call it Chinese Rice Casserole when meat such as boneless chicken and sausage are used.

I used to hate tua chye when I was a kid. The mustards smelled terrible when it was cooked. Now it seems worse, I always panic thinking I smelled a whiff of leaking cooking gas. To make it more palatable, pre cooked heh bee or tiny dried shrimps, pork and sauces are added before going into the rice cooker.

Although I still dislike it, I eat it because I respect tradition and think fondly of my late granny.

#rice #tradition #fujian #hokkien

Understanding The Chinese Psyche

It is a Hokkien (Fujian dialect) term you will hear a lot during Chinese New Year. It goes with the Chinese obsession with prosperity and luck in the form of riches via a windfall. Chinese folks like to gamble, be it at home card games, on mahjong tables or at casinos. So “huat” is like a clarion call and a good luck greeting.

It is not exclusive to Chinese New Year, though. I remember when the deities at the Nine Emperor Gods festival were paraded, every joss stick toting devotee was shouting “Huat Ah!” at the top of their lungs. So was the crowd when the ominous looking Hell Keeper’s deity was lifted for burning during Por Tor or the climax of the Hungry Ghost month.
Huat means ‘to prosper’ as in Fatt in Cantonese. So Huat Ah!

Sony A7R, ISO 160, f4, 1/250 sec

#culture #custom #chinese #hokkien #fujian #huat #prosper #neg #twilight #sunset

Chwee Kueh

Chui Ker (Hokkien) or Woon Chai Koh (in Cantonese) is rice flour cake steamed in metal cups or bowls. The rice pudding is then topped up with ‘Chai Por’.

The toppings of Chai Por is preserved and fried radish (lobak) chopped into bits with sesame oil and soy sauce added. Chili sauce is optional.

It is takeaway or street food that should be eaten on the wax paper it comes wrapped in.

The exact recipe varies. Some use shallots or turnip, some add dried shrimps (heh bi) while others soak the toppings in a special oil concoction.

For the rice flour, some mix it with potato flour to enhance the texture and smoothness.

As such, chui kueh from different stalls never taste the same and the satisfaction varies greatly. If you find a good hawker selling it, pray it stays.

It is a dying traditional Chinese breakfast snack and is not as easy to find these days. Chui Ker is more popular in neighbouring Singapore where it is spelled and pronounced as chwee kueh.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 800, f14, 1/80 sec.