Sunday, January 15, 2006
Hainanese Rice Crispies
Can you guess what that is?
Yes, it looks puffed up because it is.
It's actually rice. Puffed rice to be exact. Think rice crispies and you get my drift.
Some time back, I posted about this snack in a meme I did about Childhood Food Memories and I promised to post about this when my grannie made it for this coming Chinese New Year (CNY).
Now, this isn't your usual rice crispies. The ones my dear grannie makes, they're one of a kind. Till now, I have yet to be able to find it elsewhere. I call it the asian version of the more popular Rice Krispie Cremes and made in a totally different way.
For my family, and for most Hainanese, we call this snack hor gong, or haw kong, it doesn't matter how it's spelt as long as you pronounce it properly. My maternal grandmother used to make them every CNY but for the past 5 years she stopped - simply because it was a labourious effort and she wasn't getting any younger. But this year, she decided to make them again, with the help of 4 of my aunts. As for me, I decided to snoop around a bit and take some photographs. So here I present to you the lady of the show, my maternal grannie!
She's busy measuring the amount of puffed rice to use. Mind you, there were so much rice! And puffing them doubles their quantity. You'll understand as you read on.
Here's the hor gong I was telling you about. This is one of my dearest grannie's speciality. She's a darn sweet lady and rather fine as well. She raised 8 daughters up and till this day, she's still strong and active. Very adorable and kind hearted. Love going to her place - only setback is that my Mandarin isn't that good. But it's okay, we can understand each other. I do understand most of the Hainanese dialect they speak; although I can't speak it.
Okay back to the delicious snack...
Ahhh roasted peanuts. Hey they didn't just buy them pre-roasted okay. My aunt and grannie roasted it themselves, thus the aroma. Trust me, you'll want to pop some in your mouth after taking a sniff.
Okay, so you have roasted peanuts, and you have:
Puffed rice. Loads of it. What do you do next?
Make some caramel of course....
Do note that the caramel contains ginger and lime juice (for that refreshing taste).
It takes skill to ensure you don't over burn the caramel.
After the caramel's ready, add it to the puffed rice, and throw in some toasted sesame seeds and viola:
Okay here's a more detailed picture of how that came about:
Mix the peanuts with the rice, add to caramel, mix well, place it on trays to cool. Then you slice it!
In case you're wondering how the puffed rice is made. I'll show you:
Now, the rice is actually dried under the sun (grannie does it for leftover rice for the entire year, thus the accumulative volume!). It must be really dry or else your rice won't puff.
So you have your dried rice, now, heat up some oil, lots of it, and using a coliander or sieve as you can see, place some rice in it and lower into the oil. The rice puffs up really quick so be careful. Drain all the oil and set aside.
Next, here's another detailed picture of how the rice is added to the caramel, placed in trays and properly sliced:
Tadah! My photo essay of sorts on this yummy Hainanese snack is complete.
It was interesting as this was certainly the first time watching my grannie make this. I love hor gong and missed it so much. Boy am I glad she's making it again. I hope to learn from her and maybe make it myself someday.
I'll soon have some tins of those lovely treats so if you want to taste them, come to my place during CNY visting why don't you? hahaa... you won't regret!