Joong Again

On Friday night I made joong, only I used a ton of fillings like my Dad mentioned he liked eating. I thought the last ones I made were kind of bland – the strip of pork belly in the center was not enough for me.

Wow, what a long night. Like, 6 hours of joong making. Plus all the prepping the night before and morning of. Joong is definitely not something you can do spur of the moment. It’s a Clear-Your-Calendar kind of thing. And this time I was making them by myself and pretty much underestimated how long it would take.

But these were well worth the time spent making them. More fillings = yum.

I still have to work out how much rice/fillings/bamboo leaves to have so I don’t have any leftovers, but I used all the rice that I’d soaked this time, so I was pretty happy about not having any go to waste. I’d rather have filling leftovers than rice leftovers any day.

The soaking. THE SOAKING!

The morning of I put some bamboo leaves in a big honkin plastic space-saver storage container. Don’t worry – I soaped it up and made it all squeaky-clean. The bamboo leaves tend to rise up to the top, so I just placed my bowl full of rice on top of the leaves to weigh them down. The rice is also covered with water to soak.

What were my fillings?

Peants, whole dried shrimp (these were what my Yeh Yeh had bought for me when I last visited him specifically for making more joong), marinated pork belly, lop chong, split mung beans, dried shiitake slices, and dried scallops.

Here are the some of the fillings I used, just in case you’re curious. (And also for my future reference)

Small Dried scallops – I really like this brand. They have a nice brine-y flavor that isn’t too overpowering. These are also covered in water to soak for the day.

Dried strips of Shiitake mushrooms – these are soaked for the day. I like that they are pre-sliced and not as intensely flavored as other dried mushrooms I’ve tried. Or maybe it’s just that they’re sliced so thinly they aren’t as intense as thick slices/whole mushrooms. Either way, I think I’ll stick with this brand again.

Dried split mung beans – again, soaked with water to cover them for the day.

These are the special large dried shrimp YehYeh got for me. I like them quite a bit. As with all the other dried goods, these were soaked in water to cover them and left for the day.

And here’s where I started dragging everything out from the kitchen to the living room:

I laid down some newspaper so I wouldn’t create a mess on the carpet. Soaked rice is not fun to clean up or step on and have stick to your feet.

Up top is the storage container with soaked bamboo leaves (leave them in water so they don’t dry out) with an empty pan next to it for finished joong to sit in.
The big purple bowl has soaked sweet rice in it.Then there’s all the soaked stuff, drained and ready to go: whole shrimp, peanuts (yep, I also soaked peanuts. Those things really swell up!), scallops in the pink bowl, mung beans below them, and the shiitakes on the right end.

As I was about to start I realized – d’oh! I’d forgotten the twine, lop chong (sweet Chinese sausages) and marinated pork belly! So I quickly peeled and sliced the lop chong and set out the pork belly. Phew, problem averted!
Here’s how the filling goes: grab a leaf or two of bamboo (I made small ones with one, but I had trouble making them with all of the fillings, so I switched to 2 leaves to make it easier on myself) and wrap it into a cone. Then add a spoonful of rice, toss in a bit of all of your fillings, and cover again with some rice. Then fold the ends of the cone over the bottom tightly and wrap with twine. I’ll be honest, this isn’t one of those things that’s easier than it sounds. It’s a bitch and a half to get down, and if a tear pops open while you’re tying the package up you might end up half-cursing like I did: “Oh, gahhh… Son of a… Mother ffff” you get the gist.
Then you boil them in water for 1.5-2 hours. So after you make a few of them, put a pot of water on to boil and let them go. I eventually had two large pots of water boiling and man; my kitchen was a sweltering jungle!

And here’s one of the finished guys. Pretty unassuming, right? Just cut off the twine and open it up.

All in all, it just looks like a dense-ass triangle of rice, but you can see something peeking out of the right side. Once you open them up, you see all of the fillings. I would have taken a picture, but by then my fingers were sticky and I didn’t really feel like it.

I don’t think these normally have any dipping sauce, but I’m really not a fan of plain rice, so I wanted something to dip the rice-ier bits into. I made basically the same dipping sauce as for XLB (soup dumplings). Basically, black vinegar, sliced fresh ginger, and dark soy sauce.

I wanted some of the black vinegar since I figured it would help cut some of the heaviness and density of the rice itself. Sticky rice always seems really heavy to me. And success – it worked very well! Albany John didn’t care for the black vinegar, he said it left a lingering sharp/floral note on the tip of his nose.
The brand above is “Chinkiang Vinegar”. It’s in a large-ish bottle (think: wine bottle) and was $2-3.

I used “Superior Dark Soy Sauce” from Pearl River Bridge. It was around $3 and is also in a bottle similar to a wine bottle. It’s a little thicker than regular soy sauce and tastes a little better than my usual Kikkoman brand.

I liked these a LOT more than the ones I made last time – all of the different fillings made it much more enjoyable to eat (especially if you’re impartial to rice like I am). My sis is even offering to ferry some down to my dad this week when she goes to visit so that he can try them out and give them a thumbs up or down. This is my vegan sister, who knows that basically any Chinese dish I make has pork in it, so I really appreciate the gesture.

I packed them all up in ziploc bags and now they are sitting cool in my freezer. I’ll pull them out if I need a quickie meal or snack.

1 comment
  1. wow! they look gorgeous! seriously, the artistry is amazing

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