Glutinous rice dumplings (tasty restaurant)

Huang Kailin
Recently, my wife and I received a gift-a friend drove a box of big dumplings, saying that it was wrapped by my father-in-law’s family. Let us feel the taste of the year in the suburbs of Shanghai.
Catch the box with both hands. It’s heavy and weighty. When I lifted the lid of the box, I saw the big dumplings lying there like snowballs, which attracted people’s attention. This is the biggest dumpling I have ever seen. Let’s boil water quickly. Boiled in the pot, the dumplings floated one after another, and cold water was ordered three times. The dumplings floated and swayed, and the pagoda tip slowly collapsed, shrunk and disappeared, and finally returned to a big round ball.
The big dumplings are out of the pot. We clamped it around the waist with chopsticks and bit open the dumplings, and a fragrance spread. At the moment, the glutinous rice balls are open and the corners of the mouth are still a little upturned. Seeing it trying to slip away from chopsticks, we quickly caught it with a bowl. At this time, the big dumplings are like a snowman melting, and the body can’t stand.
Oil flowers are overflowing, green is about to drip, and a thick fragrance comes to my face. The taste is very layered; Look at its color, green and white mixed. I can’t bear to eat, but I can’t help it. When I eat it, my mouth is full of saliva, and my breath echoes with all loves.
The shepherd’s purse stuffing mixed with oil is oily and green, risking fog, which is particularly attractive. I know, this is a shepherd’s purse that has just been pulled from the vegetable garden, and the original taste of the plant has not been lost at all. Then, hand-package it out an hour ago. It is a special presentation of the taste of the year, which is original and has a sense of ceremony when eaten.
Delicious, soft and glutinous, and thick and tender, this is the fattest, biggest and softest dumpling I have ever eaten. I rolled on my tongue one by one, tapped my teeth and cheeks, and slipped down my throat when I couldn’t wait to chew. Unconsciously, six glutinous rice balls fell into the belly and asked if there was any in the pot. My wife brought half a bowl of soup and drank it all at once. This combination is a perfect match.
In the past, all the rice wine dumplings I ate in my hometown were sweet. I remember that when my mother was alive, she wrapped dumplings, mashed walnuts, peanuts and sesame seeds, and added some dried tangerine peel and sugar to make stuffing. The skin was thin and the stuffing was full, all full and the size of table tennis. It tastes fluffy like a cake, smooth and elastic, giving people a feeling of rustling. But if you eat too much, you will get tired of people. You have to drink soup while eating, so that you won’t feel hungry for a long time. The dumplings made by my family are big enough in the local area, but they are still not as big as the ones we eat now.
This glutinous rice dumpling is a traditional food in Shanghai. Not only is it lovely in appearance, soft and smooth in taste, salty but not greasy, but it is rare and refreshing between the lips and teeth, and it means beauty, which means fullness, good weather and full of blessings for the New Year. In the past, glutinous rice balls were mostly made by traditional stone grinding technology, and the soaked glutinous rice was "fed" into the grinding hole with an iron ladle, because it was afraid of choking, and some water was "fed" from time to time. The stone mill needs two people to work together to promote it, and there is a great noise. Snow-white rice slurry flows out from the grinding seam, piece by piece, and a lock. Although it is shapeless, it is endless.
After eating big dumplings, I went downstairs and met a neighbor in the community. My neighbor is from Ningbo, and Ningbo Tangyuan is famous, so I asked him about the practice of glutinous rice dumplings. He said that when he was a child, he made it with his mother. He thought it was very simple, but he couldn’t wrap it well. The dumplings he made were either crooked or crooked. You have to be skillful in everything, and so does making dumplings. For example, how to grasp the degree of dryness and wetness of water mill powder, how to make "Helong" fit perfectly, how to wrap it round and smooth, and how to naturally pinch out that "pigtail" are all skills.
When wrapping glutinous rice balls, the wet glutinous rice flour is first made into pills, then kneaded into small pockets, filled with stuffing, and then a "pigtail" is pulled out and tied with a knot. The top can not only be pointed, but also make a lovely "pigtail", which makes people full of eyes. This kind of big glutinous rice balls can’t be wrapped by anyone. It needs to be handed down and skilled. If it’s not good, it will fall apart and stagger.
While chatting, a local nearby heard it and leaned in to catch the conversation. In the past, glutinous rice was scarce, and only when it was a major happy event or Chinese New Year did it become a big glutinous rice ball. If it was made at ordinary times, it must be a distinguished guest at home. The stuffing depends on the season, including meat stuffing, bean paste stuffing, shepherd’s purse stuffing, shredded radish stuffing and so on. There are many practices and many names. Steamed on a steamer, it is dumplings; Boiled in boiling water, it is dumplings; Put it in a pot and fry it in oil, which is an oil chopping block; Crushing the dumplings and frying them next to the pot is a cake collapse.
The same ingredients, different taste, is really magical and changeable.
Big glutinous rice balls are not something to be taken for granted. In Shanghai, they are very special foods around the Spring Festival. Holding a bowl of steaming glutinous rice balls, suddenly there was a festive atmosphere. The bowl is warm and the heart is warm. Eat a big glutinous rice ball, savor the longing and yearning for a happy reunion and a beautiful life in a piece of color and fragrance.
People’s Daily (February 16, 2024, 08 edition)