I mentioned in passing to cousin Y that I missed having rice dumplings (汤圆) a few days after Winter Solstice last December when I met her to give her a loaf of my stollen. I had thought that her family didn’t prepare it while she thought I was overseas. And so we didn’t hook up to gorge ourselves silly (we are probably the only two in the family who absolutely go ga-ga over these rice dumplings, done Teochew style with ginger soup).
She promised to make them for me come Lunar New Year when I visit. I didn’t think much of the promise because well… this cousin is quite a bit of a scatterbrain, and after having two children, she has somewhat gotten worse. But she did remember, and woke up early this morning to make it. My aunt her mother has a very complicated secret recipe we two can’t quite follow to a T because she remembers recipes by heart, and the steps were always a little different when we made it different years with her chaperoning. I can’t quite recall the recipe now, but I do remember it involves working the dough with boiling hot water, a step I loathed.
Today’s rice dumplings tasted absolutely weird because of a little kitchen accident – my cousin added in too much water and didn’t have enough rice flour to compensate. So she added in normal flour, which adversely affected the texture of the rice dumplings. She was apologetic; my aunt skeptical; and my other cousin amused. I tasted the rice dumplings with a huge serving of the ginger soup, and agreed it tasted just a teeny-weeny bit weird, and too hard. Other than that, it was almost like the real McCoy. I went on to have a second helping of the rice dumplings, and my cousin lost some of the frown on her face. For some reason, she is exactly like my aunt – both love to feed me.
We really should sit my aunt down and record down her exact recipe before she completely forgets.