Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Hainan Larp Recipe 海南笠做法

A custom passed down through the 23 generations in my husband's Hainanese family, the making of Hainan larp is a grand family affair in the village where the women folks gathered to help.

The Hainan larp is made when there is a joyous occasion like the return of loved ones, a new housing construction, birthday celebration, building a new family stove or village temple etc.

Also when someone is ill or going through a bad time or has met with an accident, we deliver our homemade larp to offer our consolation.

Whenever a lunar Chinese month is repeated or there is chaos in the community or unusual natural disasters, we have to make larp to ward off the possible bad luck.

We are not allowed to cut the larp with a knife, we have to unravel the woven strips one by one.

This unique Hainanese rice dumpling is wrapped in a woven palm leaf pouch, usually made into a pillow shape but some prefer the pyramid shape. These traditional dumplings contain large chunks of fatty pork belly marinated with five-spice powder.

Traditionally, in my father-in-law's village, rice is the main ingredient, the Hainan larp does not contain any stuffing.

In present day Singapore, glutinous rice has been added to make the larp more palatable. If my larp has no stuffing, the younger generations do not want to eat it. So I have to improvise by adding stuffing of meat, mushrooms and sometimes dried shrimps.

The rare occasions when I make Hainan larp, there will be numerous requests from friends who are Hainanese and many who aren't. Who doesn't need blessings!? LOL ♥♥♥♥♥ 

Hainan Larp
Ingredients :

700g glutinous rice
300g white rice
3 tbsp garlic oil, can add sliced shallots (optional) to fry together
50g dried shrimps, washed and minced
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp 5-spice powder

Combine the two rice together and mix in minced dried shrimps, garlic oil, salt, sugar and 5-spice powder. Leave it aside and prepare the pillow-shaped cases.

Marinade  :
500 g fatty pork belly, cut into chunks
5 tbsp garlic oil
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp 5-spice powder
1 tsp pepper

Marinate the fatty pork belly with the seasonings overnight.

The Hainan larp pouch looks similar to the Malay ketupat, except that we use 4 strips of palm leaves to weave instead of two.

Using 4 strips of palm leaves, weave them into pillow-shaped or pyramid-shaped larp cases.

Leave an opening in each case to fill in the marinated rice mixture and meat stuffing. Wash them before using.

After filling in the contents, seal the larp case by tucking the ends of the 4 palm leaves tightly into the lattice pouch.

Boil some hot water in a large pot and put in the larp. Boil for 45 minutes until cooked.

Recipes of Hainanese larp are usually kept within families. Every family has their own style of making this traditional delicacy. I am publishing a basic recipe to preserve and showcase this rare dialect cuisine.

A community event : Making Hainan Larp

海南笠是我们家乡, 琼海民间带有吉祥含义的传统名小吃。因其外围有椰叶壳,吃时得将椰叶慢慢解开,便有“解结解忧”之说。

我们琼海农村家家会包苙, 一般阿婆都会制作,但年轻人中许多都不会包了。凡亲戚砌灶、或是我们回乡等, 乡亲都会送自己包的苙来。



用洗净的椰叶编织成苙外壳, 形状一般为枕头状,也有编织成三角形或菱形。


五花肉切大块, 调味腌隔夜。

把调味后的米填入编好的小枕头状苙壳里面,放一大块腌好的五花肉, 将“笠壳”收口,放入锅里用清水煮熟。



1.  海外亲人归来;

2.  亲朋家办大事情,比如建房、起灶、祝寿、建坟、祈平安、建村公庙、挖井和造棺的时候, 表示祝福;

3.   在亲戚朋友生病、受惊或发生意外伤害,精神压力很大的时候送去,表示安慰。   

另外,在以下情况下自家要做苙来吃,  在闰年、社会出现动荡或发现有异常天兆时。目的是祈望消灾除祸、社会稳定、安居乐业、平安幸福。


琼海人把剥除苙壳称为“解宽”,  含有祝福的意思,不仅解脱经济的困境,还可解脱生活、命运和身体健康的困顿,保佑平安。



无论顺境逆境都可送苙吃苙,顺境时吃苙,是把好事圈住; 逆境时吃苙,是把恶运解开。

好时送苙,是送来祝福,祈望美好;  不好时,送苙则送来宽慰,送来战胜困难的信心。

Friday, October 21, 2016

Chinese Hawthorn Apple and Chrysanthemum Tea 山楂苹果菊花茶

We have been overindulging in food for the past two weeks because we were hosting some foreign guests. I am trying hard to get rid of the salty, spicy, oily and sugary stuff in my body.

The unpredictable weather is also causing havoc to the health of my family members, one by one we are falling sick. We need a healthy and nourishing beverage to cleanse our digestive system.

I have accumulated two dozen apples in the fridge because we regularly have elderly visitors who always bring us gifts of fruits whenever they come to our house. It's a Chinese culture.

It becomes a headache for me when we cannot consume all the apples. I have to think of ways to use them. I would spend hours peeling and coring apples, then baked or cooked them into delicious dishes or beverages.

When I was in my twenties and newly wedded, I kept harassing (edited) ... oops, suggesting to my husband to emigrate to Australia and own an apple orchard. Fortunately he was level-headed and did not listen to me, or else I would be feeling miserable ... imagine peeling and coring apples for the rest of my life. LOL

The main ingredients for my detoxifying and nourishing tea are Chinese hawthorns (山楂) and apples.

Hawthorns when used appropriately is able to help dilate blood vessels, particularly in the heart, helping your blood flow more easily and lowering blood pressure. Chinese physicians primarily use hawthorn for treatment of heart disease. With the easing of the blood circulation problem, it helps to reduce the syndromes of having cold feet and hands.

Another benefit of eating hawthorn is that it would burn body fat. Ahhhh! This makes you sit up, right? haha....

Ingredients :

50g dried hawthorns (warning : hawthorns are sour)
20 apples
30 g dried chrysanthemum flowers
30 g wolfberries
rock sugar to taste
3 litres water (yields about 6 - 7 glasses)


1.   Peel and core the apples, cut into quarters or large chunks.

2.  Wash dried hawthorns and chrysanthemums. Soak hawthorns for about 20 minutes. Discard water.

3.   Put the hawthorns, apples and chrysanthemum flowers in a pot with about 3 litres of water. Bring them to a boil. By this time, the aroma of apples would fill the whole house. mmmm.........

4.   I removed some quarters of apples for a sweet dessert dish. Let the rest of the apples boil longer for a more tasty drink.

5.   Reduce the fire to medium, keep boiling for about 60 minutes till flavours are infused into the tea. Add rock sugar and wolfberries. Simmer for another 5 more minutes until rock sugar is dissolved.

A healthy and nourishing Chinese Hawthorn Apple Chrysanthemum Tea / Dessert

6.   Serve the tea with a slice of apple as a sweet dessert. Or simply serve the tea chilled. Enjoy!

The dried hawthorn is sour, so do not use too much. I have several variations using hawthorn tea as the base. Sometimes I add red dates, Chinese pear or honey for a more nutritious tea and with a variety of flavours.

过去的两个星期, 应酬太多, 暴饮暴食消化不良, 结果胀胃不舒服。油腻、高胆固醇、高脂肪的食物对健康极为不利, 我赶快煮一锅去解油腻、助消化的山楂苹果菊花茶, 改善消化系统和肝脏功能。


供参考 :


山楂含山楂酸等多种有机酸,味酸甘,并含解脂酶,入胃后,能增强酶的作用,促进肉食消化,有助于胆固醇, 所以对于吃肉或油腻物后感到饱胀的人,吃些山楂、山楂片、山楂水或山楂丸等,均可消食,为老年人的保键食品,山楂还可利胆汁,促进胃液分泌。


帮助排除脂肪, 还可以整肠助消化, 有治疗肠胃炎、消化不良、预防消化系统癌变的作用。苹果中含纤维素可刺激肠蠕动,加速排便,故又有通便作用。


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Discover Deepavali in Little India 屠妖节前逛小印度

Enjoyed breakfast at an Indian fast food restaurant in Little India with a couple of overseas Chinese friends. I brought them here specially to eat the huge Batura and long paper Thosai. It was their first time seeing and tasting these food. they were so excited and kept taking pictures. They ate the Indian bread using their fingers. LOL

We paid a visit to the Indian Heritage Centre so our guests could understand the culture, heritage and history of the Indian community in Singapore. We spent an hour going through the exhibits by ourselves. There were very few visitors in the morning, my guests were delighted to have the place to themselves and took lovely pictures without being photo bombed by strangers. haha....

There was a Deepavali Bazaar in front of the Indian Heritage Centre, we wandered through the aisles of stalls, milling with the shoppers looking for attractive buys and unique souvenirs to bring home. I couldn't help buying myself some Indian costume jewellery too.

As Little India is preparing for Deepavali, we noticed lots of colourful displays and beautiful decorations being put up along the streets and on almost every building.

At an open field, we saw some colourful displays and stopped to take some photos. An Indian guy came to befriend us and explained the significance of the displays. It was so nice of him sharing his culture with us.

As we were walking through the lanes to the train station, we saw this stall selling fruits and vegetables. We went to have a look and discovered some fruits which we didn't know existed. Sadly, the Indian stall holder could not speak English, we still do not know what are the names of those fruits. LOL

Another shop that made us stopped to have a look was this popular Indian sweets shop. Bought some Indian sweets to share with my young guests who enjoyed the sweet stuff. I tried to avoid sugary foods and gave them my share. haha...

My overseas guests were dazzled as they enjoyed the sights and sounds of Little India in the run-up to Deepavali. I enjoyed myself as well and hope to bring more friends here to soak up the festivities before Deepavali.  

早餐带中国来的朋友在小印度的印度快餐店吃异国料理,来两份特别的印度饼, 朋友们看得目瞪口呆, 齐声说: "不可思议的印度饼! 拍照! 拍照! 快拍照!" 哈哈 。。。

印度人吃早餐都是以手抓饭或是抓饼吃,他们也入境随俗喔。这印度饼不用沾酱直接吃, 口感吃起来很脆, 而且不油腻, 就算很薄, 也不会没味道, 香味还是有存在的。

吃过早餐后, 就去参观印度传统文化馆, 让外国朋友进一步了解新加坡印度族社群丰富多彩的文化遗产。博物馆早上没那么多参观者, 我们度过了一段轻松愉快的时光。

印度传统文化馆建在位于甘贝尔巷(Campbell Lane)与客来富街(Clive Street)交界处, 这里属于小印度的中央地带。参观了博物馆, 我们顺道在小印度逛逛。

朋友们很幸运地遇上屠妖节期间,小印度的大街小巷到处陈列着鲜明而艳丽的拱门与彩灯, 变成一个装饰华丽的世界。我们穿梭在巷弄中, 走走停停, 品尝有特色的印度甜点、美食。

我买了些甜点让朋友们品尝, 年轻人不嫌印度甜点甜, 还吃得津津有味。他们在新加坡度过了一个难忘的小印度之旅。

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