Even though I don’t follow the Chinese Lunar calendar, my grandparents, older relatives, and my mom, to an extent, do. I was informed the other day then, that today is what I refer to as “greef leaf sticky rice” day :D In Cantonese, we refer to them as “joong” and there’s a period of time every year (around May and June) that our older Chinese relatives will make them in honour of the Dragon Boat Festival. I feel like a doof because I’m constantly mixing this up with the Mid-Autumn Chinese Festival that happens in September with the moon cakes!
Anyway. Let it be known that I actually don’t really eat these wrapped packets of sticky rice as I’m rather indifferent to sticky rice. However, my parents, brother, best friend, and even my hairdresser do and they love them. They’re very popular in dim sum and traditional Chinese and Cantonese cuisine, as well as other Asian cuisines such as Japanese and Cambodian. In a nutshell, a packet of sticky rice (or glutinous rice) is stuffed with a number of different fillings and then wrapped in “green leaves”, which can take the form of banana leaves, lotus leaves, bamboo leaves, etc. The packets of sticky rice are then tied and secured with string and then steamed (as you see above in the little dim sum steamer) and served as a meal.
Back in the day, my grandmother would make SO many of these for us and my mom would stick them in the freezer and my mom, dad, and brother would eat them and unload from the freezer as they went along. These are labour-intensive though so my grandma hasn’t made these in quite a number of years because, well, she’s not getting any younger! My hairdresser has even given us a bag of them to eat in past years. My grandma would stuff them with everything from cured Chinese sausage (lap-cheung), chestnuts, peanuts, beans, edamame, pork, and lots of other stuff. You can drizzle them with a bit of soy sauce and eat them as a savoury meal, or you can even drizzle some of them with honey if they are made as a sticky rice dessert with syrup.
You can definitely order these green leaf sticky rice packets anytime during the year at a number of dim sum places (the first picture up top is one I took at King’s Cafe in Kensington Market), and you can even find them in Chinese supermarkets already steamed and cooked at times, like the mini ones I took a photo of! The “green leaf” day, as I refer to it, is just a special time during the year that the consumption of these is more popular.
My apologies for the lack of interior shots though. I promise when I get some I’ll update the post! In the meantime, enjoy the cuteness of the mini ones my mom bought at the Foody Mart Chinese supermarket here in Markham. Oh, and if you’re wondering why I have a strawberry in my photos it’s because my dad said to me, “you should put a strawberry beside them to show just how teeny and cute they are”. Oh dad, always the thinker, haha! And so I did. I think it looks quite cute. Happy “Green Leaf Sticky Rice” Day!