Monday, August 27, 2012

Superstition or what?

It rained heavily early on Saturday morning.  That morning, the Chan clan were to attend to my grandmother grave for "wong san" prayers ("grave warming" as my young nephew adeptly called it).     

Now my grandmother's grave was located at a slope yet every year whenever we went for tomb-sweeping (Ching Ming), we could find that the place was being flooded and it was really "tomb-sweeping" to get rid of the mud and the weeds. And every year my brothers would said that they had to do something about this. 

Finally after Ching Ming, this year, they had started the ball rolling and get the caretaker of the cemetery to build/refurnish the tomb.  And on that Saturday, the family were to go for prayers/dedication for the "new" tomb. 

So just to prove to us that a good job has been done and my grandma is satisfied with her new abode, it rained that morning. What a coincidence? :p

I was told by my brother not to attend as I was supposed to be in mourning still for my MIL. I have requested my niece and nephew to take some photos but I cannot downloan them, hence there are no photos - have to wait till the next Ching Ming.

So, I was at home and I have started my home brewed rice wine  last month and it was time to harvest it.  I was in for disappointment when the wine was revealed! The rice were floating on the surface and the wine looked pale and white instead of the golden  and when I dipped my finger to taste- IT WAS SOUR!

See the pale liquid- I shall not call them wine!

I was still not satisfied till I tried to cook some with the eggs and black fungus- and it was still undrinkable-Sarah asked whether I put in vinegar ! - we ate the eggs and black fungus anyway.  

Now the old wives' tale said the wine will turn bad when death occurs in the family.   As my MIL had passed away just last 2 weeks, could this be the reason? Or it is the new yeast that I have bought? Could it be the glutinous rice- I can remember that the rice were mildly infested with weevils when I bought them.  

It could be a hundred and one reasons. So far  the success rate of brewing the rice wine has been good but this time I am really flabbergasted!  My purpose of brewing these wine is for my niece who will be giving birth end October and now with just 2 months to go, there won't be enough rice wine for her confinement. 

My sister immediately agreed to sought the help of her daugher-in-law's mother to make- seems that she is an expert (being a Hakka). Hopefully with her expertise, there will be enough rice wine for my niece.  

I was told by Aunty that I should not  start another new batch as I was supposed to be still in mourning. (too late as I had already started another batch immediately).  She recommended that I should place a knife and some lime (or pomelo leaves) on top of the pot to get rid of the "bad" omens.   I do not have any of those leaves so I will let it be and the result will be known in one month's time. 
Now at around  the same time  I also made some Red Yeast Rice Wine. So last weekend, I quickly drained them, fearing the worse.  However this Red Yeast Rice Wine is Ok, good, strong  and sweet wine!
 It was my first trial, so I used only 1 kg of the glutinous rice and it yielded only 1 bottle of the wine but 2 bottles of the lees! Can't wait to cook with them.

I did some baking afterwards- making my first batch of Shanghai Mooncakes.   I think the White Lotus Paste old stock as it was rather dry. 

I did 2 types of the dough- the normal Shanghai Mooncake dough and also the spiral (layers) dough.  
This is the layered dough - cannot see the swirls clearly  as I baked  them  instead of deep-fry. It tasted rather  bland but crispy/hard.

 This the normal Shanghai Mooncake dough -creaming method- soft and buttery.   I think I will stick to this one. I know its too early to take orders now and counter is open - haha.

Last but not least my Char Siew Pau - I used the Hong Kong Flour instead of the normal pau flour. They looked really white and the dough is spongy and soft. However this flour which I think is available only at the Chinese Sundry shop is rather expensive 500gm for RM3.50.
My pleating is still not up to the mark but the paus are smiling after steaming!

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