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Traditional Puffed Rice Cake For Chinese New Year

  • Crispy puffed rice cakes is one of the festive foods for the Cantonese and Hakka.
  • Coriander leaves is added for Hakka puffed rice cakes but for those who do not like the smell of the leave, they would not be able to stand it.
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    "麻通" Matong.
  • Delicious puffed rice cake.
  • ." style="padding:0; margin:0 auto;">
    "米通" Mitong.
  • The more the white flakes the better.
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    "大彩花" Dacaihua.

Puffed rice is tasteless but try slipping in some syrup and it becomes yummy!. However, it would turn up too sweet if the baker is a bit too enthusiastic with his syrup. Asked whether it is possible to use less syrup as people nowadays are more health conscious, Lin, who has 30 years of experience in bakery shook his head: “It can't be done. The puffed rice would not stick together without enough syrup.”

A local bakery with over 60 years of history in selling puffed rice cakes wholesale and in large quantities is getting busy with its bakers working day and night to cash in on the season.

Lin Jin Huang, who is one of the bakery’s supervisors, said other than puffed rice cake that is made for Chinese New Year, they also make other rice-based cakes like “麻通” Matong, “米通” Mitong and “大彩花” Dacaihua in normal days.

“Puffed rice cake is a traditional food for both the Cantonese and Hakka. But I don't know why they must eat puffed rice cake during Chinese New Year,” said Lin.

Meanwhile, “麻通” Matong and “米通” Mitong are wedding cakes for Fujian An-Nan and Xi An people, while Fujian Yongchun people use “大彩花”Dacaihua. Whethers it is '麻通' Matong'米通' Mitong or '大彩花' Dacaihua , they are essentials for the Grand Gift ceremony and as an offering. The bridegroom will send these cakes to the bride's house and the bride will deliver the cakes to their relatives and friends to inform them that she is going to get married.”

The method of making puffed rice cakes and popcorn is quite similar. Rice would first be heated under high pressure and syrup would be added to make the puffed rice stick together before it is shaped by a mould. Fried peanuts and sesame would be added to make it more tasty.

Puffed rice also referred to as pop rice.

Coriander leaves would be added for traditional Hakka puffed rice cakes but for those who do not like the smell of the leave, they would not be able to stand it.

According to Lin, puffed rice cakes can be stored for two to three months, depending on how it is kept. “Puffed rice cakes get damp easily. So we pack with two layers of plastics and seal it. We recommend customers keep them in a tight lid jar after they open the package.”

Take a bite of puffed rice cake in the coming Chinese New Year to discover the taste of tradition and recall the pleasant memories.(By GAO BAO LI (高寶麗)/ Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE/ Guang Ming Daily)

MySinchew 2008.01.22

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