Friday 25 February 2011


Nonya Chinese Black Glutinous Rice Dessert/Nonya Kinesisk Sort Klæbrig Ris Dessert/黑糯米甜点 [hēi nuò mǐ tián diǎn]

From my mum, May Loh’s recipe
Serves 4

Preparation & Cooking Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

- 1 cup black glutinous rice
- 1 litre or 4 cups water
- 2-4 pandan leaves tied to a knot (also called screwpine leaves) (optional)
- 3 TBS brown sugar
- 2-4 tablespoons low fat milk or thick coconut milk

1. Wash the black glutinous rice and place in a bowl with enough water to cover.

2. Place the black glutinous rice, water and pandan leaves in a pot.

3. Bring to a boil and lower heat (no. 4 on my stove) to simmer for 45-60 minutes or until the glutinous rice is soften.

4. Discard pandan leaves, add brown sugar and stir well.

5. Ladle into a bowl and serve with 1 or 2 tablespoons low-fat milk (traditionally it is topped with coconut milk, but low fat cow milk is healthier).

Nutritional Value:
Black glutinous rice, also known as forbidden rice, is an excellent source of the trace mineral manganese, and a good source of the minerals selenium and magnesium. The black color is due to its outer coating of black bran. This also gives the rice a rich nutty flavor when it is cooked, and adds to its nutrition, as the bran provides important dietary fiber. Forbidden rice provides other nutrients, including the amino acids common to most rice varietals. It is rich in antioxidants just like blueberries. It contains phytonutrients, or phytochemicals, which provide antioxidants and other health benefits. In addition, this rice provides many minerals important for human health, including iron. But because of its glutinous nature, it is a very starchy food and thus very high in calories. It should be eaten once in a while as a sweet treat. If you wish for an even healthier version, go for black rice, which is a long-grain rice whereas black glutinous rice is short-grain. Black rice or black glutinous rice completes the nutritional rainbow.

Additional Information:
Forbidden rice may have gotten its name because only emperors in ancient China were allowed to eat it, due to its rarity and high nutritional value. In Chinese herbal medicine, black rice is often recommended as a tonic. It is believed to strengthen health and promote longevity, which explained its other alias: “longevity rice,” and “tribute rice” and it was reserved exclusively for emperors.

I was walking in Lyngby Stor Center yesterday to get some groceries after picking J up from the childcare, and suddenly, it stroke me again that I am very far away from my other home, Singapore, very far away from my mother, father, siblings and friends. A feeling of being very unfilial came over me. I reminded myself, why I am here in Denmark, because I married my Significant Other. This is my second home which I have come to love, although I still love and miss Singapore, and especially with all my loved ones there. Being in a cross-cultural marriage means that one of the parties will always be torn apart separated by the distance from loved ones. Singapore has changed a lot since I left 10 years ago, but it is where all my loved ones reside. It is not that I am unhappy with my life here or living among Danes. I am very happy with the home we have set up in Denmark. The Danes are very nice people, and I am most happy living among them. I just also wish that my loved ones are also living among me too. When feelings of home-sickness strikes, I am always comforted by God who oversees all things, also my original homeland and loved ones in Singapore. His still small voice never fails to make me snap out of it, and carry on with my life here.

I know my parents probably feel the same. They are very happy for me, though I imagine that once in a while, the realization of their daughter being far away must have also hit them. Whenever a sudden bulge of home-sickness strikes, I will begin to crave comfort food. My mother hardly makes dessert, but if she does so, this is one of those desserts that she makes. This morning, I phoned her to get the original recipe and I start making it now. I am now adding one more recipe to the records of my heritage for J, and also as a tool to hold on to my sense of self, having transplanted myself out of Singapore to Denmark.

I am so pleased to learn from my friend Jannie that I can get pandan leaves from the Chinatown in Copenhagen. I am so blessed to live in this modern age, where (almost) everything is available anywhere in the world, enabling me to indulge in my comfort food.

My Significant Other tried this dessert for the first time this morning, and I am so pleased that he liked it. He is now taking his third bowl :-) Over the years, we have come closer and closer in terms of food, and we have grown more and more to like each other's food. It meant a lot to me to be able to enjoy my childhood food with my Significant Other.


This is how you tie a knot with pandan leaves

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