Steaming is indeed a marvellous way of cooking. And we have lots of recipes for steamed dishes.
Today we have good racks for steaming ranging from stainless steel cookware to some simple ways of just using two chopsticks to hold a plate up in a wok!!
One of my best memories of cooking was the making of steamed buns in Nang Chong and all the other simple dishes my third uncle Pang Sing came up with. My grandmother's wonderful dish of meat balls would always be the top dish in my family's Chinese New Year menu (which by the way has spread to Perth by my son) and the meat dumplings all lovingly wrapped in bamboo leaves and steamed in the early morning and ready for the table by mid afternoon!! Some of the best Foochow dishes are indeed the steamed ones.
And an essential item of course is the Dian Bi which we cannot do without...and what a marvellous the original China made Dian Bi it was...My mother said that after my grandmolther's dian bi "fell to pieces" they never could get a better one. Uncle fashioned some wooden dian bi and they were never good replacements.
In a recent visit last week to Nang Chong my friends and I were delighted to find this bamboo rack called Dian Bi (Kuali rack made of bamboo) in a relatives' home. The shape is that of the Star of David.
normal Malaysian dian bi
If you cannot find a traditional foochow dian bi...two pairs of chopsticks would do.
here you are...the Bamboo rack used by our Foochow elders...all the way from China and continued to be found in Nang Chong's Wong Hieng Kiu's home. Those over 60 would know that it is an excellent household item for the kitchen...
|this is a bamboo stand for the huge kuali|
|the bamboo rack hanging from wooden wall|
May be if I could get my Iban friends to make this from bamboo...I could learn to make some too...
what an excellent idea!!
Full steam ahead!!
And to add to the story...at the end of the cooking..cleaning of the kuali is done with a bamboo brush (which is still available in some shops today) by a brisk swishing of the brush in a kuali that still has some hot water. This is a very environmentally friendly brush and would also not damage the kuali... It is called a dian cheng by the Foochows!!
|A kuali brush (owned by Mr. Wong Hieng Kiu)|
|a modern nyonya dian bi or bamboo brush from google...|