Rice a big part of Hmong culture. When eating a snack or have a meal we must always have rice. Rice is the meal, without it, we are lost. Eating just meat or vegetables without rice is awkward when eating with Hmong people. However, if there is rice then it’s a fiesta!
Rice, Rice, Rice- let’s talk about rice there are:
The short grain rice
You purchased at the store and for those of you that can’t tell what rice taste like because common rice is rice, right? Yes and no. Short grain rice has a nuttier taste and is more filling when you eat it. When steamed its aroma is musty kinda. It’s more sticky as well. Don’t mistake the sticky rice or known as sweet rice. They are not the same. Because sweet rice also is a short grain rice.
The long grain rice.
The most popular rice bought by Hmong people is jasmine rice. Jasmine rice has a sweet aroma when steamed. Mostly used by middle working class because it is more expensive than short grain rice. It fluffier and feels lighter when eaten. Plus it’s blander for us the blander the better because we squeeze it into an oval shape and stick it into hot spicy chili Hmong sauce.
Oh, the good ole sweet rice it is the most eaten rice during our Hmong new year that is happening now during the holidays. What’s great about this rice is that after soaking it for 4hr or overnight you only have to steam it once not like the regular rice where you have to steam it twice. Yes, two steps process. Sweet rice is probably the, prefer, rice to go for when eating with papaya salad, fried chicken, Hmong sausage, and deep-fried pork belly! Yum! Not to mention squeezing the sweet rice into an oval shape and sticking it into the Hmong chili sauce is the best!
My Aunt backyard garden
Over Halloween week my husband and I went to visit my cousins and my uncle Paul and his family in Oklahoma. It’s not a surprise to see that my aunt have her very own vegetable and herb garden in her backyard. Hmong people always have a vegetable and herb garden in their backyard, especially the more traditional generation. You don’t see very much with young people.
I took a tour of her backyard to see what she was growing during this time of the year. It’s the end of October and the beginning of November. She said nothing because winter is coming and they don’t get snow but it’s cold enough to kill any sproutlings.
She harvested her lemongrass, enough to fill three huge cardboard boxes. She also has some wild passion fruit growing and I have to say it’s sweeter than the domestic passion fruit. Wild passion fruit does not turn purple but remains green. You know when it’s ready when it gets super soft to the touch.
Her chili peppers lay frozen and dried up. There’s no hope of saving it. Aunt has already Rescued its fruits. Farewell, chili pepper plant see you in the next planting season when you sprout again.
New crop sweet rice grain (mov nplej tshiab nplaum)
I looked beyond the wild passion fruit vines with some fruits hanging, maybe, my uncle made a makeshift trellis for the vines to climb. Right behind it, I saw what it seems to be tall grasses. It had maybe 4 or 5 plus stalks growing in a bunch together. That intrigued me a bit as I went to inspect them.
Aunt told me those are rice. My aunt has her own rice field in Oklahoma! Not any rice, it is the new crop sweet rice field in Oklahoma (mov nplej tshiab). She said it wasn’t hard growing them at all because the soil is always moist and it rains all the time. Oh, I would love to grow some in my backyard in Yuma.
Yuma the driest city in the southwest desert! I will try it because she shared some grain seeds with me. However, I will have to try this indoor just to see if a miracle can happen. Will keep you guys posted for next spring.
Oklahoma Hmong New Year
We went to the Hmong new year since this is our first time being there it’s no different from home. I thought it was going to be cold so I pack winter outfit. Just my luck it was warm the first day and I was dying. My cousin told me last year was windy cold. This year went rogue! XD
I manage to purchase some seeds that I can’t wait to seed them. I got some green eggplant seeds, China mustard seeds, bitter guard, and winged beans. I can’t wait to seed them!
Oh no got caught with rice in my carry on at the airport. But everything was fine they checked it for whatever they’re checking for and the machine turns green and she let me through with it. Phew, I manage to get those home and shared it with my mom. Not to mention aunt and uncle send us off with 20 fishes they recently caught, three water buffalo jerky bags, and two bags of deer meat, plus 4 odd looking burnt four-legged something.
I’m not going to ask. Guess what, we shipped them to mom. She’s happy.
How to make rice the traditional way without using a rice cooker?
You need this set or the one with a bamboo top. Soaked the rice overnight. You can either place the soaked rice in the filter top pot or wait until the water is boiling. I put mine all at the same time. Cover the pot if you can.
Let the water steamed the soaked rice for 30 mins. Check the hot rice in the pot to see if it’s steamed all the way. To tell if it’s steamed take a few grains out and squeeze it between your fingers if the first layer comes off easily then you’re ready to re-soak it.
Re-soaking the steamed rice is not complicated at all. Now, some older generation likes to drink the leftover rice juice. Then you can use a large mixing bowl pour the hot steamed rice into the bowl and pour water into the steamed rice and let it sit for 2 minutes. Drain the rice back into the filters pot and steam it again for the second time.
I normally do not drink the rice juice I place the filtered pot along with my rice in the mixing bowl and run tap water over it. I stir the rice inside the pot and let it sit for 20 to 30 seconds. Don’t forget to turn off the faucet. I picked up my pot let the water filters through, once it is all drained place the top back on to the hot boiling water, cover it and wait another 20 mins and your grain becomes ready to eat, after a few tosses of the rice.
For Sweet rice same as the above, however, you only steam it once and its ready to eat after some rice tossing.
Thank you for coming!
What do you eat your rice with? Please leave a comment on my comment section if you have questions or wants to educate me on anything feel free to let me know. Together we can all learn. Have a great day!