Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gratitude and Giving - The Last Bamboo Leaf

Triangles of sticky rice and red beans perfectly wrapped in bamboo leaves make me grateful.

I reluctantly unwrapped the last leaf from the sticky rice yesterday. I say reluctantly because they were so beautiful that I just wanted to gaze at their artistry. The bamboo leaves were pulled taut and smooth with a top knot as a finishing touch. Do you see that knot? How does someone go about pushing a bamboo thread through sticky rice? Unwrapping the little treasures was like undraping an obi from a geisha (or so I imagine).

These were a gift from a family in Arcadia. The grandmother prepared them for me to show her gratitude for the persimmons they picked from our yard. I'm grateful for the time, talent and . . . . . gratitude that went into creating them.

Every time I looked at them I was reminded of the circle of gratitude.

Not just beautiful - they tasted pretty darn good too.

This post also appearst at Open Mouth, Insert Fork.


Ann said...

The pictures reminded me of times spent in the kitchen watching my mother and her sisters preparing a very similar dish with sweet yellow bean curd in the center. I remember how the fragrance of the steaming banana leaves gently perfumed the house and how I couldn't wait to get my sticky little hands on one. Thanks for reminding me of something so sweet.

Susan C said...

Ann, that sounds like such a wonderful tradition.

Did you ever learn how to make the dish? My friend from Wandering Chopsticks wants to start a Vietnamese cooking class in Pasadena. (We're looking at using the Pasadena Buddhist Church.) We'll have to sign you up if you move out here.

Ann said...

I vaguely remember how to do it. As a child I was in charge of applying oil to the banana leaves to keep the rice from sticking, so I didn't pay close attention to how much sugar to add to the bean curd. I do have killer recipes for Vietnamese fried egg rolls and shrimp toast that are beyond simple that I'd be happy to give you.
A cooking class with you two sounds like heaven. Sign me up!

Margaret said...

What gives the rice that wonderful, almost purplish, coloring? It looks so delicious that I'm practically salivating.

Susan C said...

Margaret, those are the red beans.

Funny, how so many cultures have a "red beans and rice." The Japanese have a similar dish and, of course, there's the Creole version (which uses a different type of red bean).

BTW, I did a Google image search, and all of the others look crude by comparison.

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