Remembering mom by remembering the food she cooked for us………. A sudden surge of emotion always touches my heart whenever I cook this lovely long bean rice for my children. Whenever she cooked this long bean rice, she would repeatedly told us how they survived during the second war world – the days of eating sweet potatoes, boiled paku and midin (wild ferns) and at the beginning of the war, long bean rice every day.
“Count us lucky because we lived in small town. There were still a lot of paku and midin around.” She always concluded thus. On hearing this, one just could not help thinking – should we retreat to villages or jungles in order to survive if another war is coming ?
During Japanese occupation time, there was a shortage of all kinds of materials. Of course, rice was one of the items that could hardly be found in abundance. Many just cooked very diluted porridge but in my hometown, local rice was still available. Almost every family in the town cooked long bean rice everyday. This hakka dish actually requires dried shrimps, garlic, rice and a lot of long beans. Simplified version is just cook it with long beans and rice plus salt. That’s it. That made a meal or meals for a day. Everything had to be kept as simple as possible. Those were the days when one really knows what ‘hardship’ meant. My mom passed away eleven years ago. Mom was a loving mom and a great cook. Memories of her images in the kitchen still lingers in my mind even up to this day……
Let’s just look at some long beans before checking on the recipe.
The picture below shows the red tailed long bean. This is the most popular long bean in Malaysia and it is used in the long bean rice recipe. It is fleshy and tasty.
The red-tailed long beans
Shown below are the reddish purple long beans with green tips or tails. The vendors here in the markets call it red long bean.
Shown below are the snake long beans.The beans are fleshy but not as tasty as the red tailed long beans. It is curly like snake, thus the name.
Shown below are the string beans, a very slender type of long beans. In some Chinese restaurants, the beans are boiled for a while and used as an decoration item in the form of a weaved basket, a mat or a boat-shaped plate.
There are less popular long beans not shown here, like the pale green long beans and extra long long beans.
The string long bean
Shown below is a stir-fried dish of red tailed long beans and the reddish purple long beans. Prepare 100 g of each of these two types of long beans and stir-fry them together with 1 tbs of miso and 2 chillies. That is it, as simple as 1 & 2 & 3……
Long bean rice
- 2 cups long grain rice (400 g more or less)
- 600 g – 800 g long beans – cut into 2 cm lengths
- 4 dry chillies
- 10 g vegetarian belacan or miso
- 4 cups water
- Garlic (5 cloves) – Optional
- 2 tbs light soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Soak the rice for half an hour. Drain the rice.
- Fry the long beans till slightly brown.
- Take out from the wok and drain out the excess oil.
- Discard excess oil from the wok.
- Fry garlic till slightly brown.
- Add rice and belacan and stir-fry in the wok.
- Lastly add the chillies, the half-cooked long beans and 4 cups of water.
- Cook till the rice gets dry in the wok then scoop the rice into the rice cooker.
- Cook the rice in the rice cooker for 1 hour.
Serve the rice with thick soy sauce and fresh chillies. As the name implies, this long bean rice should be rich in long bean flavor so the weight of long beans should be 1.5 x the weight of the rice. Don’t be fooled by its simple look. It is actually very tasty.
Do not use small grain rice like bario rice for this recipe but bario rice is great for cooking porridge. Most of the times local rice like gedong rice or any local rice can be used for cooking this Hakka long bean rice.
This dish reminds us of my late mom. She spent most of her married life busy in the old kitchen equipped with big woks and pots. The best way to express love to her children was by preparing food for the family. That lead me to think – how many of us know how to express love in this way ?
Tell us your memories of the food cooked by your mom/dad or any adults that lead your tears rolling down your cheeks. Please connect with us on face book. You can either comment or send us a message.
Yes………, memories of food cooked by mom,
Always hold a place deep in our heart and soul….
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