It’s Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month!

If that doesn’t just roll off your tongue…

We decided to celebrate by hosting a dragon dancing workshop in the park! To make this event happen, we partnered with the Drum Rollers who charmed our ears with their musical magic. They also taught the workshop. Despite the sweltering heat, which decided to plague us before summer, over 30 people braved the heat to celebrate and dance with us!

Participants learned some of the basics of how to Dragon Dance and were given the opportunity to participate in a future local event. It was like playing “follow the leader” for all ages! A favorite was “Row the boat” where participants actually made a boat and pretended to row it. Fun was had by all.

Enjoy the slideshow below for some snippets from the day. Community Faces KC also came by and photographed the event, so can see those pictures here.

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Knotting to See Here!

On a rainy Saturday afternoon, one of the rainiest of the summer, the Chinese Club kept away the gloom by spending the hours away learning Chinese Macrame and knots. In the session, we learned how to make a good luck knot and a dragonfly. Catherine led us using the pin method which is the official knotting form, while also explaining how it can be done without pins.

First up was the good luck knot! Catherine carefully led us step-by-step (and often re-step-by-step) in how to make this classic knot. Though it seemed like a mess of holes in a Styrofoam plate and endless loops, with patience and lots of help, something resembling a knot slowly emerged!

Next, the dragonfly! With this one, Catherine helped us learn how to read directions. Quickly, the room became quiet with great concentration. Soon after, laughter as mishaps occurred. Before we knew it, the time was up and everyone left with two completed works of Chinese macrame and knotting.

While the clouds were still dark, the workshop and its accompanying laughter brought sunshine to the afternoon.

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Eeee-Mochi!

You know what would be adorable? A mochi-emoji.

After spending a couple hours learning how to make and tasting all the various fillings and flavors, I am now a mochi fan.

Let me take you through the event (but I won’t spill all the secrets, you’ll just have to attend the next one):

Step one: Combine all the basic mochi ingredients (sugar, water, glutinous rice flour, oil) till smooth then stick in the microwave. Want to guess for how long? Not one minute, not five minutes, but THIRTEEN minutes! (I know, I was shocked too. Not sure I’ve ever put anything in the microwave for that long)

While the microwave is doing its thing, it’s a good time to review all the fillings and flavors.

Mrs. You had them all nicely laid out (& labeled) for us, and gave us details of how to prepare or where to buy each one. While I’m sure there are other ingredients you can mesh with mochi, at the workshop we focused on these: red bean paste, peanut powder, white sesame powder, black sesame powder, soy bean powder, white bean with macha, and white bean with coffee. Are you salivating yet? You should be.

Ding! Ding! Believe it or not, the 13 minutes are up! Now it’s time to mix the mochi!

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The Yous taught us various techniques for mixing the dough. (Including this one–though we weren’t that intense) The one that I would probably use in the future was four chopsticks put together. Now, here’s the next crazy part. Any guesses how long it should be stirred/folded? I won’t keep you in suspense this time–60 turns. You can get a good arm workout while making mochi! While the 60 doesn’t have to be exact, it’s a good number to go by. Another tip that was shared is to slowly pull apart the chopsticks–there should be a thin film if stirred a proper amount.

Whew! Hard work is done, now on to step 2.5!

Prepare the pan! Another tip you might not just get anywhere: You need to put a thin layer of potato starch (corn starch can work too) on a pan to place the mochi. However, you want to cook it in the microwave for 1 minute first. Bet you didn’t know that!

That was pretty easy, now on to step 3!

First, dip those lovely, washed fingers of yours into the potato starch. This mixture is messy and we want to protect those hands of yours as much as possible.

Now, it’s time to make the mochi! If you don’t want any filling, you can just take little drops of the mixture and roll it in whatever flavor you want. It works best to get two metal spoons and stick them in a cup of water. Use one spoon to carve out the mixture, then the next spoon to drop it on the pan/in the flavoring.

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If you want the filling (which, let’s be real, you should), then you do the same as above and plop them on the pan. Then, get a small scoop of your filling and place it on top. Finally use those freshly powdered fingers of yours and stretch the mochi around the filling, like you would a dumpling. And voila! You’ve done it!

Now it’s time to eat up and enjoy!

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Now, that wasn’t too bad, was it? Join us for our next food adventure–June 17th at Grace Fellowship (off of N Oak Trafficway) and learn how to make Ba Wan! You can sign up here.