Labour of love: Volunteers Chin Lye Yong, 48 (wearing dark blue head gear) and Lim Lee Hoon, 64, counting the 3,000 vegetarian dumplings at the Buddhist Tzu Chi Merits Society Malaysia in Jalan Macalister, Penang.
GEORGE TOWN: The art of making dumplings has indeed diversified, with a society here using pandan leaves instead of the usual bamboo leaves to wrap the ingredients.
“We use pandan leaves as they have health benefits,” Buddhist Tzu Chi Merits Society Malaysia public relations volunteer Ooi Si Hoo, 65, said.
The society is distributing 3,000 vegetarian dumplings to 600 families today to mark the Dumpling Festival on Tuesday.
Ooi said each family would be given five dumplings.
“About 2,000 dumplings will also be given to 400 families on Penang mainland. We hope our care recipients will be able to enjoy the festive celebration,” she said when met at the society in Jalan Macalister here yesterday.
Ooi said the vegetarian dumplings were made using instant rice from Taiwan.
“The rice is very healthy and nutritious. Even dialysis patients can eat the dumplings. Normally, they can’t as the dumplings are made with glutinous rice.
“We also use vegan nut floss and our own seasoning such as curry and burdock powder which has no food additives and preservatives.”
Volunteer Lim Lee Hoon, 64, said preparations to make the dumplings started on Friday when 30 volunteers came to the centre to wash and clean about 7,000 pandan leaves.
“We started at 6am. It took us about seven hours to finish making 3,000 dumplings,” she said, adding that about 200 volunteers were involved.
Tzu Chi commissioner Khoo Boo Leong, citing Tzu Chi founder Master Cheng Yen, explained that the making of the dumplings signalled the love and care of the volunteers.
“The rice is like everyone’s love. And Tzu Chi volunteers are like the strings and pandan leaves, binding their love together,” he said.
The festival is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar.