Glutinous Rice Cakes with Wormwood in Guzhang County

Apr Wed 2024
The people in Guzhang County, Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture have a traditional custom of eating Glutinous Rice Cakes with Wormwood on the third day of the third lunar month and at the Qingming Festival to wish for safety.

Glutinous Rice Cakes with Wormwood has a soft and sticky taste of glutinous rice and a fragrance of wormwood. It has a complex making process and to pick wormwood is the primary task. “We usually pick the tips of wormwood as the cakes made with tender tips of wormwood taste even better. In addition, we also pick the leaves of chestnut trees. About 200 kilograms of wormwood and 4,000 pieces of chestnut tree leaves can be harvested in a day,” said Ms. Liu, a villager.

After rotten leaves and small impurities are taking out, the large bags of harvested wormwood are cleaned repeatedly until the water becomes clear. Chestnut tree leaves should also be brushed off to remove any floating hairs on the surface.

Then, the cleaned wormwood is put into boiled water to remove its astringency. After water removing, with the glutinous rice flour added, it is kneaded into a dough, and then put into a wood mortar for repeated beat. The dough is divided into pieces which are kneaded into wrappers. Put the prepared fillings in a wrapper. Finally, wrap it in chestnut tree leaves and cut off excess parts of the leaves.

The cakes can be tasted by steaming for about half an hour, with its fragrance filling the air.

“We have been making Glutinous Rice Cakes with Wormwood for four years. There are three types of fillings, namely sesame, soybeans, and cured meat. A cake with sesame and soybeans costs two yuan and a cake with cured meat costs four yuan. We can make over a thousand cakes per day,” said Ms. Liu’s father.

He added, “Generally, they are custom-made based on orders. In addition to selling them at stores, there are also some sold through social media platforms. With convenient express delivery, they are sold to other distant places like Hong Kong, Harbin and Urumqi with vacuum packages.”

Nowadays, there are shops, enterprises, and cooperatives specializing in making and selling Glutinous Rice Cakes with Wormwood in Guzhang. It has become a specialty snack of Guzhang.

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