Happy Duan Wu Festival to all my readers!
In line with tradition, every year my MIL prepares her own Bak Chang (rice dumpling). This time around, I decided to put up a post in my food blog on this savory rice dumpling which is literally a meal on itself as it is stuffed with various types of ingredients.
Rice Dumpling – Bak Chang (Hokkien), Zong Zi (Mandarin) & Ham Yoke Chung (Cantonese)
There are different variations in ingredients but the basic ones would be the braised meat with five spice powder, dried mushroom, mung beans, Chinese chestnut and pre-fried glutinous rice. For our homemade version, we ‘kei liao’ by adding in the salted egg yolk, scallops and the dried prawns. Most of the ingredients are pre-cooked, and the bamboo leaves boiled for easy wrapping.
All the ingredients with the straw and bamboo leaves
The wrapping process requires a lot of work, stuffing all the ingredients into the cone shaped bamboo leaves.
I like my Bak Chang stuff with salted egg yolk as the saltiness and grainy texture combines well with the rest of the ingredients.
All the ingredients are finally covered with another layer of glutinous rice and some mung beans.
The next part is giving the dumpling a firm and tight grip as you fold in the rest of the bamboo leaves. This is to prevent any spilling of the ingredients during the boiling process. It does look easy but it needs some skill.
Securing it with the straw
The dumplings are placed into a pot of hot boiling water and left to simmer in the hot water for 3 hours under moderate heat. That’s a need to stand by to kor hui (jaga api) as hot water needs to be replenish on and off. I enjoyed seeing the whole process and I am wondering if I will be able to keep the tradition going in years to come as I am lacking the skills in making it.
Hope everyone get to indulge in your favorite rice dumpling this year. This Bak Chang is my lunch for today. Now..where did I put my ‘Char Wong’ tea leaves?
Tips…Do you know that you can freeze up the dumplings for months and warm up when you feel hungry? I have done it before, just steam it over boiling water but do not heat it in the microwave oven.