15 June 2012

Bak Chang (aka Zongzi / Savoury Rice Dumplings)


Bak Chang or Zongzi is the rice dumplings made of glutinous rice stuffed with the different filling and wrapped in bamboo leaves. Making Bak Chang was traditionally a family event when my late-grandmother was around, yearly she were wrapped the Bak Chang together with my mother. And when the rice dumpling was done, my late-grandmother distributed most of them to our close relatives. However, at that time we children were consider far too young to learn the wrapping techniques or skills. When come the season (Dragon Boat Festival) for eating the Bak Chang which falls on fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calender, we were not allow to get close to the kitchen where my late-grandmother and my mother would be busy doing all the preparation and wrapping. So, I didn't get the passed down techniques for wrapping a neat Zongzi :) Luckily, most of them still look tetrahedral :)  
This is my first time trying to wrap a Zongzi and I tried to search as much information as I can, after watching repeated wrapping techniques from the online videos... when come to real stuff...still it is not easy to wrap a neat Zongzi. I find my grass strands far too short and not strong for the wrap. Attached a video from deliciousasianfood.com on how a Zongzi is wrapped. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLffGivbY-Y for your reference. You can see the grass strands used is much more stronger type.
I called my mother a few times to ask her about my late-grandmother Bak Chang's recipe, my mother couldn't tell me the actual quantity for all ingredients, but she was able to tell me the steps for making the Bak Chang. So, I refer the recipe from Wendy of Table for 2... or More Bak Chang's recipe with a twist to the steps. My late-grandmother's recipe is to marinate filling and stir-fry the filling before wrapping, instead of marinate and wrap the filling while it is still raw. Thanks Wendy for sharing the recipe, she has many types of Zongzi on her blog, do hop over to see her beautiful zongzi! And I also refer to 子瑜妈妈 blog for how to wash the bamboo leaves, she has a details step on it.
I made about 26 rice dumplings and giveaway 12 to two old friends, hopefully they like my dumpling too. I have long tasted a zongzi like this since I left home, the filling is with truely fatty pork and it is smooth and yummy!

Note: you may view update on the recipe on my 20 May 2013 post.




Step to wash the bamboo leaves from 子瑜妈妈

1. Soak the store bought dried bamboo leaves in water for a day.
2. Fill a pot with clean water and a small scoop of salt and cook the bamboo leaves for 5 mins. This will prevent the bamboo leaves from easy tearing.
3. Wash both sides of the bamboo leaves under running water with a piece of cloth.
4. Trim the sharp edge of the bamboo leaves, if necessary. The bamboo leaves is ready for wrapping.


Recipe adapted from Table for 2... or More with changes

Ingredients:
1 kg pork belly, cut into bite size
50 pcs dried chestnuts (size uneven, soak and boil for 15 mins, remove membrance bits in slits)
20 salted duck eggs (some of my dumplings are without salted duck egg yolk. Clean egg shells, separate egg yolks from whites)
dried shitake mushrooms (soak in water to soften and trim the stem)
2 bulbs of garlic (finely chop)
100g dried shrimp (soak in water for 15 mins)
1 kg glutinous rice (soak in water overnight, drain rice)
oil (~200ml)

Marinated pork belly:
1. Add 2 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp dark soy sauce, 2 tbsp light soy sauce, 2 tbsp five spice powder. Mix well and marinate overnight in fridge.

Step:
1. To prepare filling: heat oil in wok, stir fry marinated pork for 5 mins, add mushrooms and dried chestnuts. Add some water and let it simmer for another 10 mins. Set aside.

2. To prepare glutinous rice: add 200ml oil into the wok used in (1). Add garlic and dried shrimp, stir-fry until fragrant. Add glutinous rice, mix well. Sufficiant oil added will ensure the rice wouldn't stick on the bamboo leave later. Add 4 tbsp light soy sauce and 2 tbsp dark soy sauce. (Depends on how dark and salty you want the rice dumpling to be)

3. To assemble: Overlap two pieces of bamboo leaves, make a cone shape and press in a spoonful of rice, top with filling and cover with rice again. wrap up the rice dumplings and tie with grass strands.

4. To Boil: Prepare a big pot of water, when water boiled, lower down the rice dumplings, boil for at least 1.5 hours. The water level has to be always above the rice dumplings. Take out the rice dumplings while it is done, dip dry the rice dumplings by hanging.


22 comments:

  1. Time for zongzi again? wow time really flies!
    They are mouthwatering!

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  2. Wow.. thats alot of job involved in cooking these bak zhang at home. I love mine with lotsa mushrooms and salted egg !! And yours look just like that !!

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    1. Thanks Joyce! I prepared the filling and bamboo leaves a day ahead. So take another day to concentrate on wrapping the Zongzi, however, it still took me a few hours to complete the wrapping and ... both arms were aching after that :D

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  3. never try to wrap my own bak zhang before, thanks for sharing all the useful tips.

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    1. Eileen, is my first time wrapping a Zongzi. If you try this out, do prepare the filling and bamboo leaves 1 or 2 days ahead then it will be easy when come to wrapping the zongzi.

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  4. Wow they look fantastic! But i think they are too much complicated for my amateur knowledge of cooking :). One day i will give it a try for sure. I write down this recipe!

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    1. No one is amateur when come to baking and cooking. Is satisfiying to see your family enjoy the dish you prepared!

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  5. I'm not making any bak chang this year. Can FEDex some over to me? I'm not joking here. haha.... Hope you're having a lovely evening, dear. Take care.
    Kristy

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    1. Kristy, if FEDEX to you the bak chang becomes "round" shape :DDDD Thanks for liking my bak chang!

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  6. Wow ! Your bak chang really great n delicious. Remind me of my mother's bak chang. Still wondering want to make my own or not. Need a lot of preparation works. Thanks for the useful links :)

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    1. Vivian, homemade bak chang is always lovely and fresh! looking forward to your creation.

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  7. Wow I love and miss home-made bak chang! Yours look so delicious!

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  8. Thumbs up! Among all the zongzi I love bak Chang the most. I love the fat belly too ( which is so unhealthy). I m very lazy to do this but maybe one day when I'm in the mood to learn I'll try it out. Thanks for the useful info.

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    1. Haha...yes Li Shuan this is truely fatty pork dish!! I think I put on weight after eating a few :DD

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  9. Oh Tze, these zong zi must be the most special ones becoz you made them from the scratch! Behind the 26 dumplings were the numerous studies & efforts. Your dumplings look neat & tidy & the filling ingredients are also my fav + I love to eat with lots of mung beans. My mum doesn't know how to wrap rice dumplings & in my hometown, we got them from my neighbours. there were few families gave to us each year & at the end, we didn't have to buy at all! Now, my mother-in-law will make & give to us & my sister-in-law. It's a tradition thing! I will learn it 1 day. Not now, busy looking for a new property to move in.

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  10. you still managed to wrap it very well.! no one in my family knows how to wrap zongzi..including me!

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  11. Looking at your bak chang makes me miss it very much. This year no dumpling making for my family cos' my Pa passed away. Anyway, have been receiving bak changs from friends and relatives [some homemade and store bought].

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  12. I'm going to make zhong with Mum tomorrow night! Can't wait! Hopefully they turn out well (as well as your's! haha), I've never tried making salty ones before...only sweet ones with red bean and red dates =)

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