Auntie Dementia was ready to teach us how to make (bak chang) rice dumplings at home. We went marketing a day before and had confirmed with her what should be done and what ingredients must be soaked overnight, and what would be used on the day itself.
I was very efficient this round, doing what was expected of me, taking pictures for the full 3 hours of making the dumplings! Phew! Really tiring, but it was worth it! Honestly, the process would not be just 3 hours if there was only one person doing it and if some of the processes were not done on the night before.
The night before:
The dried bamboo leaves must be washed in water, rinsed before left soaked overnight.
From top left: green bean and glutinous rice.
From bottom left: mushroom and dumpling strings.
All soaked overnight.
On the Day:
Fry pork belly, cut in cube size, medium cooked with garlic and shallots before adding thick soya sauce, salt and pepper.
Without washing the wok or adding more oil, continue to fry the dried prawns.
Immediately pour in the green beans after the dried prawns are taken out of the wok.
Pour in the glutinous rice and add seasonings.
All ingredients are ready to be stuffed into the bamboo leaves.
Only the salted egg yolk and chestnuts are not pre-cooked before the wrap!
How to wrap the dumplings:
Take 2 leaves and hold them this way.
Fold them as one piece into a cone shape, cutting in a little so that the leaves are completely closed to ensure the content will not escaped from any openings.
Fill the glutinous rice by pressing them firm, less than half the space, into the leaves.
Insert and press hard the pork, chestnut, salted egg yolk, dried prawns and mushroom into the leaves.
It is recommended to use small mushrooms.
It is better to use a whole mushroom than spend time cutting them into pieces.
You can customise your dumpling by inserting only your favourite ingredients.
Make sure you put an indicator to claim that dumpling is yours, okay?!
Once you are satisfied with what you want inside the dumpling, top it up and press hard with the glutinous rice.
Pull down the leaves to complete the triangle shape of the dumpling.
Fold the leaves firm to completely close the dumpling.
As long as the dumpling is closed properly, it is alright to have excessive leaves standing out.
You can cut them away later.
Hold the wrapped dumpling firmly while tying it with the dumpling string.
The dumpling strings must remained soak in the water, so that they will not break easily, until they are being used.
Tie it firm a few times with knots.
Yup! This is how the wrapped dumplings look like!
You can trim the extra strings later.
How to cook the dumplings:
It is better to use charcoal to steam the dumplings.
Set the fire to boil the water before the dumplings are fully wrapped so that no time is wasted.
Soak the bunches of dumpling into the boiling water.
Make sure you add salt into the water before you put in the dumplings.
The dumplings will take 2 1/2 hours to 3 hours to cook.
It is best to test if a dumpling is cooked after 2 hours so that you can estimate the time to take them all out of the water!
Ahhh…. the labour of hardwork (after the leaves are removed)!
The dumpling in the middle is the “kan shui chung” (the alkaline dumpling) which has no fillings and is best eaten with sugar or kaya.
All ingredients in the rice dumplings need to have enough salt to make the dumpling tasty but be careful not to have too much salt.
I would say practice makes perfection!
You are bound to make more than you can consume in the day.
Keep them in the freezer and remember you need to steam them before you eat them the next time. It will not taste good if you just reheat it using the microwave.
All the hard work will pay off when one can feast the tasty and fulfilling rice dumplings! To me, one dumpling is as good as one meal although some people need two of them for a meal.
Try this DIY but be prepared to spend a day in the kitchen. It would be fun if the whole family is involved in the process. It is a wonderful get together exercise! Trust me!
(p/s: Okay lah! After receiving too many critics from my Hokkien friends, the word “Ban Chang” is now duly changed to “Bak Chang”.
Me, Cantonese speaking gal (from Hakka origin – don’t know how to speak that dialect also), finally raise white flag!!!
Sorry ah, Hokkien lang, we still friends, right? Hehe.)