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Tuesday 16 June 2015


Bak Chang, a Hokkien name 
for savoury dumplings

Of course, Cantonese have their version,
with added beans, 
green pea or black eye beans

My mom loves Bak Chang
She is 86 years old,
and a diabetic
Glutinous rice should definitely be out of her menu

Yet, at times she would take a spoon or two,
especially during a Festive Season 
Duan Wu Zei

These dried chestnuts need to be soaked overnight and cleaned

It is not easy to make dumplings 
It is time consuming
As many of the ingredients need to be soaked, 
and prepared before wrapping

Bamboo leaves and hempstrings
are soaked overnight  and cleaned

1000g pulut rice (washed, soaked overnight & drained)

bamboo leaves & hempstrings (soaked overnight & cleaned)

chestnuts ( soaked until soft, cleaned & soaked overnight. Keep the water to fry rice)

500g pork belly, cut into bite sizes (20pcs)
10 salted egg yolk (halved)
20 dried shrimp (large size)
20 mushrooms (soaked overnight & cleaned)
2 tsp garlic, minced
oil for cooking (+sesame oil for flavour)

2 tsp 5 spice powder
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 tsp black soya sauce
4 tsp soya sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp oyster sauce

1) marinate pork with 1/2 of the seasoning
2) fry garlic in some oil (+ some sesame oil)
3) add shrimp, pork, mushroom & chestnuts
4) fry till half cooked, remove
5) fry rice with remaining seasoning
6) add soaking water of chestnuts
7) add more salt, oyster sauce and dark soya sauce if necessary 
8) wrap in bamboo leaves, can make 20 bak chang
9) add 1 tsp salt to boiling water
10) put in bak chang & cook for 4 hours, turning during half time
11) remove & drip dry

Duan Wu Jie falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Lunar Calendar.  It is also known as Double Fifth Festival.

Celebration of Duan Wu Jie involves eating zhongzi or rice dumblings, and racing of dragon boats.  

This Festival is to commemorate the death of a Poet and a Minister, Qu Yuan.  He committed suicide by drowning himself when he was accused of treason.  The local people liked him very much and they raced their boats trying to save him.  This eventually became the dragon boat race that we have today.  

Finally, when they could not find Qu Yuan, they decided to throw sticky rice balls into the river for the fish to eat so that they would not eat the body of Qu Yuan.  This was how the zhongzi came about .