June 10, 2011

Bak Chang (Pork-filled Glutinous Rice Dumplings)

Recipe: Pork-filled Glutinous Rice Dumplings (Bak Chang)咸肉粽子
There are several ways of making and wrapping rice dumplings. Some people use only raw ingredients. Some use half raw and half cooked ingredients. Some use all fully cooked ingredients. Some people use steaming method and some use boiling method.

The key point is it takes longer time to cook whenever raw ingredients are involved. Steaming is most suitable for rice dumplings made of fully cooked ingredients, steam for about 30 minutes over high heat when water starts bubbling. Dumplings made of raw ingredients or half cooked ingredients usally need to be boiled for 2 to 3 hours. As for this recipe, I boiled my rice dumplings for 1 hour and 30 minutes because all ingredients except glutinous rice and mung beans are 80%-100% cooked.

  • 450g long grain glutinous rice (raw)
  • 250g pork tenderloin / pork belly
  • 3 small shallots (60g)
  • 40g dried shrimps
  • 8 small shiitake mushrooms (halved)
  • 18 dried shelled chestnuts
  • 16 whole / 8 (halved) / 4 (quartered) raw or cooked salted egg yolks *optional
  • 100g black eye beans
  • 120g peeled split mung beans
For wrapping
  • 32 pcs dried bamboo leaves + 4 pcs as backup (2 pcs for each dumpling)
  • 9 strands 48-inch long cotton string (9 strands will turn into 18 after making a knot in the center)
Meat marinade
  • 1 TBSP light soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP medium sweet Indonesian dark soy sauce (kecap manis)
Seasoning for mung bean
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 TBSP cooking oil
Seasoning for filling
  • 1 TBSP cooking oil (for stir-frying)
  • 180ml water
  • ¼ tsp. salt or to taste
  • ½ tsp. sugar or to taste
  • 1 TBSP medium sweet Indonesian dark soy sauce (kecap manis)
  • ¼ tsp. five spice powder
  • pinch of pepper
Seasoning for glutinous rice
  • 2 TBSP cooking oil (for stir-frying)
  • 1 tsp. salt or to taste
  • ¼ tsp. sugar or to taste
  • 3 TBSP medium sweet Indonesian dark soy sauce (kecap manis)
  • ½ tsp. light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. oyster sauce
  • ¼ tsp. five spice powder
Measurements: tsp. = teaspoon | TBSP = tablespoon
Things To Do Beforehand (soaking takes at least 4 hours)
  • 1. Rinse dried shelled chestnuts for several times then soak for at least 4 hours (in hot water) or 8 hours (in cold water). Drain off the water when done.
  • 2. Rinse glutinous rice, black eye beans and mung beans separately for several times then soak them separately for at least 4 hours (in hot water) or 8 hours (in cold water), drain off the water when done. Soak shiitake mushrooms until they turn soft, drain, halve and set aside. Rinse dried shrimps for couple of times and set aside.
  • 3. Cut pork into 4cm x 2cm x 1cm pieces and marinate with the meat marinade for at least 1 hour. Cut cooked salted eggs into quarters and take out the yolks. If you are using raw salted eggs, break the eggs, get the yolks and quarter each yolk to get 16 portions. Peel shallots and slice thinly.
  • 4. Pick and use bamboo leaves with no hole. Wash and clean each piece carefully.
  • 5. Put the washed bamboo leaves in a deep stockpot, fill the pot with water enough to cover the bamboo leaves. Bring it to a boil over high heat and continue simmer for 5 more minutes over low heat, with lid on.
  • 6. Turn off the heat. Fill a large bowl with cold tap water. Transfer bamboo leaves to the cold water and let them sit in cold water until you are ready to use (doesn't matter if you leave them overnight). Drain and shake off excess water before use.
  • 7. Cut 9 strands cotton strings with 48-inch in length each. Line up each strand on your work surface. Hold all the strands together, then fold them in half. Tie a knot at the center, creating a loop (bigger than your door knob).
  • 8. Choose a door knob in your kitchen that you can reach easily (kitchen cabinet or door). Hang the loop of your cotton strings over the door knob. This will help you to create tight and secure knots when wrapping dumplings later.
  • 9. Drain mung beans and combine well with the seasoning for mung bean (¼ tsp. salt + 1 TBSP oil).
  • Stir-Fry Ingredients
  • 1. Heat 1 TBSP oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add half of the shallots and half of the dried shrimps. Saute until shallots turn golden brown.
  • 2. Add marinated meat and its marinade. Stir-fry for 3 minutes or until meat turns golden brown.
  • 3. Add 180ml water.
  • 4. Stir in the remaining seasoning for filling. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Transfer meat to a bowl and set aside.
  • 5. Add black eye beans and dried shelled chestnuts. Combine well with the gravy in skillet. Cover and simmer over medium high heat for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue simmer for another 20 minutes.
  • 6. Add halved mushrooms. Cover and continue simmer over low heat for 8 minutes or until gravy becomes dry. Turn off the heat. Transfer mushrooms, dried shelled chestnuts and black eye beans into separate bowls accordingly.
  • 7. Rinse skillet and return to heat. Heat 2 TBSP oil over medium high heat. Add the remaining shallots and dried shrimps. Saute until shallots turn golden brown.
  • 8. Add glutinous rice and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in seasoning for glutinous rice. Combine well and turn off the heat.
  • 9. Sprinkle rice with some pepper. Combine well. Set aside.
  • How To Wrap Rice Dumplings
  • 1. Cut off hard stems from one end of each bamboo leaves with scissors.
  • 2. Convex side of leaf main vein should always face down (wrong side). Put rice and fillings on the right side.
  • 3. Overlay 2 pieces of bamboo leaves with right sides facing up. The upper right side of the top piece is about 15o angle away from the upper right side of the bottom piece. Line up bottom left sides of both pieces.
  • 4. With one hand holding the upper side and one hand holding the bottom, fold the bottom side up from the bottom end at slightly more than one third position. Line up the bottom left sides.
  • 5. Fold up left side to the right at about one forth position from the left.
  • 6. Open up your cone from the opening at bottom right end.
  • 7. Bring the inner top left end slightly close the center main vein.
  • 8. Lay the back of cone in your left palm and hold with your fingers and thumb.
  • 9. Fill cone with 1 TBSP of glutinous rice. Press the rice in with your spoon.
  • 10. Add 2 tsp. mung beans and 2 tsp. black eye beans into a later. Then, add one piece each of dried chestnut, salted egg yolk, mushroom and meat. Cover the fillings with another layer of glutinous rice (about 1 to 2 TBSP).
  • 11. Now, change the way of holding the cone. Hold it with left thumb at one side and index finger at another side, about a quarter inch down from the red arrow edge (see picture in step 13). Position thumb and index finger at right side (positions as indicated in purple arrows at step 13). Press the rice in with your spoon.
  • 12. Press and seal rice dumpling with your right hand from right to left (as indicated in red arrow at step 13). Move your left thumb and left index finger along to complete the opening end into a complete triangular based pyramid or tetrahedron shape. Press and squeeze the rice dumpling slightly to the top when your left thumb and index finger reach the left most corner (left most corner of the red arrow at step 13), to make the corner more protruding.
  • 13. Once the red arrow end is shaped, you should get an approximate shape as indicated by the dotted blue lines.
  • 14. When your rice dumpling achieve the approximate shape as indicated by blue dotted arrows at step 13, fold the bamboo leave sides down with your right hand. Gather the bamboo leave neatly at left end. Then fold the end to the back.
  • 15. Secure and tie your rice dumpling twice in direction as indicated by blue arrow at step 14.
  • 16. Fill water in a deep stockpot until 70% full. Bring water to a boil over high heat. Add rice dumplings into the boiling water. Add more water just enough to cover the rice dumplings. Pour off some water it is too much. Boil rice dumplings over high heat for 5 minutes with lid on. Reduce heat to medium, continue boiling rice dumplings for 1 hour and 30 minutes with lid ajar.
  • 17. Turn off the heat. Transfer rice dumplings to a large serving platter. Let stand cool slightly before serving.
  • Notes
  • A faster way of boiling rice dumplings is by using a pressure cooker.
  • Rice dumplings can be refrigerated for up to a week. To keep rice dumplings longer, freeze them.
  • Steam refrigerated (15 - 20 minutes) or frozen rice dumplings (about 30 minutes) in hot steaming steamer before serving.

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