Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Grandma's Rice Dumpling - 5 July 2012

Bak Chang or Rice Dumpling Festival is celebrated annually on the 5th day of the 5th month of the Chinese lunar calendar. This year, it fell on the 23rd of June. We decided to take up the challenge of making our own bak chang. It's timely because my mother-in-law was visiting us at the same time. She has been making bak chang for her extended family since young. 

We went to the wet market and found all the ingredients easily. We bought 2 kg of glutinous rice and have to estimate the portions for the fillings, ie dried Chinese mushrooms, dried chestnuts, salted egg yolks and the black eyed beans. 

We also got the bamboo leaves and bundle of strings (many people prefer to use raffia string but we like the traditional reed string).

It's common to include pork belly in the filling but we decided to make no-meat bak chang this round. We spent the night before getting ready the ingredients and stuff.

Grandma told the boys they had to start learning from stratch the technique of wrapping bamboo leaves (just like the kungfu apprentice). For a start, we used sand as the filling instead of glutinous rice! I think this was as much fun as wrapping the real thing! We couldn't get the triangular-shaped dumplings so guess we gotta keep practising......

Grandma at work.....

Patiently, she taught me step by step how to assemble and wrap the bak chang. It looked like easy but to do it fast and yet secure would require years of training. At this moment, I could only pray hard those that I wrapped would not burst in the test by fire later.

For 2 kg of glutinous rice, we were able to make 43 bak chang!! And best of all, none of them was burst, though not all of them triangular-shaped!!

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