Nyonya Bak Chang – 娘惹粽

Our second installation for the Dragonboat festivities is on the localised Nyonya Bak Chang!

While the Bak Chang originated from China, over the years, Chinese immigrants living overseas have customised it to incorporate the local tastes and textures from the communities they have settled in.

The Nyonya Bak Chang is a fragrant, sweet-salty iteration of the Bak Chang created by the Peranakan people – it  combines marinated pork, candied wintermelon and steamed mushrooms to achieve the wonderful blend of flavours you get with every bite.  Our version uses lean pork shoulder meat instead of the fatty pork in traditional rice dumplings, as well as cekur root, or sand ginger, that gives the meat a more intense flavour that goes oh-so-well with the lightly salted glutinous rice.

The sweet blue tinge in the rice from the blue pea flowers is a traditional Peranakan touch, that makes this dish not only good to eat but great to look at!

#themeatmensg #simple #delicious

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  • Servings: 12

  • Time: 4 hrs

  • Skill: Intermediate

Ingredients:

  1. 1kg glutinous rice

  2. 10g dried dried blue pea flower (or 2 tbsp indigo blue coloring)

  3. 800ml hot water (omit if using indigo blue colouring)

  4. 15g garlic (minced)

  5. 3¼ tsp salt

  6. 5 tbsp cooking oil

Filling:

  1. 500g pork shoulder (diced)

  2. 40g dried mushrooms (soften)

  3. 150g sweet winter melon (diced)

  4. 50g shallots (sliced)

  5. 40g garlic (minced)

  6. 10g ginger (smashed)

  7. 1 stalk spring onion

  8. ½ tbsp sugar

  9. 1½ tsp white pepper

  10. 3 tbsp coriander powder

  11. 40g cekur ginger root (pounded)

  12. ½ tsp salt

  13. 1½ tsp dark soya sauce

  14. 1 tbsp light soya sauce

  15. 24 Bamboo leaves

  16. Hemp strings

  17. 12 Pandan leaves (5cm length)

Steps:

  1. Soak bamboo leaves overnight. The next day use a sponge to lightly wipe the dirt of it. Rinse and place in a container.

  2. Soak 10g of pea flower in 800ml hot water. Leave it to cool.

  3. Wash 1kg glutinous rice until the water runs clear. Place drained 300g of glutinous in the cooled blue pea flower water. Place 700g glutinous rice in water. Soak both of it overnight. Drain rice before use.

  4. Cut 40g softened mushrooms into fine dice. Mix in ½ tbsp sugar, 10g ginger and 1 stalk spring onion. Steam for 15 minutes. Discard spring onion and ginger. Set aside.

  5. Marinate 500g diced pork belly with 1½ tsp dark soya sauce, 2 tbsp light soya sauce and ½ tsp salt for 15 minutes.

  6. Heat 3 tbsp oil.

  7. Fry 50g sliced shallots and 40g minced garlic until shallots are translucent. Add in 3 tbsp coriander powder, 1½ tsp white pepper and 40g pounded cekur root until fragrant.

  8. Add in marinated diced pork belly and steamed diced mushrooms.

  9. Season with ½ tsp salt and add in 150g finely diced candied winter melon. Leave the filling to cool.

  10. Drain both the rice.

  11. Mix 1 tsp salt with the drained blue pea coloured rice.

  12. Heat 2 tbsp oil. Fry 15g minced garlic until fragrant. Add in the rice and 2¼ tsp salt. Mix it well. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

  13. To wrap, overlap 2 bamboo leaves and fold it into a cone. Place 1 piece of pandan leave into the cone.

  14. Fill the cone with ½ tbsp blue pea coloured glutinous rice and 1 tbsp white glutinous rice. Add in some of the pork filling and cover with white glutinous rice. Place a strip of pandan leaf on it.

  15. Wrap over the bamboo leaves to form a pyramid and secure with hemp string. Repeat until all the rice and filling are used up.

  16. Boil dumplings in water for 2½ hours. Remove. Hang to dry for 30 minutes.