Lunar 5th month 5th day is dumpling festival. Approaching this day you will see everywhere in Singapore selling dumpling 粽子(Hokkien called it bak chang). One month before the festive, supermarket and wet market or provision stalls will be seeing them selling the ingredients for making dumpling.
Mum-in-law makes very nice nonya dumpling. She has experience in making this dumpling for over 50 years. She is a very good cook. Over years she has fine tuned her recipe to suit our taste. She likes to experiment new recipe with her taste buds. She did many homecooked food based her knowledge and wisdom and fine tune along the way. Hubby also like eating Nonya Dumpling and the only bak chang he will eat is his mum's nonya chang.
In the past years especially those years when I was living with my in-laws, I do help in the wrapping process when mum-in-laws make this dumplings. I have never really help
in preparation or frying the fillings or ingredients.
Few years ago, I asked my mum-in-laws for her recipe. The older generations have their recipe all stored in human "memory chip". Mum-in-laws has been making this for over 50years that it is like drinking water - easy. Of course it is alot of work involved. After asking her for recipe, I kept the recipe for few years and did nothing about it because she make such yummy bak chang that I prefer to eat her bak chang.
Few weeks ago, I was at Sheng Siong supermarket and saw this packet coriander seeds hanging on the rack. I bought it and came home pan fry it and grind it into powder. This is how I started...perhaps I should try making mum-in-law's bak chang...So I started buying the dried bamboo leaves and string and kept them in my store room. Preparing, in case I want to make dumplings someday...
Yesterday, since I have all the ingredients in my kitchen. Started soaking the glutinous rice at 10am. And defrost the fresh meat which I bought earlier from wet market. In the process I realised this:
Eating bak chang is so easy...just open your mouth and you can finish it within minutes. But making bak chang is really an experience and long "process". From preparation to cooking the ingredients, washing the leaves.. to wrap, then boiling the bak chang in hot water and continue adding hot water to make sure no drying up and the patiently wait until it is completely cooked is really alot of work and time. Today I made 11 bak changs using 500g of rice with 800g meat plus 100g winter melons with all other spices and ingredients. ..took me few hours.
I cut the meat at about 2pm and put it aside in the chiller. Started at 4pm cutting the onion and garlic and then frying the meat and and the rice and washing the leaves..finished wrapping at about 6pm..cooking them until 8.30pm. Total time is 4.5hours.
Yes, alot of work and time spent. But it is worth it. My daughter gave me a thumb up as she tried the first mouth of dumpling...she said.."Mmmmm nice! Taste like Ama's dumpling!"
It is great achievements for me because this is somethings that i have KIV for years and finally I did it!
500g glutinous rice
800g pork -shoulder meat 五花肉
100g small onions - chopped
3-4 cloves garlic - chopped
100g winter melon candy- cubed*
1.5 tablespoon homemade coriander powder
1/2 tablespoon five spices powder
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
20-24 dried bamboo leaves
strings for wrapping
3 tablespoons of oil
Water for boiling dumpling
750mil water and 2tsp salt for boiling meat
1. Wash rice and soak it overnight. (I soaked it for 6hours) Discard water the next day.
2 Put dried bamboo leaves in a big basin, pour 2 litres of hot water over them and let them soak until it is soft. With a small towel, clean every leaves on both sides. Rinse twice. Set aside.
3. Wash meat and cut it into small size of 1x1x1cm. Set aside.
4. Boil 750mil water in a wok. Add 2tsp of salt into water like how you boil spaghetti. Put in the meat once water is boiled. Let the meat cook for 1-2 minutes in the boiling water until it is 3/4 cooked. This is to remove the blood and smell and make it easier to fry. Remove meat from water and discard the water.
5. Add 2 tbsp oil in wok and fry onion and garlic until it is fragrance and light brown. Add meat and winter melon. Stir fry for 30sec, add dark soy sauce to taste. Continue to stir fry another 1 minutes. Add coriander powder, five spices powder and pepper and fry until meat is totally cooked.
Remove from wok. Keep the oil if any for fry the rice.
6. In the wok, add 1tbsp of oil and garlic. Fry garlic until fragrance and light brown. Add any oil from frying meat if any. Add rice and 1tsp of salt. Quickly stir the uncooked rice for a minute. Off fire and remove rice from wok.
7. Wrap the bak chang.
8. Prepare a big pot that can contain 10-12 dumpling (bak chang). Boil water in the pot. When water is boiled, put in all the bak chang and let it boil for 2.5hours on high fire. Keep watch the fire make sure water always cover the bak chang. Replenish with hot water if water evaporated.
9. Remove bak chang from pot after 2.5hours. Serve while it is hot.
Note*: I bought the ready cubed winter melon candy. If you can't find them, just get the normal one and cut them into size of 0.5x0.5x0.5cm.