Kenneth’s Nyonya Chang Recipe

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Nyonya Chang, also known as Kuih Chang, is a delectable rice dumpling steeped in the rich heritage of Peranakan cuisine. This dish, originating from the Melaka region of Malaysia, is a vibrant explosion of flavors and textures. Unlike its Chinese counterpart, Zongzi, Nyonya Chang boasts a unique sweet and savory profile, often featuring a stunning blue glutinous rice layer colored with butterfly pea flower juice.

This recipe, inspired by Kenneth’s family tradition, will guide you through creating these delightful dumplings, perfect for celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival or simply indulging in a delicious homemade treat.

Nyonya Chang
Nyonya Chang


For the Spices:

25 grams coriander seeds

  • 20 grams white pepper seeds

  • For the Pork Filling:

    450 grams skinless pork belly, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 30 grams dried mushrooms, soaked and chopped
  • 110 grams winter melon (peeled and diced)
  • 4 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 60 grams shallots, chopped
  • 40 grams garlic, minced
  • 35 grams fermented soybean paste (taucu)
  • 40 grams sugar

  • For the Glutinous Rice:

    500 grams glutinous rice, rinsed and soaked for 4 hours

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 25 grams shallots, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 200 milliliters mushroom soaking water
  • 3 tablespoons concentrated blue pea flower juice (optional, for the blue layer)

  • Other Ingredients:

    12 pandan leaves, washed and trimmed

  • Kitchen twine (for tying the dumplings)

  • Directions:

    1. Prepare the Spices:

  • In a dry frying pan over medium heat, toast the coriander seeds and white pepper seeds for 5-6 minutes, stirring constantly, until fragrant.
  • Let the spices cool completely before grinding them into a fine powder using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
  • Sift the ground spices to remove any coarse particles.

  • 2. Marinate the Pork Filling:

  • In a large bowl, combine the chopped pork belly, soaked mushrooms, winter melon, cooking oil, chopped shallots, minced garlic, taucu paste, sugar, and the prepared spice powder.
  • Mix well and marinate the pork mixture for at least 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

  • 3. Prepare the Glutinous Rice:

  • Drain the soaked glutinous rice and rinse it thoroughly with clean water.
  • In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of cooking oil over medium heat. Add the chopped shallots and sauté until fragrant.
  • Add the drained glutinous rice and stir-fry for a few minutes to coat it with the oil.
  • Pour in the salt, mushroom soaking water, and half of the glutinous rice.

  • 4. Create the Blue Layer (Optional):

  • If you want to add the beautiful blue layer, mix the remaining half of the glutinous rice with the concentrated blue pea flower juice until evenly colored.

  • 5. Assemble the Nyonya Chang:

  • Prepare a flat work surface and lay out a pandan leaf. If the leaf is too large, you can cut it in half.
  • Spoon a generous amount of the plain glutinous rice into the center of the leaf.
  • Top the plain rice with a portion of the marinated pork filling. If using, add a small scoop of the blue rice on top of the filling.
  • Fold the sides of the pandan leaf over the filling, and then fold the top of the leaf downwards to create a triangular shape.
  • Secure the dumpling tightly with kitchen twine, tying it around the base and top several times. Repeat this process to assemble all the remaining Nyonya Chang.

  • 6. Cooking the Nyonya Chang:

  • In a large pot, bring a sufficient amount of water to a boil. Carefully lower the assembled Nyonya Chang into the boiling water.
  • Ensure the dumplings are submerged completely. If needed, add more water to cover them.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot with a lid, and simmer for approximately 2-3 hours.
  • You can check for doneness by taking out one dumpling and letting it cool slightly. The glutinous rice should be cooked through and have a sticky texture.

  • 7. Cooling and Serving:

  • Once cooked, carefully remove the Nyonya Chang from the pot using tongs and transfer them to a large plate or colander.