Rainbow Nyonya Bak Chang: A Sweet And Savory Delight

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Nyonya cuisine, also known as Peranakan cuisine, is a vibrant culinary tradition originating from the Straits Settlements of Southeast Asia, particularly Malaysia and Singapore. It’s a beautiful blend of Chinese and Malay flavors, resulting in unique and delectable dishes. Among these delightful offerings is the Nyonya bak chang, a glutinous rice dumpling bursting with savory goodness.

This recipe will guide you through creating authentic Nyonya bak chang, perfect for impressing your loved ones or enjoying a taste of Peranakan culture.

How to Make Zongzi / Nyonya Bak Chang Recipe - 娘惹粽
How to Make Zongzi / Nyonya Bak Chang Recipe – 娘惹粽


For the Dumplings:

500g glutinous rice, rinsed and soaked for at least 4 hours, or overnight

  • 200g shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 100g garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 50g dried shrimp, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, drained and chopped
  • 250g lean pork belly, cut into small cubes (approximately 1/2 inch)
  • 100g peanuts, roasted and roughly chopped (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Banana leaves, cut into squares (approximately 6 inches x 6 inches)
  • Kitchen twine

  • For the Broth:

    1 liter chicken broth

  • 2 pandan leaves, knotted
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper

  • Directions:

    1. Prepare the Glutinous Rice: After soaking the glutinous rice for at least 4 hours, drain it thoroughly.

    2. Sauté the Aromatics: Heat up a wok or large pan with a generous amount of oil. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté over medium heat until fragrant and translucent, approximately 3-4 minutes.

    3. Incorporate the Dried Shrimp and Pork: Add the chopped dried shrimp and pork belly to the pan. Cook for another 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until the pork is browned and slightly crispy around the edges.

    4. Seasoning and Flavoring: Push the mixture to one side of the pan and add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, five-spice powder, white pepper, and salt. Stir to combine and cook for another minute, allowing the flavors to meld.

    5. Combine with Glutinous Rice: Add the soaked and drained glutinous rice to the pan along with the aromatics and pork mixture. Use a spatula or spoon to mix everything thoroughly until the rice is evenly coated with the flavorful sauce.

    6. Assemble the Dumplings: Prepare a clean work surface and lay out a banana leaf square. Place a generous spoonful of the glutinous rice mixture in the center of the leaf. If using peanuts, sprinkle some chopped peanuts over the rice mixture.

    7. Folding and Tying: Carefully fold the banana leaf over the filling to form a triangular pouch. Use kitchen twine to tightly secure the pouch, tying the ends securely. Repeat this process with the remaining banana leaves and rice mixture.

    8. Cooking the Bak Chang: In a large pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add the pandan leaves, garlic cloves, soy sauce, and white pepper. Gently lower the assembled bak chang into the boiling broth. Ensure there’s enough liquid to cover the dumplings completely.

    9. Simmering and Steaming: Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid, and simmer for approximately 2 hours. You can also steam the bak chang in a steamer basket placed over the boiling broth for the same amount of time.

    10. Resting and Serving: Once cooked, remove the bak chang from the pot or steamer and allow them to cool slightly before serving. The traditional way to enjoy bak chang is to untie the twine and peel back the banana leaf, revealing the fragrant and flavorful glutinous rice within.

    Nutrition Facts (per serving, approximately):

    Calories: 400-500

  • Fat: 15-20g
  • Carbohydrates: 50-60g
  • Protein: 20-25g
  • Sodium: 500-600mg (depending on the amount of soy sauce used)

  • Please note: This is an approximate nutritional breakdown and can vary depending on the specific ingredients and cooking methods used.