Time To Prepare Savoury Rice Dumpling (Bak Chang) (咸肉粽)



I do not really like to issue this type of post as it can be rather long and every household will claim to have the best recipes of rice dumpling (Bak Chang).. I already have an elaborated post on Nonya Chang : The process of making Nonya Chang revisited…(Part II) (娘惹粽)and if you are interested, you can take a look at the post by clicking on the link above.


I was grumbling with friends that this may be a redundant post.. A post that most will not try the recipe but I blog this as a respect and to keep a record on my humble blog. ..Those who know how to wrap the Bak Chang will have their own family recipe and there is no need to read this post.. Those who have never wrap the Bak Chang usually have fear of wrapping and decided not to wrap themselves.. There are many other reasons that may deter readers from wrapping such as family members do not like to eat this Bak Chang, it is laborious and etc..


Well, I hope this post will help those who are serious and wanted to make an effort to learn the preparation. I can’t help much in your wrapping process as this need practises.. but who don’t start from somewhere? I learned to wrap by myself about 10 years ago using trial and error.. What I can show you is only this simple video:

Bak Chang Preparation

This is the first time I wrapped savoury Bak Chang.. All these while, i am wrapping Nonya Chang and I only occasionally eat savoury Bak Chang purchased from the stores mostly from the famous Kim Choo Kuih Shop in Singapore.


Therefore, the recipe designed is more or less like what is sold by the shop but with addition of some Teochew element of having some sweet bean paste in the Chang.. In Teochew, this elaborate version of Bak Chang is called Suan Ping (双拼)that have some sweetness in the savoury Bak Chang.. But, I will leave it to the reader to decide what should be included in the Bak Chang per the type of Bak Chang that you are used to..


Since it is not a recipe that I am used to, I have decided to create a recipe that is faster and less oily.. Suitable for those first timer who did not have a chance to learn from their parents or grandparents.. The taste is not too extreme and it should be widely acceptable by all.. I have also limited my selection ingredients to 6 major ingredients.. Of course, readers can add as many types of ingredients as possible..


As to what can be included in the Bak Chang, well, if you go to the supermarket, there is usually one counter selling all the Chang ingredients and any things sold there probably will be commonly use for the Bak Chang.. Go to one big supermarket and you will be able to get all the Chang ingredients, bamboo leaves and etc. needed for the preparation.


All the recipe quantities are for your reference and there is no fixed and fast rule as to how much each ingredient should be wrapped.. If you like a particular ingredient, do add more.. If you do not like the suggested ingredients, substitute with others.. Chang recipe quantities will never be able to be exact as there bound to have some spoilages and miscalculations due to changes along the way.. Sizes of each Bak Chang will also render the optimum planning of ingredients invalid.. Since this is homemade, there bound be some are bigger or smaller and that depend on the leaves also.. As a word of advise, if you are new to Chang wrapping, please do not be overly ambitious, wrap the size that you are comfortable rather trying to emulate the size of what is sold in the store…



Servings: About 20-25 Bak Chang depend on sizes


  • 1 kilogram of glutinous rice
  • 3 tablespoons of deep fried shallot oil
  • 6 tablespoons of oyster sauce
  • 4 tablespoons of dark soya sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of five spice powder


  • At least 500 grams of pork belly , cut in chunks
  • About 30 chestnuts , soaked overnight
  • About 30 salted egg yolks
  • About 30 pieces of red bean or green bean paste of 15 grams each
  • About 30 pieces of medium size shitake mushrooms, soaked
  • 1 medium size rock sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of five spice powder
  • 3 tablespoons of cooking wine
  • 4 tablespoons of dark soya sauce


  • At least 60 bamboo leaves
  • At least 30 reed strings or cotton string or plastic strings



PicMonkey Collage2

  • Wash the glutinous rice, drain, add in all the rice marinating ingredients (five spice powder, dark soya sauce, oyster sauce, fried shallot oil ).Stir until well mixed. Add in 1-2 cups of water and let it marinate for 3-4 hours.

  • In a wok, add 4-5 tablespoons of cooking oil, add in the marinated rice together with the water marinating the rice, if any. Stir fry for a few minutes until the rice dries up.  Off heat and set aside. This step  of stir frying is optional. The main purpose is not to waste the seasonings used for marinating the rice.


  • As boiling the Bak Chang will dilute the seasonings in the Bak Chang. Therefore, the above quantities is for your reference and you may have to adjust the seasoning to suit your taste buds. You will have to be HIGH HANDED to add seasonings. It is very important that you put some rice in your mouth and taste if it suits your taste bud. Make any necessary adjustments. Otherwise your whole batch of Bak Chang may be spoiled..

  • This is a recipe with very little oil. So the output will be much less oilier than the store bought..If you can accept such a texture, you will need not to stir fry with oil.. But it you prefer store bought version that are oilier, you will have to add more cooking oil.. Traditionally, lard is used to make the Chang more aromatic..

  • For the shallot oil, if you are going to stir fry the rice as suggested above, you can sauté the minced shallots first before adding the marinating rice, therefore, there is no such a need to add shallot oil during the marinating of glutinous rice.

  • If you are not confidence that your wrapping will be good, you may want to try to wrap the cooked rice like in the Nonya Chang post. Place the rice in the rice cooker, select sticky rice function and cook for one cycle. It will facilitate your wrapping and you will need to steam the Chang instead of boiling the Chang.

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  • Put the meat, rock sugar, soaked shitake mushrooms, chestnuts , Chinese cooking wine, dark soya sauce, five spice powder in a pressure cooker pot. Add adequate water just to cover the meat. Pressure cook the meat for at least 30 minutes or until the meat is soft.. If the meat is not soft enough, pressure cook for another 10-15 minutes until your desired texture. Set aside for later use.

  • Once cooled, put the meat, shitake mushrooms and chestnuts in separate container.


  • You can prepare this the night before , It make sense that you prepare a big batch of pork belly, some can be eaten as dinner dish  and some can be kept for tomorrow’s Bak Chang wrapping. In addition, the meat will be much tastier in the next day.

  • Again, you have to taste the meat and also be high handed in your seasonings.. Remember boiling will dilute the taste of the meat inside. You can adjust the seasoning later.

  • I have decided to use pressure cooker for braising instead of stir fry the meat as it uses much less oil, it is faster and the meat is tenderer. If you do not like this idea, you can stir fry each and every individual item instead of braising. This is to facilitate those who are new to wrapping.

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  • In a pot with boiling water, boil the reed string and bamboo leaves for 10-15 minutes until the leaves and string are soft. Drain and set aside.

  • Before the wrapping, you should assemble all the ingredients together. Find a place where you can sit or stand and where you can hang the Chang.

  • The ingredients shall be put side by sides include : Braised pork, chestnuts, shitake mushrooms, salted egg yolk, red or mung bean paste, stir fried glutinous rice, reed strings and bamboo leaves.


  • If you have time, you can just soak the reed string and bamboo leaves overnight and there is no need to boil the leaves and string. If the leaves and string float upwards, put something heavy on top of the leaves.

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  • Please refer to the video above. Take two bamboo leaves and make it in a shape of a cone. Put one tablespoon of rice. Put a piece of braised meat, mushrooms, mung bean paste, salted egg yolk and chest nuts. Press hard and put another tablespoon of rice. Use the tablespoon to press down firm and level it. Press the tail of the bamboo leaves to cover the top portion and shape the tail like a swallow tail. Twist it side wards to follow the shape of the Chang. By now, your Chang should be in triangular shape and you should be able to hold the Chang in one hand.

PicMonkey Collage5

  • Take a string and loop around the Chang tie using a live knot. tie it firm and if you find that Chang are not really  in the shape you want, try to adjust it now.  Loosen the string or adjust the bamboo leaves to shape it to the desired shape. After wrapping, cut off the excess leaves and check that there are no holes resulted from rough handling and there are small areas that are not covered with the leaves. These are “loopholes” that will create problems for you. If you boiled it , the rice will flow out (not all of course) and all the seasonings will be diluted with the water. The Chang boiling water will also become sticky. JUST ENSURE THAT THERE ARE NO HOLES IN THE CHANG.

  • When enough number of Chang are ready for boiling. boil some hot water. Put the wrapped Chang in the pressure cooker. Add in the hot water. Close the lid and boil using the pressure cooker for about 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, release the pressure, take out one Chang immediately and open and see if it is already to the texture that you want. If not, continue to pressure cook for another 10 minutes. Add more hot water if desired.



  • If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can boil over the stove using high heat for 45 minutes to one hour. Steaming is another alternative but timing can be as long as 1.5-2 hours.

  • Do not be overly greedy while wrapping the dumpling. Only experienced house chefs are able to wrap a big dumpling with 2 small leaves as they know how to position the leaves to get the maximum area to be used. If you are unsure, wrap small and this will enhance your chances of succeed. Big Chang have the tendency to break if you did not wrap properly.



This is a very long winded post but I have tried my best to detail as much as I can such that readers will be able to succeed with the first attempt. It is my sincere advise that do not place overly high expectation on your maiden attempt.. Make provision for some ugly shape, loose strings.. It is very common .. If you are unsure, try to make 1/2 kg of rice first..


As I have mentioned earlier, to boost your confidence of wrapping, try to pre-cook the rice using rice cooker , then, it will be much easier to shape than raw rice.. Lastly, remember that boiling will dilute the seasoning both for rice and fillings, so be prepare to be a bit high handed with your seasonings.


Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.



8 thoughts on “Time To Prepare Savoury Rice Dumpling (Bak Chang) (咸肉粽)

  1. Kenneth

    For me, bak chang ingredients and dumping leaves sold at level 3, Waterloo Street HDB block are much cheaper, esp. the raw chestnuts, Chinese sausages and the dried shrimps.

    Priscilla Poh

  2. Thanks for the detailed step-by-step instructions. Must the dumpling fully immerse in the water if I am using pressure cooker?

  3. I wonder how you store the bak Chang? In the fridge or freezer (how long does it last)? In the countertop in room temperature? Thank you

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