Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dragon Boat Festival 2014 / Duan Wu Jie 2014 / 端午节 2014 [Chinese Rice Dumplings' Festival]

Rice dumplings are eaten by Chinese on the 5th day of the 5th lunar calendar to commemorate the death of statesman-poet Chu Yuan who committed suicide about 2500 years ago.  Chu Yuan was a senior government officer during the Zhou Dynasty before he was framed by an evildoer and exiled by the  King.  His unsuccessful attempts to convince the King of the kingdom's much needed reforms led to his suicide by jumping into the river.  People rowed boats to seek for his body in the river and threw rice-filled bamboos into the river  in the hope that the fishes would eat the rice instead of Chu Yuan's body.
Today, dragon boat racing and the eating of rice dumplings [they are now wrapped in bamboo leaves instead of being stuffed in the bamboo shoots] form the The Dragon Boat Festival, held annually in commemoration of Chu Yuan.
Chinese people from different dialects have their own unique version of rice dumplings, most probably influenced by the differences in background, and hence the taste.
These are the various version of rice dumplings that I have made during this festival.

What You Should Know About
 Rice Dumpling-Making
  • Older rice grains have a springy bite when cooked whilst fresher ones cook to a softer and mushier finish.  Generally, people prefer a more springy bite.
  • When wrapping the dumpling, don't pack it too full or the filling may not be cooked through in the stated time.  For the same reason, don't bind the string too tightly around the dumpling - leave room for it to expand.
  • For perfectly cooked dumplings, always ensure that they are entirely submerged in the water during cooking.  Have boiling water ready to top up the pot should the water level drop enough to reveal the tips of the dumplings.  However, it is best to fill the pot with ample water from the start of cooking to prevent hasty additions of water in the midst of cooking.

Wrapping Chang - Step By Step and Boiling Chang

  • Take 2 pieces of bamboo leaf and align them, one on top of the other.  Holding them with one long side facing you, fold both ends away from you, around and upward, such that the centre of the long side nearest to you becomes the point of a cone, whose back walls are formed by the overlapping ends.

  • Spoon a tablespoon of rice into the cone, then place a chestnut, some pork, a mushroom and a salted egg yolk [if using] on top.
  • Cover the filling with 2 tablespoons of rice.  Make sure the dumpling doesn't feel too full.
  • Fold over the ends of the leaves which are protruding from the back of the cone [the cone's tip is pointing towards the right]....and wrap them round the side.
  • Bind the dumpling with a string by simply looping it round the bak chang twice and securing with a knot.
  • Fill a large pot with enough water to fully immerse the dumplings and bring to a fierce boil over high heat.  Lower the heat to maintain a gentle boil.  Continue cooking for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.  Top up with boiling water if dumplings are not fully immersed in water.  You can cook the dumplings from cold water but must not use cold water for topping water level.


PH said...

Hi Kimmy! Today I lagi wish I was your neighbour hee..hee..imagine that I get to taste all sorts of chang :) This tutorial is very good for those who wish to make chang or those like me who failed in wrapping chang. I tried once and it all fell apart hah...hah....I have given up ever since :(

Bakericious said...

woa so many flavours but my favourite is always nyonya chang.

Kimmy said...

Hi Phong Hong, my mum is a very good at making 'chang' especially the Kee Chang and Kiam Bak Chang. She has stopped making them for over a decade and never taught us how to make them. When I told her, I wanted to make Chang she gave me a 'failed' kind of response. I searched for recipes and started making them. They not only were good but also looked good with the pointed edges. My late Papa started requesting that I made more because my nephews love Bak Changs. Since then, I knew my Bak Changs are good otherwise there won't be 'orders' coming especially when they are so used to my mom's Bak Chang. But I'm very different from my mum though, I like to try making changs of various flavours. So this post has various changs that I have made and there are many more to come. Main problem - finding time to make them,hehehe!

Rena said...

Thank you so much for sharing so many types of Chang. I have been searching online for recipes and have watch YouTube for instructions. This will be my first time making Chang.

I would like to ask a questions. Some recipe do not stir-fry the meat,mushrooms,rice etc while some recipes like yours, do stir-fry them.

May I know what's the difference?

QembarDelites said...

Hi Kimmy, you are very kut lat making so many types. I only managed 2kg of kiam bak chang and already finishing lol!

Kimmy said...

Hi Rena, frying the filling ingredients and rice makes the chang more fragrant. By frying the filling ingredients and rice are able to absorb the seasoning which makes the chang very tasty and aromatic. If making Savoury Chang, shalllots is a must. Happy trying.

Kimmy said...

Hi Jess, I made Nyonya Chang long before I started this blog. I like it too but not my family. Maybe I'll make some for my own consumption.

Kimmy said...

Hi Jeannie, you are very hardworking too making so much bak chang. Will look up your post on rice dumplings.

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

This year I didn't plan to make Bak Chang, only waiting for my mom to send some for me, hehehe.. Your Bak Chang look good too! Happy Duan Wu Jie!

Lite Home Bake said...

You have so many varieties, Kimmy! I made 2 types and already finding it a lot of work :))

Karen Luvswesavory said...

Hi Kimmy, seeing your bak chang and those selling during dragon boat festival period reminds me of my late mom's dumplings. Really missed those delicious fillings diced in cubes and nicely wrapped with glutinous rice and leaf.

ann low said...

Hi Kimmy, I only made bak chang twice then stopped making for many years. Yours look so good and very well wrapped. :)

Kimmy said...

Hi Sonia, you are very lucky, mum will send over Bak Changs. My mum has retired from this duty. It's the other way round. Happy Duan Wu Jie, do enjoy as many changs as possible.

Kimmy said...

Hi Lite Home Bake, it's tiring I agree. Making bak chang to me is like a duty to do for the family. Wondering whether someone in family will take over this 'job', hehehe!

Kimmy said...

Hi Karen, you can try to make some too. It's worthwhile.

Kimmy said...

Hi Ann, my family prefers home-made bak changs. So I have to make some after all people says 'once a year only'.