2 days ago, it was our traditional Duanwu Festival, aka Dragonboat festival. I won’t bore you with the details on the origin of this festival as you can always google it! Every chinese family will be eating all sorts of bak zhang on this day and i have always wanted to make my own! Despite my enthusiasm, I have always been intimidated by the tremendous effort and skill required to make this traditional dish. This year, i finally gathered enough courage and made this for the first time! The result was so rewarding, satisfying, and gave me great happiness and sense of achievement when i shared it with my family. Ah Ma and Mom who constantly discouraged me to try this out, absolutely looooooves my bak zhang and told me that they are the best they ever had! Mom is still craving for more and has already requested for me to make more so she can share with her friends.
This is one of the hardest dish i’ve ever made but the result is a delicious, fragrant and yummy dumpling wrapped with all my love inside. I hope my loved ones felt my love as they ate the dumplings which i painstakingly wrapped one by one. The dumplings are very delicious as it is very fragrant with generous amounts of fillings as opposed to stale mystery meat wrapped in store bought ones. I am looking forward to making more, and it will definitely become my tradition every year!
PS: I am still at a loss on where to start on the recipe as it is a complicated recipe with many steps. I will pen it down in detail once i get more time on my hands 🙂
Ingredients: (Makes 20 dumplings)
- About 50 bamboo leaves, soaked overnight (more is better as some leaves may be cracked and cannot be used)
- 1kg white glutinous rice, soaked overnight
- 20 dried shitake mushrooms, soaked overnight
- 20 or more dried chestnuts, soaked overnight
- Marinate 600g pork belly cut in thick slices in: 1 heaped tsp of 5 spice powder, black pepper, 1tsp salt, 2tbsp dark soy sauce, 1 tbsp thick dark soy sauce, 2tbsp rice wine.
- 150g – 200g shallots, sliced
- 200ml corn oil
- Rice seasoning: 1/2tsp 5 spice powder, 1 tsp salt, black pepper, 3tbsp oyster sauce, 1tbsp sesame oil, 2tbsp soy sauce, 1tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 cup chicken stock ( for braising)
- You may add in dried shrimps but i omitted it and it was just as delicious!
- Soak ingredients, marinate pork belly the night before.
- Fry shallots in corn oil until golden and crispy. Dish up and set aside.
- Fry chestnuts in small amount of shallot oil until golden brown. Set aside.
- Add half the shallots and oil into the wok. Add in rice and rice seasoning. Fry and toss until well combined. When rice is slightly translucent, dish up and set aside.
- Add in the other half of shallot oil and fry pork belly with its marinate, and mushrooms and chestnuts. Pour in 1 cup of chicken stock. Bring to boil.
- Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Wrap dumplings with rice and fillings. You may refer to youtube videos on how to wrap and secure the dumplings.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add in 1tbsp of salt. Fully submerged dumplings in the boiling water. Simmer and cook for 2.5-3hours. Check every 15minutes and add hot water as needed. Make sure all dumplings are covered by water at all times.