7 Bak Chang Recipes For Every Dialect Group

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spread of bak chang recipe preparation
(Credit: Shangri-La Singapore Official Store)

Rice dumplings, also known as bak chang, are a must-have during the Dragonboat Festival (3 June 2022). Wrapped in fragrant bamboo and pandan leaves, these pyramid-shaped glutinous rice dumplings pack a punch with fillings like pork belly, chestnut, and salted egg. If you’re a fan of this savoury delicacy, why not try your hand at making one and grace your fam with your labour of love! It certainly isn’t the most straightforward recipe to follow, and requires you to set aside some time – but if you’re up for the challenge, read on for our list of bak chang recipes from every dialect group. 

What is bak chang and why do we eat them?

bak chang with salted egg on a wooden board
(Credit: planetgourmet11g5.sg)

Bak chang (or zongzi in Chinese) is a pyramid-shaped glutinous rice with pork belly and other savoury fillings wrapped in bamboo leaves. The Dragonboat Festival, which falls on the fifth day of the fifth month on the lunar calendar, commemorates the death of Qu Yuan – a poet in China’s Warring States period. According to folklore, he drowned himself in a river to warn the people about an impending invasion. People made bak chang and threw them in the river in the hopes that the fish would not eat his corpse. Today, bak chang continues to be a staple during the Dragonboat Festival.

How to wrap bak chang?

One of the most skill-intensive steps when learning how to make bak chang is the wrapping. So get ready those nimble hands and learn how to use bamboo leaves to wrap a bak chang with the video above.

How long can bak chang be kept?

variety of bak chang including nyonya, purple rice and hokkien bak chang on table bak chang recipe
(Credit: Shangri-La Singapore Official Store)

Bak chang are usually made in large batches and can be enjoyed for up to three days when kept refrigerated. If you want to keep it for a longer period, store it in the freezer and it can be kept for up to two months. Simply steam it or boil in water for five to eight minutes to reheat them. 

Easy Bak Chang recipes

1. Hokkien bak chang recipe

Nothing quite beats grandma’s recipes when it comes to delicious bak chang, and if you’re looking to learn how to make Hokkien bak chang, this is the recipe that won’t disappoint! Hokkien bak chang is characterised by its dark coloured glutinous rice as it is prepared with dark soy sauce. It also has a distinct aroma from the five-spice powder and shallots in the recipe. Follow this recipe to find out how to make Hokkien bak chang!

Prep time: 4 hours (including marinade)
Cook time: 3 hours
Servings: 12

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great shopee sale gss 2022 6.6 7.7
great shopee sale gss 2022 6.6 7.7
great shopee sale gss 2022 6.6 7.7

Ingredients:

Glutinous rice

  • 500g glutinous rice, soaked and drained
  • 1 ½ tbsp cooking oil
  • ½ head garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp five-spice powder
  • 120ml mushroom soaking water

Filling (pork)

  • 500g skinless pork belly
  • 1 tsp five-spice powder
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 ½ tsp fine sugar
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce

Filling (dried shrimp, salted egg and mushroom)

  • 1 ½ tbsp cooking oil
  • ½ head garlic, chopped
  • 35g mushroom, soaked and sliced
  • 50g dried shrimp, soaked and drained
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • ⅛ tsp dark soy sauce
  • 6 salted egg yolks, halved
  • 45g fried shallots
  • 170g braised peanuts

Hokkien bak chang recipe:

  1. Marinade pork belly (available on Market Boy Official Store) with five-spice powder, ground pepper, salt, sugar, and dark soy sauce (all available on Shopee Supermarket) in the refrigerator for four hours.
  2. Add cooking oil to the wok and fry chopped garlic (both available on Shopee Supermarket) until fragrant
  3. Add glutinous rice (available on Shopee Supermarket) to the wok and stir fry for a minute
  4. Add dark soy sauce, five-spice powder, and mushroom soaking water to the wok and stir fry until the liquid is dried up
  5. Set aside the glutinous rice and add cooking oil to an empty wok
  6. Fry garlic until fragrant and add in rehydrated dried mushrooms and dried shrimps (both available on Shopee Supermarket)
  7. Season the mixture with salt, ground pepper, and dark soy sauce and stir fry for a few minutes
  8. Drain braised peanuts (available on Shopee Supermarket) and divide all ingredients into 12 portions
  9. Rinse bamboo strings (available on Cheng Woh) with water
  10. Fold bamboo leaves (available on QLCSaveOnline) into the shape of a cup and add one third of glutinous rice from one portion 
  11. Add in the fillings and top it up with the other two-thirds of glutinous rice
  12. Press the glutinous rice down and wrap up the bamboo leaves and tie it up with a bamboo string
  13. Add water to a large pot and bring it to a boil
  14. Add in wrapped bak chang, ensuring that they are fully submerged in the water
  15. Bring the water to a boil again and reduce to medium-low heat
  16. Cook for two hours and 30 minutes
  17. Take out the rice dumplings and hang them dry! 

2. Nyonya rice dumpling recipe

We love how beautiful nyonya rice dumplings look with their iconic combination of blue and white glutinous rice. The key to creating this lovely blue hue naturally in this recipe is blue pea flowers. Apart from that, nyonya rice dumpling recipes are known for their sweet and savoury taste, which is achieved using a mixture of diced winter melon and meat.

Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 3 hours
Servings: 25

Ingredients:

Glutinous rice

  • 1kg glutinous rice
  • 10g dried blue pea flower
  • 800ml hot water
  • 15g garlic, minced
  • 3 ¼ salt
  • 5 tbsp cooking oil

Filling

  • 500g pork shoulder, diced
  • 40g dried mushrooms
  • 150g winter melon, diced
  • 50g shallots, sliced
  • 40g garlic, minced
  • 10g ginger, smashed
  • 1 stalk spring onion
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • ½ tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp coriander powder
  • 40g cekur ginger root, pounded
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp dark soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soya sauce
  • 24 bamboo leaves
  • Hemp strings
  • 12 pandan leaves, 5cm each

Nyonya rice dumpling recipe:

  1. To prepare the bak chang wrap, soak bamboo leaves overnight. The next day, rinse it and ensure that any dirt is removed and store it in a container.
  2. Soak the blue pea flower (available on Green Earth Organic SG Official Store) in hot water and leave it to cool.
  3. Wash the glutinous rice and place 300g of it in the blue pea flower water, and the other 700g in water. Soak them overnight and drain the rice the next day.
  4. Mix diced mushrooms with sugar, ginger, and a stalk of spring onion (both available on Shopee Supermarket)
  5. Steam the mixture for 15 minutes and remove the spring onion and ginger
  6. Marinate pork shoulder (available on Meat Pride Official Store) with dark soya sauce, light soya sauce (available on Shopee Supermarket), and salt for 15 minutes.
  7. Add three tablespoons of cooking oil to a pan and fry shallots (available on GrocerKing Official Store) and garlic until shallots are translucent
  8. Add coriander powder (available on Shopee Supermarket), white pepper, and pounded cekur root and fry until fragrant.
  9. Next, pour in marinated pork shoulder and mushrooms in the pan, followed by salt and diced winter melon (available on Fruit’ Alive).
  10. Stir fry the mixture until fragrant, and leave it to cool.
  11. Next, add one teaspoon of salt to the blue pea flower rice.
  12. Heat two tablespoons of cooking oil and fry minced garlic until fragrant
  13. Add in glutinous rice that was soaked in pure water with two teaspoons of salt and stir fry till fragrant
  14. After setting aside the rice to cool, overlap two bamboo leaves and fold them into a cone shape.
  15. Place one piece of pandan leaf (available on Grocer King Official Store) in the cone and fill it with half a tablespoon of blue pea flower glutinous rice and one tablespoon of white glutinous rice
  16. Add in pork filling and cover it with white glutinous rice
  17. Place a strip of pandan leaf on it and wrap it over the bamboo leaves to form a pyramid.
  18. Secure the bak chang with a hemp string. Repeat steps 14 to 17 until all rice and filling are used up.
  19. Boil the bak chang in water for two and a half hours.
  20. Hang them dry for at least 30 minutes and there you have it, your outcome from this nyonya rice dumpling recipe!

3. Cantonese bak chang recipe

While most bak chang are pyramid-shaped, Cantonese bak chang come in different shapes and sizes such as rectangular and parcel-shaped ones. Cantonese bak chang are also unique as it mixes mung beans with glutinous rice, which gives it a different texture from other bak chang options out there. In addition, this recipe incorporates scallops and oysters for a unique seafood bak chang treat!

Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 3 hours
Servings: 12

Ingredients:

  • 500g glutinous rice
  • 100g mung bean
  • 300g pork belly, cut
  • 12 salted egg yolks, halved
  • 12 dried scallops, rehydrated
  • 12 dried oysters 
  • 12 dried chestnuts
  • 50g dried shrimp
  • 50g shallots, minced
  • 30g garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp Hua Tiao wine
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • ½ tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp five-spice powder
  • Salt
  • 24 bamboo leaves
  • Hemp strings

Pork marinade

  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp five-spice powder
  • 2 tsp Hua Tiao wine
  • 2 tsp ginger juice
  • 2 tsp oyster sauce
  • ⅛ tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Cantonese bak chang recipe:

  1. Cut pork belly into one-inch chunks and marinade overnight with ginger juice, oyster sauce, light soy sauce, sugar, Hua Tiao wine, pepper and sesame oil (both available on Shopee Supermarket).
  2. Wash and soak glutinous rice, dried mushrooms and dried chestnuts (available on Nam Guan Emart) overnight.
  3. Soak mung beans (available on Shopee Supermarket) for two hours
  4. Remove membrane from dried chestnuts and boil it in a pot of water for 45 minutes. Set aside.
  5. Add oil to a pan and fry dried shrimps until crispy and set aside
  6. Fry shallots and garlic until fragrant and add one and a half teaspoons of salt
  7. Add in glutinous rice and stir fry 
  8. Add light soy sauce, Hua Tiao wine and dark soy sauce to the rice and mix well.
  9. Set aside the rice
  10. Fry mung beans with oil in a pan and season with a pinch of salt
  11. Add Hua Tiao wine to the mung beans and stir fry until fragrant
  12. Set aside the mung beans
  13. Soak dried scallops (available on Shopee Supermarket) and dried oysters (GDFOODSTORE Official Store) for 30 minutes
  14. Wash and wipe clean bamboo leaves
  15. Use two bamboo leaves to form a cone and add one tablespoon of glutinous rice, one to two pieces of pork, half teaspoon of dried shrimps, one piece of mushroom, scallop, oyster, chestnut, and one piece of salted egg yolk (available on GrocerKing Official Store).
  16. Top it up with one teaspoon of mung bean and one tablespoon of glutinous rice
  17. Wrap it up to form a pyramid and secure it with a hemp string
  18. Boil bak chang in water for two and a half hours
  19. Dry the bak chang and there you have it!

4. Teochew bak chang recipe

Teochew bak chang are relatively rare to find in Singapore. They are similar to Hokkien bak chang, but with a sweet and savoury twist! Included in the mix is red bean paste, which gives it a unique flavour. If you’re a fan of this flavour profile, give this Teochew bak chang recipe a try!

Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 2.5 hours
Servings: 15

Ingredients:

  • 1kg glutinous rice
  • 600g pork belly
  • 300g dried oyster
  • 150g dried shrimp
  • 300g dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and sliced
  • 8 salted egg yolks, halved
  • 250g red bean paste
  • 10 bulbs of shallots, sliced
  • 1 bulb of garlic, chopped

Rice marinade

  • 2 tbsps dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsps light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp five-spice powder
  • Dash of white pepper
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Pork marinade

  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsps light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • Dash of white pepper

Teochew bak chang recipe:

  1. Soak dried bamboo leaves and washed glutinous rice overnight
  2. The next day, use a damp cloth to wipe clean the bamboo leaves
  3. Slice pork belly into one inch thick slices
  4. Marinade pork belly with dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, pepper, Chinese cooking wine, and oyster sauce (both available on Shopee Supermarket) for at least two hours.
  5. Soak dried oysters for 45 minutes, save the water used to soak the oyster for later use.
  6. Deep fry shallots until golden brown and set aside
  7. Add three tablespoons of oil to a wok and fry half of the chopped garlic until fragrant
  8. Add in two tablespoons of fried shallots
  9. After the garlic turns golden brown, add in marinated pork belly and give it a good stir.
  10. Add the hydrated dried shrimps and stir fry for a minute
  11. Next, add mushrooms and dried oysters and season with dark soy sauce.
  12. Mix the ingredients well and stir fry for about five minutes
  13. Set aside the ingredients
  14. Add four tablespoons of cooking oil to the wok and saute the rest of the chopped garlic and three tablespoons of shallots
  15. Add in white glutinous rice as well as dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, light soy sauce, one and a half tablespoons of salt, sugar, pepper, and five-spice powder.
  16. Next, pour in the water that was used to hydrate the dried oysters.
  17. Fry the rice for about six minutes on low to medium heat and set it aside.
  18. Use two bamboo leaves to form a cone shape and fill it with one tablespoon of glutinous rice, one piece of pork belly, one to two pieces of shiitake mushrooms, one piece of oyster, a few pieces of dried shrimp, one teaspoon of red bean paste (available on Cocoaorient Official Store), and half of a salted egg yolk.
  19. Top up with more glutinous rice and wrap the bak chang up, securing it with a bamboo string.
  20. Boil the bak chang in water for two hours and enjoy!

5. Hainanese bak zhang recipe

For those who are just starting to learn how to make bak chang, we highly recommend this Hainanese bak chang recipe as it is one of the easiest ones on this list! The cooking methods are simple and do not require as much time. There’s also a simpler ingredients list which is ideal for those with a lighter palate.

Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 3.5 hours
Servings: 20

Ingredients:

  • 1kg glutinous rice
  • 600g pork belly, sliced
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp five-spice powder
  • 20 salted egg yolk
  • 1 – 2 pcs dried squid
  • 20 tbsp fried shallots
  • 60 bamboo leaves

Pork belly marinade

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp five-spice powder
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce

Hainanese bak chang recipe:

  1. Soak bamboo leaves overnight in boiled water.
  2. Wash glutinous rice thoroughly and soak for at least one hour
  3. Drain the rice
  4. Add cooking oil to a wok and add glutinous rice in with low heat
  5. Fry for less than a minute and add sugar, pepper, five-spice powder, and salt.
  6. Mix well and stir fry until fragrant
  7. Cut the dried squid (available on Dried Food Empire) into small strips and pan-fry them until fragrant over low heat. Set aside.
  8. Add oil to the wok and add in diced pork belly
  9. Add in salt, sugar, pepper and five-spice powder.
  10. Mix well and add light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and oyster sauce and stir fry for five minutes
  11. Take two bamboo leaves and make a cone shape
  12. Fill the cone with one tablespoon of glutinous rice, one salted egg yolk, one slice of pork belly, two strips of dried squid, and a dash of fried shallots (available on Shopee Supermarket).
  13. Top it up with glutinous rice and wrap it up, securing it with a bamboo string.
  14. Repeat steps 12 to 13 until all the ingredients are used up.
  15. Cook the bak chang in a pot of boiling water, fully submerged, for three hours.
  16. Drain the bak chang from the water and enjoy!

6. Hakka rice dumpling recipe

Chestnuts and salted egg yolk are what dreams are made of when it comes to bak chang. These usual suspects are what many of us look forward to most when enjoying rice dumplings during Dragonboat Festival. These are the key ingredients in Hakka chang recipes! Apart from that, Hakka chang also mixes peas with glutinous rice. 

Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 2 hours
Servings: 25

Ingredients:

  • 1kg glutinous rice
  • 1kg yellow split peas
  • 1kg pork belly
  • 50 pcs bamboo leaves, washed
  • 50 pcs bamboo leaf strings
  • 25 pcs dried mushrooms
  • 25 pcs chestnuts
  • 13 salted egg yolks, halves
  • 100g shallots
  • 50g garlic
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoon five-spice powder
  • ½ teaspoon MSG
  • Salt 
  • Pepper

Hakka bak chang recipe:

  1. Soak bamboo leaves, glutinous rice, yellow split peas, dried mushrooms and chestnuts for at least four hours
  2. Remove stems from the mushrooms after they are rehydrated
  3. Blend garlic and shallots using a blender 
  4. Clean the chestnuts and ensure that all skin is removed
  5. Chop the pork belly into bite-sized pieces
  6. Wash the glutinous rice and peas with water one to two times and drain them
  7. Add cooking oil to a wok and scoop in three teaspoons of shallots and garlic
  8. Fry for two minutes until fragrant
  9. Add in pork belly and add one and a half tablespoons of salt, one teaspoon of pepper, half a teaspoon of MSG (available on Shopee Supermarket) and half a teaspoon of five-spice powder.
  10. Stir fry pork belly and add one and a half tablespoons of oyster sauce and half a teaspoon of dark soy sauce to the mix
  11. Mix well and continue to stir fry for 10 minutes. Add about four to eight teaspoons of water while frying to increase the amount of gravy.
  12. Set aside the pork belly as well as the gravy in a separate bowl
  13. Fry another one teaspoon of shallots and garlic in the wok for a minute
  14. Add mushrooms, one and a half tablespoons of oyster sauce, half tablespoon of salt, and one teaspoon of pepper, and stir fry.
  15. Add one and a half teaspoons of the gravy from the pork belly earlier and add three to four teaspoons of water
  16. Stir fry the mushrooms for 10 minutes and set aside
  17. Next, fry one teaspoon of shallots and garlic until fragrant and add in yellow split peas.
  18. Season with one tablespoon of salt and half a teaspoon of pepper and fry for two minutes
  19. Set aside the peas and fry another three teaspoons of shallots and garlic
  20. Add in glutinous rice and season with one and a half tablespoons of salt, two teaspoons of pepper, and one teaspoon of five-spice powder.
  21. Stir fry the rice and pour all the gravy from earlier into the rice
  22. Mix well until all rice is covered with gravy
  23. Set aside the rice
  24. Form a cone shape using two bamboo leaves and fill it with one tablespoon of rice, one tablespoon of peas, one chestnut, one salted egg yolk, two pork bellies and one mushroom.
  25. Top it up with another one tablespoon of rice and press it down gently
  26. Fold the leaf down and wrap it up, securing it tightly with a bamboo string
  27. Repeat step 24 to 26 until all ingredients are used up
  28. Add bak chang to a pressure cooker and submerge them fully in water
  29. Bring the water to a boil and cook for one and a half hours
  30. Hang the bak chang dry and enjoy!

7. Kee chang recipe

Prefer sweet to savoury? Then you’ve got to try this kee chang recipe! Kee chang is literally translated to alkaline dumpling. It is plain with no fillings at all, and usually dipped with sugar or drizzled with gula melaka or coconut palm syrup (available on 外公的店 Grandpa’s Heritage). This recipe makes them bite-sized so you’ll never have too much!

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 3 hours
Servings: 45

Ingredients:

  • 1kg glutinous rice
  • 2 tbsp alkaline water
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 100 – 120 dry bamboo leaves
  • Bamboo twines

Kee chang recipe:

  1. Soak glutinous rice in water and dry bamboo leaves in boiling water overnight
  2. The following day, check that the bamboo leaves are rehydrated to a deep green colour and wash them thoroughly.
  3. Trim the leaves by snipping off the hard stem and brown tips, discard torn or broken leaves.
  4. Use a towel to wipe both sides of the leaves
  5. Drain water from the glutinous rice
  6. Add alkaline water (available on A Little Village) and oil to the glutinous rice and mix thoroughly
  7. Let the rice sit for one hour – the alkaline water will turn the rice to a pale yellow colour.
  8. Next, fold two bamboo leaves into a cone shape and fill it with two tablespoons of rice.
  9. Press it down gently to make it compact
  10. Wrap it up to form a nice pyramid and secure it firmly with a bamboo twine
  11. Place the kee chang in a large pot and submerge them in water
  12. Cook for two and a half hours and remove them from the pot
  13. Hang them dry and enjoy!

Make your own bak chang with these easy recipes

Whether it’s the nyonya rice dumpling recipe or traditional hakka bak chang recipe, try your hand at making your own bak chang together with your family as we approach the Dragonboat Festival! Get your ingredients conveniently online on Shopee Supermarket! You can also order from these bak chang delivery in Singapore and see how yours fare against them. Alternatively, those with a sweet tooth can get the best kee chang in Singapore instead.

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great shopee sale gss 2022 6.6 7.7
great shopee sale gss 2022 6.6 7.7
great shopee sale gss 2022 6.6 7.7
great shopee sale gss 2022 6.6 7.7