'Kuih Chang', as known to the Nyonya or Peranakan community is a special meat dumpling eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival. The term chang means 'zongzi', which refers to Chinese dumplings made of glutinous rice with stuffing wrapped in bamboo leaves.
Dried bamboo leaves which are softened are used to wrap these glutinous rice dumplings and secured with hemp strings. Both the items can be found at the Asian grocer. Hemp strings comes together with the bamboo leaves. Other strings such as coir/coconut fiber can also be used to secure the dumplings.
Wrapping these dumplings takes a lot of effort and patience as it can be rather tricky. Ensure they are not wrapped too tightly because the glutinous rice expands as it cooks. However, if it is loosely wrapped, the glutinous rice and filling may spill during the cooking process. Do not be discouraged, though. Practice makes perfect. I had my fair share of frustrations initially when working on the wrapping procedure.
Wrapping a whole bunch of dumplings can be very time consuming. Therefore, it is advisable to divide the workload into two days whereby the first day is dedicated to preparation. Boil the dried bamboo leaves in hot water to soften them and remove any impurities. Wipe them dry with a clean towel. It is advisable to have these leaves and the filling prepared one day earlier.
These meat dumplings can be left at room temperature for 2 days, 5 days if refrigerated or up to 6 months if kept frozen. Simply steam them (without thawing) for at least 20 minutes before consuming.
Have fun experimenting with this recipe. You will be extremely proud of yourself once you see the result of your effort.
Nyonya Chang is also known as: Nyonya ChangNonya Chang娘惹粽
Boil dried bamboo leaves and hemp strings. Wipe the leaves to remove impurities.
Bring water to a rolling boil in a pot. Blanch chicken meat for about 40 seconds. Remove and mince the meat.
Heat oil over medium heat. Fry minced garlic until fragrant. Add minced mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes. Set aside.
Add more oil to the pan. Stir-fry garlic, fermented soybean paste and black pepper. Mix coriander powder with a bit of water. Add it into the pan along with the cooked mushrooms. Evenly mix all ingredients. Add the chopped dried winter melon strips and minced meat. Mix well. If the mixture is too dry, add some water. Add salt to taste. Sauté ingredients until excess water dries up. Then, set aside.
Soak butterfly pea flower in 250 ml of warm water for 30 minutes. Remove flowers and soak 1/3 of the glutinous rice in the coloured water. Soak the rest of the glutinous rice in plain water with some salt. Leave overnight.
To wrap dumpling, make a cone with 2 pieces of bamboo leaves. Place a small piece (ca. 4cm) of pandan leaf and a small amount of blue coloured glutinous rice into the cone. Add meat filling. Cover filling with white glutinous rice.
Fold into a triangular shape. Secure wrapping with hemp string. In a pot of boiling water, add wrapped dumplings. Ensure water covers the dumplings. Once water begins to boil again, reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer for at least 2.5 hours. Add more hot water from time to time. Once ready, allow excess water to drip from the dumplings before serving.