Nyonya Chang

My Peranakan family's recipe to the Nyonya meat dumplings or Kuih Chang are always made for the celebration of the Dragon Boat Festival. These meat dumplings have a unique flavour due to the coriander powder and fermented soybean used.

5 stars

Preparation 30 mins
Cooking 150 mins


Nyonya Chang, Nonya Chang, Kuih Chang, 娘惹粽

Singaporean, Indonesian

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Nutrition per Serving

733 kcal
131 g
5 g
45 g

'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. This is a family's recipe which has been made over the years and have enjoyed every bit of it!

Wrapped Peranakan rice dumplings
Wrapped Peranakan rice dumplings

What makes an authentic Kuih Chang?

Orignally, these Peranakan rice dumplings are made with pork. The extra fats make the dumplings taste really delicious. Like a lot of Peranakan food, the natural colouring using Butterfly Pea flower is another significant look which makes it different. Another ingredient that is loved in Peranakan dishes is fermented soybean (taucu) which is also added to the dish. The use of coriander powder too make this rice dumplings a speciality.

Pork or chicken

Of course, the original version using pork tastes better. If you prefer to use chicken, that‘s not a problem too. Instead of chicken breast, use chicken thighs for the extra fats which will make the filling so much more delicious!

What to use to wrap glutinous rice dumplings?

Dried bamboo leaves which are softened are used to wrap these glutinous rice dumplings and secured with hemp strings.

Bak Zhang leaves
Bak Zhang leaves

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.

How to wrap the dumplings?

Wrapping these dumplings takes a lot of effort and patience as it can be rather tricky. You have to use two leaves to overlap each other to create a bigger surface.

Place one bamboo leaf over the other
Place one bamboo leaf over the other

As shown above, always place bottom leaf over the top leaf and not the other way around. Doing it otherwise will create empty pockets when folded into a cone, which should be avoided.

To create the cone shape, bring up both sides of the leaves and push one side towards you and the other to the back.

Create a cone
Create a cone

Ready to be filled
Ready to be filled

Once the cone is filled, the large surface on top (the ends of the leaves) will be folded over. 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.

If this is your first time wrapping rice dumplings, secure it with an extra string to ensure that they will not unwrap while cooking. I‘ve heard of so many stories where the dumplings opened during the cooking process. That‘s all the hard work down the drain!

Secured with coconut fibre
Secured with coconut fibre

When it comes to wrapping dumplings, practice makes perfect!

Coloured glutinous rice

The blue coloured glutinous rice used in this recipe is a must when making this rice dumpling. In the video, the rice did not appear to be dark enough. Do note that the colour of the rice will fade as it cooks. Soak at least 2 tablespoons of Butterfly Pea flower in hot water. Allow it to cool to room temperature before using.

Divide tasks in two days

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.

Day To complete
Day 1 Step 1 to 5. Boil the dried bamboo leaves in hot water to soften them, cook filling and soak glutinous rice.
Day 2 Step 5 to 7. Wrap and cook dumplings.

How to store Nyonya dumplings?

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.


bamboo leave(s)
hemp strings
200 g
chicken meat
1,000 ml
1 tbsp
garlic clove(s)
shiitake mushroom(s)
1 tbsp
fermented soybean paste (taucu)
black pepper powder
1 tbsp
coriander powder
1 tbsp
60 g
winter melon (candied)
400 g
glutinous rice
butterfly pea flowers (dried)
pandan leaves

Steps to Prepare

Nyonya Chang Step 1

Step 1 of 7

    • bamboo leave(s)
    • hemp strings

Boil dried bamboo leaves and hemp strings. Wipe the leaves to remove impurities.

Nyonya Chang Step 2

Step 2 of 7

    • 200 g chicken meat
    • 300 ml water

Bring water to a rolling boil in a pot. Blanch chicken meat for about 40 seconds. Remove and mince the meat.

Nyonya Chang Step 3

Step 3 of 7

    • 1⁄2 tbsp oil
    • 1⁄2 garlic clove(s)
    • 6 shiitake mushroom(s)

Heat oil over medium heat. Fry minced garlic until fragrant. Add minced mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes. Set aside.

Nyonya Chang Step 4

Step 4 of 7

    • 1⁄2 tbsp oil
    • 1⁄2 garlic clove(s)
    • 1 tbsp fermented soybean paste (taucu)
    • black pepper powder
    • 1 tbsp coriander powder
    • 1 tbsp water
    • 60 g winter melon (candied)
    • salt

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.

Nyonya Chang Step 5

Step 5 of 7

    • 400 g glutinous rice
    • 30 butterfly pea flowers (dried)
    • 700 ml water

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.

Nyonya Chang Step 6

Step 6 of 7

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.

Nyonya Chang Step 7

Step 7 of 7

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.

Published: July 4, 2014

2 Discussions

3 years ago


Sometimes it’s difficult to see the video because of the obstruction.

4 years ago


Can i use ground chicken instead of chopping chicken?

Mira - Community Happiness Manager
4 years ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Of course. Minced pork is also possible.

4 years ago



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