Kuih Chang, as known to the Nyonya or Peranakan community, is a special meat dumpling eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival. The term ‘chang’ refers to zongzi, which means Chinese dumplings which uses bamboo leaves to wrap glutinous rice with stuffing in it.
Dried bamboo leaves are used to wrap these glutinous rice dumplings and secured with hemp strings. Both bamboo leaves can be found at the Asian grocer. Hemp strings are given with the bamboo leaves. Other strings such as coir/coconut fibre can also be used to secure the dumplings.
Wrapping these dumplings takes a lot of patience and can be rather tricky! Ensure they are not wrapped too tightly because the glutinous rice expands as it cooks. However, if the dumpling is loosely wrapped, the glutinous rice and filling may spill. Do not lose hope, though. Practice makes perfect. I had my fair share of frustrations initially when dealing with the wrapping procedure.
The act of filling the bamboo leaves with glutinous rice and meat to make a whole bunch of dumplings can be very time consuming. Therefore, many would divide the work into two separate 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 with a clean towel. It is advisable to have these leaves prepared one day earlier. Besides that, all ingredients can be minced and cooked before hand.
These meat dumplings can be left at room temperature for 2 days, 5 days refrigerated or up to 6 months if kept frozen. Simply steam them (without thawing) for at least 20 minutes before eating.
Have fun experimenting with this recipe. You will be extremely proud of yourself once you see the result of your efforts.
Nyonya Chang is also known as: Nyonya ChangNonya Chang娘惹粽
Boil dried bamboo leaves and hemp strings. Wipe them clean.
Bring water till a rolling boil in a pot. Blanch chicken meat for about 40 seconds. Then, remove from pot and mince the meat.
Heat oil over medium heat. Fry minced garlic until fragrant and add minced mushroom to cook for about 2 minutes. Set aside.
Add more oil to the pan, fry garlic, fermented soybean paste and black pepper. Mix coriander powder with a bit of water, then add it to the pan along with the cooked mushrooms. Once all ingredients are evenly mixed, add the chopped dried winter melon strips and minced meat. 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 glutinous rice in the coloured water. Soak the rest of the glutinous rice in the rest of the plain water with some salt. Leave overnight.
To wrap dumpling, make a cone shape with 2 pieces of bamboo leaves. Place a small piece (ca. 4cm) of pandan leaf and a small amount of blue coloured glutinous rice. Add meat filling. Cover filling with white glutinous rice.
Fold into a triangular shape. Secure wrapping with hemp strings. In a pot of boiling water, add wrapped dumplings to the pot. Once water begins to boil again, reduce the heat to the minimum and let it simmer for at least 2.5 hours. Once ready, allow access water to drip from the dumplings before serving.