Step by Step Guide to Homemade Bak Chang (Chinese Dumplings)

I've always assumed the process of homemade Chinese dumpling (aka bak chang) is difficult one. I remembered seeing my seeing my grandma and parents making dumpling back in KL but I've never helped up. It has been four long years now since I last eaten one.

Bak chang is not one of my favourite foods. The only time (condition) I will eat one is only if they were made by my parents or grandmother. Why? I don't like the oily sticky rice with fatty pork stuffings in it. It's pretty disgusting handling a slimy oily dumpling. Worst still it smells of strong porky ordour. I'm no big fan of pork.,

This year, I've decided to make my very own bak chang. I made it a Sunday project. It was a last minute decision. I did not plan for it to happen. It just happened I was at Chinese (Asian) Grocery shop on Saturday. The shop owner was kind enough to sell me half a pack of bamboo leaves. To be honest, I don't mind paying for the whole pack. It only cost £2.80. The only thing is it is too much for me. I don't want to keep the additional leaves (even if it is for next year consumption). My idea was to make a few for the fun of it.

Here is my version of Chinese dumpling. I don't have exact measurements for the ingredients used (besides, I really throw in all seasoning without any specific measurements). My philosophy, it is always better to have extra stuffings than not enough stuffings and leftover rice. So, besides the logic hubby being stingy with stuffings when he mould he dumplings... there are meant to be extras. The below illustration are for my future reference. So if you are looking for a rough guide, here is how its done.

Most household used pork belly or fatty part of pork meat for dumpling. I bought 2 pack of M&S outdoor reared pork loin steak. It has less fatty contents. I slice each pork to about 8 to 10 portion and then marinate with oyster sauce, soya sauce, white pepper, shaoxing wine, garlic powder, 5 spice, sesame oil and caramel sauce (dark sauce) overnight in refrigerator.

The next day, I saute the garlic, ginger and onions (all minced) with sunflower oil

Then add the marinated ingredients to cook. For extra flavouring I added in OXO chicken cubes (I don't normally use stock cubes for cooking but I made an exception for bak chang. I don't want to end up with a disappointing tasting bak chang)

I got a little worried when I couldn't get the gravy to dry off (don't know why the dish become more watery despite me not adding water) and the meat is more than cook (I was worried the meat will turn out to be rough in dumpling (thanks goodness the meat was tender and nice in dumpling despite two hours of boiling). I couldn't be bothered with the watery gravy. I scooped the meat out and add the gravy to the soaked mushrooms container

Using the same pan, I saute more garlics and ginger with sunflower oil. Later, add in the pre-soaked Chinese mushrooms (I soaked the night before) to the sautee-d ingredients. Add sesame oil, oyster sauce, soya sauce, shaoxing wine, soya sauce, sesame oil, OXO chicken cube (crushed) and pepper to the mushrooms. Give it a good stir.

Dish out and set aside. Two ingredients done. Yippee...

Using the same pan, saute more garlic with sunflower oil. I used more oil for this because I know rice needs more oil

Add rice, oyster sauce, caramel sauce (dark sauce), soya sauce, OXO chicken cube (crushed) and pepper.

I find it difficult to manoeuvre the rice around in the pan. You may want to split the rice cooking process to few different portions.

You may cook this using the same pan. I got a little panic when I see the clock so I took out my other non stick pan to cook the split mung beans. Yes, multi-tasking needed. Hubby was with me in my small kitchen space washing, boiling, cleaning and wiping the bamboo leaves. I will go to that later. As of now... I will talk bout my portion first. Saute the garlic and onions till brown

Add the mung beans and season with pepper, soya sauce and OXO chicken cube (crushed).

Dish up and set aside

Last but not least the dried shrimps. Saute garlic with sunflower oil

Add in soaked dried shrimp. Season with pepper

Dish up and set aside

While I was busy with all the stuffings, hubby was busy with the leaves cleaning. Soak the leaves in a big pot the night before. Clean the leaves pieces by pieces with sponge before boiling them

Bring a pot of water to boil. Blanch the leaves in hot water for a minute or so

Carefully dries them and set aside

I was busy cleaning up and cooking dinner while hubby wrapped the dumplings. I should have snapped the step-by-step guide. We don't have much space in kitchen so he got everything done in dining room. Here is a picture of him wrapping the dumpling. Hubby says wrapping a dumpling is like playing with origami

 First batch before boiling

To cook, bring a pot of water to boil. For cheating way, boil water in electric kettle. Transfer in the pot. Add the dumplings in the boiling water. Cover with lid. Cook for 2 hours (on low).

After two hours, remove dumplings from boiling water

Most people will hang the dumplings. I don't have any space I can hang the dumplings. There is no way I will let the water dripped from tripod to the ground. I find it really disgusting. So, I wiped the individual dumpling dry with kitchen towel and place them to cool on cookie racks

Leave it a day before feasting. The whole dumpling making process is not a difficult one but it was sure a lengthy process. You may break the cooking process to few days project. Hubby finds it a lot easier wrapping with one leaf. It may be smaller but a safer alternative for beginners. We have two dumpling burst while cooking when he wrapped with two leaves.

I'm glad we gave it a go. The overall taste was perfect (at least to the both of us). It's one high calorie meal but it's still alright to indulge in one (it's still a lot healthier than any junk foods, fast foods or even takeaways). Besides its once a year thing.

Hubby gave 3 small dumplings to a Malaysian friend and 1 to his Scottish colleague. Our Malaysian friend ate 2 pieces in a go. He claimed it taste exactly the same as the one sold in Kuala Lumpur. His Scottish colleague says it taste yummy too. 

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