Rice Dumplings | Bak Chang | 粽子

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

Duanwu or Dragon Boat or simply Rice Dumplings Festival is today! It is a tradition that had been passed down from generations, whereby families will make rice dumplings and hand them out to neighbors, friends and families. But sadly, that tradition is slowly fading away. Most rather buy those factory mass-produced ones than making their own. Today, I decided to revitalize that tradition by making my rice dumplings for the 1st time.

I do not consume any other cuts of meat except for chicken so it is kinda inevitable to use chicken in this rice dumpling. To enhance the flavors, without the absence of pork, I used chicken fat and butter. You can switch them out for normal canola or vegetable oil if you are using pork fillings. I also added dried scallops for another stacking layer of funkiness.

It indeed takes a lot of effort, time and patience in preparing, cooking, shaping and boiling. But in the end, it is all worth it as you have created your own rice dumplings. Cos back in the days, each household has its own special taste and uniqueness, perhaps that's what makes these rice dumplings so iconic. You can have your own mix of fillings as well, switch the ingredients out and create your own metaphor of rice dumplings. Without much delay, let's get started with the recipe.


(Make 10 rice dumplings)

  • Chicken:

  • Chicken Thigh Skinless Boneless, 250g

  • Chinese 5 Spice Powder, 1/2 TSP

  • White Pepper, Pinch

  • Sea Salt, Pinch

  • Soy Sauce, 1 TBSP

  • Mirin, 1/2 TBSP

  • Dumplings:

  • Glutinous Rice, 500g

  • Chinese Dried Mushrooms, 10

  • Dried Chestnuts, 10

  • Dried Shrimps, 40g

  • Dried Scallops, 10

  • Dried Bamboo Leaves, 20

  • Dried Bamboo Strings, A Bundle

  • Chicken Fat, 100g

  • Red Onion Thinly Sliced, 1

  • Oyster Sauce, 4 TBSP

  • Chinese 5 Spice Powder, 1/4 TSP

  • White Pepper, 1/4 TSP

  • Sea Salt, 1/2 TSP

  • Sesame Oil, 1/2 TBSP

  • Unsalted Butter, 1 Heaped TBSP


  • Cast Iron Skillet / Pan

  • Large Heavy Pot

Directions: scallop

  1. Marinade the chicken.

  2. In a shallow bowl, add chicken, 5 spice, pepper, salt, soy sauce and mirin.

  3. Cover with cling film and marinade in the fridge overnight.

  4. Prepare the dumplings.

  5. In a large bowl, add rice and just enuff water to submerge the rice.

  6. In another bowl, add mushrooms and chestnuts.

  7. Add just enuff water to submerge the mushrooms and chestnuts.

  8. In a separate bowl, add shrimps and scallops.

  9. Add just enuff water to submerge them.

  10. In a large pot, add bamboo leaves, strings and enuff water to submerge.

  11. Sit them at room temperature overnight.

  12. The next day, drain the rice thru a strainer to remove any excess water.

  13. Set aside.

  14. Slice off the steams of the mushrooms and set aside.

  15. Discard the stems or you can use them for vegetable stock.

  16. Clean the chestnuts for any leftover shells or skins. Set aside.

  17. *Do not discard the water.*

  18. Remove the shrimps and scallops from the water.

  19. Place them in separate bowls and set aside.

  20. *Do not discard the water too.*

  21. Remove the bamboo leaves and strings from the water.

  22. Discard the water.

  23. Clean and wipe the bamboo leaves with a kitchen towel.

  24. Set aside.

  25. In a skillet over medium high heat, add chicken fat.

  26. As soon as the fat starts to melt and becomes foamy, add in onions.

  27. Saute the onions until golden brown.

  28. Remove from heat and set aside.

  29. Using the same skillet, add in the marinated chicken.

  30. Cook the chicken thru' about 2 to 3 mins per side.

  31. Remove from heat and slice the chicken into strips, about a 1/4 inch thickness.

  32. Set aside.

  33. Deglaze the skillet with a bit of that chicken oil.

  34. Add in mushrooms and saute until lightly caramelized.

  35. Remove from heat and set aside.

  36. Add in chestnut and saute until lightly brown.

  37. Remove from heat and set aside.

  38. Add in shrimps and saute until aromatic.

  39. Remove from heat and set aside.

  40. Add in scallops and saute until light brown.

  41. Remove from heat and set aside.

  42. *You can drizzle in a bit of chicken fat if you feel the need to during the sauteing process.*

  43. Add half of the onions and chicken fat into the skillet.

  44. Add in all of the chicken, mushrooms, chestnuts, shrimps and scallops.

  45. Add in 2 TBSP of oyster sauce, 1/4 cup of the mushroom soaked water and 1/4 cup of the shrimp soaked water.

  46. Saute until well combine.

  47. Taste and adjust for seasonings with salt and pepper.

  48. Remove from heat and set aside.

  49. In the same skillet, add in the remaining half the onions and chicken fat.

  50. Add in the rice, 2 TBSP oyster sauce, 5 spice, pepper, salt and sesame oil.

  51. Saute until well combine.

  52. Remove from heat and set aside.

  53. Bring a large heavy pot of water to a rolling boil.

  54. Take 2 bamboo leaves, one on top of the other, take the halfway point, fold and form it into a cone shape.

  55. Add a scoop of the rice into the cone.

  56. Pack it down firmly.

  57. Add a few slices of chicken, 1 mushroom, 1 chestnut, a few shrimps and 1 scallops.

  58. Add another scoop of rice on top.

  59. Pack it down firmly.

  60. Fold the leaves down and form a pyramid shape.

  61. Tie the dumplings tightly with strings.

  62. *It takes a few practices until you get it right. Most importantly is to the tie the dumplings tightly.*

  63. Repeat the process for the remaining dumplings.

  64. Add butter and the dumplings into the boiling water.

  65. Cover and boil for about 2 to 3 hours.

  66. At the 2 hours mark, remove one of the dumplings, unwrap and test if it is cooked.

  67. If it is cooked, remove from heat, place in a wire cooling rack to drain off excess water and cool down.

  68. If it is not yet cooked, continue cooking for another hour and check again,

  69. When it is cool enuff to handle, unwrap and serve.

#dumplings #duanwu #粽子 #ricedumplings #bakchang #dragonboat

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