Bak Chang Recipe

Chinese June 16th, 2008

bak chang

We’ve finally reached the third installment in the Bak Chang series and today, I will feature our family Bak Chang recipe. Now, this recipe is definitely not for beginners as a considerable amount of skill and estimation on ingredients are required. You see, with home-cooked food, we don’t measure ingredients using measuring spoons or cups. Rather, it’s a lot to do with estimation or what the locals call “agak-agak” (“estimate”). So, this recipe is a guide for you so that you roughly know what ingredients go into the Bak Chang and how is is prepared and cooked.

This Bak Chang recipe is quite close to the Nyonya Bak Chang especially in the taste department. It is probably world’s apart from Cantonese Bak Chang which tends to be a bit on the saltish side and contains bigger chunks of ingredients. Those who are fond of eating saltish Bak Changs might find this not suited to their palate because our Bak Chang recipe is sweet and saltish with a slight emphasis on the former. Nevertheless, for those who are craving for a slightly sweetish Bak Chang, this might be the recipe you are looking for. In this recipe, we are looking at making approximately 25 Bak Changs depending on how you wrap the Bak Chang.

This is our family recipe for Bak Chang

Bak Chang

Ingredients

  • 1 kg glutinous rice (washed, pre-soaked for 4 to 6 hours and drained)
  • 1 kg pork (lean pork from the fore thigh, cut into small cubes not more than 1cm sides)
  • 300 grammes dried winter melon (cut into small cubes not more than 1cm sides)
  • 250 grammes dried prawns (rinsed and pounded)
  • 15 pieces chinese dried mushroom (pre-soaked till soft and cut into cubes not more than 1 cm sides)
  • 8 shallots (sliced thinly)
  • 1 bulb garlic (chopped)
  • 60 pieces Bak Chang bamboo leaves (washed thoroughly and boiled for 15 minutes to soften)
  • 5 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 10 pieces pandan leaves (knotted)
  • Reed or Banana stem reed to tie

Seasoning

  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons dark soya sauce
  • 4 tablespoons coriander powder (ketumbar)
  • Liberal dashes of white pepper powder

Method
Heat 2 tablespoons cooking oil in wok and fry 1/2 the garlic and shallots till aromatic. Add glutinous rice, 1 tablespoon of dark soya sauce, 1 tablespoon of ketumbar and 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper powder. Stir well. Remove and leave to cool.

Heat up 3 tablespoons of cooking oil in wok and fry the other half of garlic and shallots till aromatic. Add dried prawns and stir till aromatic. Next, add mushrooms and pork. Stir well followed by adding of winter melon and seasoning to taste. Stir till even and pork is cooked. Set aside to cool.

Wrap the Bak Changs. Bring to boil a large pot of water and throw in the pandan leaves. Boil Bak Chang for 3 hours completely submerged and covered. For best results, use a charcoal stove. For quick cooking, use a pressure cooker and boil for approximately 45 minutes on pressure and 15 minutes standing.

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Comments

  1. 1
    Crunchasarus Rex
    June 17th, 2008 at 8:02 am

    Now if only can can find all the leaves.. :)

  2. 2
    Pureglutton
    June 17th, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    OK…i will certainly try out this recipe. Making nyonya bakchangs is certainly easier and faster than the cantonese ones :-)

  3. 3
    sharon
    June 18th, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    Came by via Foodgawker. This was my absolute favorite growing up and I haven’t had it in years. Reminds me I need to go visit my mom for a taste :)

  4. 4
    pablopabla
    June 19th, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    Rex : Want some? I can source and ship them to you :D

    Pureglutton : Really? I haven’t tried making Cantonese Bak Chang but I don’t think I would because personally, I prefer the taste of this type of Bak Chang. :D

    Sharon : Welcome to my kitchen here :D Is your mum making bak chang this year?

  5. 5
    beeanna
    June 20th, 2008 at 8:13 am

    Thank you for a great site. I appreciate all the recipes you posted, especially this Bak Chang recipe. I am a Chinese Malaysian living in the U.S. at the moment.
    More thanks!

  6. 6
    molly
    June 21st, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Wow, that is my favourite. When I was young, I could take that for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Is hard to find nice ‘bak chang’ and I dont know how long needed to boil it so have not tried to make it. Now that I know is 3 hours, I will definite give it a try, thanks for the recipe.
    Have a wonderful day!

  7. 7
    noobcook
    June 23rd, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    Yummy. Nice photography ;)

  8. 8
    Rasa Malaysia
    June 27th, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    Oooh, how I miss chang, so many different kinds of chang. Your photos are getting better. Congrats. :)

  9. 9
    mycookinghut
    July 3rd, 2008 at 2:31 am

    Haven’t had bak chang for a while now… I like to have it with a bit of Maggi chili sauce.

  10. 10
    pablopabla
    July 4th, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    beanna : Are you able to get any over there?

    molly : Don’t forget to let me know how it turned out after you’ve tried your hands making them!

    noobcook : You flatter me ;)

    Rasa Malaysia : I still need to learn from you on food photography ;)

    mycookinghut : Wah! With Maggi chilli sauce? That must have added a nice sour twist to it.

  11. 11
    fortesfidelis
    July 25th, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Thanks for posting this. I have always been wondering how bak chang is made. While it taste good, I’m sure there is a lot of work involve in it.

  12. 12
    pablopabla
    July 27th, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    fortesfidelis : It’s a lot of work, believe me!

  13. 14
    Kingy
    October 12th, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Hi, from your picture, do you actually wrap a piece of Pandan leaf in your Bak Chang? Looks good by the way!

  14. 15
    LeAnne
    November 26th, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your recipes…it has made my day cos I have always wanted to learn to make Bak Chang. Used to have it alot when I was back home in Singapore but not since I moved to Australia. Cant wait to try to cook it.
    Once again thank you…will let you know how it turned out :)

  15. 16
    pablopabla
    December 3rd, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Kingy : Yes, a small piece of pandan leaf is inserted during the wrapping process. See the video on how to wrap bak chang.

    LeAnne : Hope you can get all the necessary ingredients to give this a try.

  16. 17
    chumpman
    December 22nd, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    This recipe reminded me a lot of my childhood. I grew up with bak chang, LOL ! My ah mah can make really good bak chang both sweetened and salty.

  17. 18
    cristine
    March 18th, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    Good day! My name is Cristine Libres from the University of the Philippines High School Cebu. Me and my fellow batch mates have a project which is also an entry for the Cyberfair 2009. Our topic for the project is puso. The photos in your site where there is Bak Chang caught our attention. May we please use some of your gathered pictures in our site? It would be a great help to our project if you allowed us to. Thank You.

  18. 19
    pablopabla
    April 13th, 2009 at 10:05 am

    Hi Cristine,
    Thank you for your interest. You may use not more than 3 photos from this site provided you provide the credits / link back to this site. Do let me know when you have done so. Thank you.

  19. 20
    housewifewanabe
    May 20th, 2009 at 10:35 am

    hi

    as duan wu jie approaches this yr, i am thinking of trying my hand at making bak zhang. i have a silly question if u don’t mind, can the glutinous rice be cooked in an electric rice cooker? or must it be steamed?

  20. 21
    pablopabla
    May 20th, 2009 at 10:41 am

    housewifewannabe : Hi! The glutinous rice is cooked in the bamboo leaves itself by way of boiling. It is not pre-cooked before hand in a rice cooker. Prior to wrapping, it is given a quick stirfry with seasoning so that it tastes better.

  21. 22
    minchu
    May 24th, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Hey~ wah~ hokkien!!! YAY!
    bak chang chia ho chiak! my family also make them.
    Do you happen to know why? like what’s the reason?

  22. 23
    Juniar
    June 1st, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Hey :) I’ve been trying to nag my mom about the history of Bak Chang…wasn’t it originally from Indonesia? O.o Since the name of it and most of the methods used such as “agak-agak” are Indonesian words. Bak meaning meat and chang…don’t remember >>”
    But please e-mail me. My friends want to know and so do I.

  23. 24
    Juniar
    June 1st, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    oh wait…not Indonesian…Fukianese? Hokian right? I don’t remember but I speak the language :)

  24. 25
    go kim keen
    June 10th, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    u can also add 2 tbsp of tow cheow which will taste more delicious, it’s Melaka stype

  25. 26
    pablopabla
    June 15th, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Go Kim Keen : Yes, I have heard about adding the tau cheo into the ingredients. A friend from Melaka shared that with me :)

  26. 27
    leo28888
    June 16th, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Hi pablopabla, my goodness, I am really excited that I have only now stumbled upon your recipes. I have been trying to learn the art of making “Bak Chang”, great memories of Mum’s homemade “Bak Chang” back in Malaysia.
    thank you for sharing your cooking passion.

  27. 28
    rmcheah02
    June 27th, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    hmmm, attempted the bak chang today. Don’t know why the rice didnt have any taste? Do you know where i went wrong?

  28. 29
    pablopabla
    June 30th, 2010 at 10:22 am

    rmcheah02 : You might want to increase the seasoning for the rice – eg. add more soya sauce / salt.

  29. 30
    Sonia
    July 12th, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Hi – I tried your recipe but modified to use chicken as I don’t take pork. It was delicious! Now I have bought a pressure cooker so that it can be cooked even faster. May I know if I should totally cover the changs with water? I have not used pressure cooker before, and have seen instructions that say you only need to cover partially e.g. when boiling potatoes. please advise and tks again for your great recipe!

  30. 31
    pablopabla
    July 13th, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Sonia : Yes, you will need to cover the bak chang completely in water before closing the pressure cooker lid. Make sure you don’t exceed the water level of the pressure cooker and reduce the cooking time.

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