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It's a wrap: Easy DIY dumplings

Stumped by the wrapping technique for pyramid-shaped bak chang? Try these easy lotus leaf glutinous rice parcels instead

Hedy Khoo on 21 Jun 2020

The Straits Times


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Are you craving homemade rice dumplings, but stumped by how to wrap the pyramid-shaped bak chang?


Unless you are an origami artist, folding the dumpling the traditional way requires way too much patience and practice.


I recommend a more practical and less time-consuming method - just fold the lotus leaf over the dumpling like you would a parcel.


Save your effort for the glutinous rice dumplings, which take a fair amount of work to put together.


To help you out, I have organised the ingredients and steps into different parts.


For starters, give yourself a day to make the dumplings. I suggest preparing the braised pork a day ahead, which allows more time for the pork to steep in the aromatic braising sauce and become even more flavourful.


Using both lotus and bamboo leaves also imparts a delicate, tea-like flavour and aroma to the filling.


I love salty mung bean paste, which I can never get enough of in store-bought dumplings. So for my homemade version, I add a generous amount to each parcel.


Feel free to add or remove ingredients according to your preference.


When assembling the dumplings, you can also place the braised pork at the bottom of the rice bowl so that it glistens on top when you tear open the dumpling.


After using up the braised pork for the filling, save the braising sauce to stew a fresh batch of pork or chicken for another meal. Filter the sauce and discard the braising ingredients, then store in a freezer-friendly container.


The Dragon Boat Festival falls on Thursday. If you are visiting your loved ones, these handmade dumplings will make welcome gifts.


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  • 6 whole lotus leaves
  • 24 dried bamboo leaves
  • 12 salted egg yolks, halved
  • 12 dried reed strings




1. Bring a wok of water to a boil.


2. Blanch the lotus leaves for 3 minutes until softened. Remove from the wok.


3. Add the dried bamboo leaves and blanch for 2 minutes until they are soft. Remove from the wok. Turn off the heat and discard the water.


4. Rinse the lotus and bamboo leaves and dry with a piece of cloth.


5. Cut each lotus leaf into quarters.


6. Trim the ends of the bamboo leaves.




  • 1kg glutinous rice, rinsed and soaked for three hours
  • 1 Tbs salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1½ tsp five spice powder
  • 2 Tbs fish sauce
  • 4 Tbs sesame oil
  • 120ml water




1. Place the glutinous rice in a bowl.


2. Add the salt, sugar, five spice powder, fish sauce, sesame oil and water. Mix well.


3. Steam the rice for an hour.




  • 600g split mung beans, rinsed and soaked for three hours
  • 250ml water, divided
  • 1 flat tsp sugar
  • 2 flat tsp salt
  • 70ml oil




1. Place the split mung beans in a deep heat-proof bowl.


2. Add 100ml of water and steam for 40 minutes.


3. Turn off the heat and transfer the cooked beans to a mixing bowl.


4. Add sugar and salt. Mix and mash the beans.


5. Add the oil and mash.


6. Add the remaining 150ml of water and mash into a paste. The paste does not have to be totally smooth.




  • 880g pork collar, cut into 3.5cm by 3.5cm pieces
  • 68g rock sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1½ star anise
  • 8 cloves
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 1 piece of dried Mandarin orange peel (1g)
  • 1 tsp white peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 6 whole garlic cloves (37g), lightly bruised
  • 23g galangal, lightly bruised
  • 15g ginger, lightly bruised
  • 600ml water
  • 1 tsp five spice powder
  • 1 Tbs light soya sauce
  • 4 Tbs dark soya sauce
  • 19g spring onion
  • 15g fresh coriander
  • 3 flat tsp salt




1. Blanch the pork to remove impurities and leftover blood. Rinse and set aside.


2. In a claypot, over low heat, add the rock sugar and allow it to caramelise. Add the cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves, green cardamom pods, black cardamom pods, dried Mandarin orange peel, white peppercorns and bay leaves. Heat for 30 seconds and add the blanched pork. Stir-fry for 30 seconds.


3. Add the garlic cloves, galangal and ginger.


4. Add the water, five spice powder, light soya sauce, dark soya sauce, spring onion, fresh coriander and salt.


5. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 50 minutes. Set aside.




  • 1 litre water
  • 24 raw shelled chestnuts (168g)




1. Bring the water to a boil in a pot.


2. Place the chestnuts in the pot and boil over medium-low heat for 40 minutes.


3. Remove from the pot and discard the water. Rinse the chestnuts. 4. Remove any remaining bits of skin on the chestnuts. Set aside.




  • 4 Tbs cooking oil
  • 4 garlic cloves (24g), chopped
  • 12 shallots (200g), sliced
  • 8 dried shiitake mushrooms (54g), soaked in hot water until softened then sliced
  • 100g dried prawns, soaked
  • 80g dried baby scallops, soaked
  • 1/8 tsp ground white pepper




1. Heat the oil over high heat. Fry the garlic and shallots for 45 seconds.


2. Add the mushrooms and fry for 2 minutes over medium-low heat.


3. Add the dried prawns and fry for 45 seconds.


4. Add the dried baby scallops and fry for 1 minute.


5. Add the ground white pepper and fry for another minute.


6. Turn off the heat and set aside.




1. On a flat surface, take two quarters of lotus leaf and place one piece on top of the other.


2. Place two bamboo leaves on top, slightly overlapping each other, in the middle of the lotus leaves.


3. In a small rice bowl, place two salted egg yolk halves, with the sliced sides facing up, and a chestnut.


4. Add 4 Tbs of mung bean paste and a chestnut.


5. Add three to four pieces of braised pork.


6. Add 2 Tbs of the shiitake, dried prawns and scallops.


7. Top with about 150g of glutinous rice.


8. Overturn the bowl of rice in the centre of the lotus and bamboo leaves.


9. Fold the sides over to form a parcel and secure with reed string.


10. Do the same for each dumpling.


11. Steam the lotus leaf rice dumplings for two hours and 15 minutes. Serve hot.


12. To keep the dumplings, allow to cool and place in a resealable bag or airtight container. Keep refrigerated for up to five days.


13. To reheat, take out of the fridge for 15 minutes and steam for 15 to 20 minutes.


Makes 12 dumplings. Each dumpling serves two.


Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.



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