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Friday, May 30, 2014

Kiam Bak Chang [Savoury Rice Dumplings]

Kiam Bak Changs [savoury pork belly rice dumpling] are the most popular of all the  other rice dumplings in my family.    Although, I have made rice dumplings [see earlier post] with different flavours and ingredients, they are not as popular as this Kiam Bak Chang probably because the fillings have more ingredients and we are more used to its flavour.   It is not that others aren't good, all have their own unique taste and flavour.  It's more to familiarity.
Ingredients - Dumpling Filling
15 pieces dried mushrooms - soaked, washed and drained - halved
20-25 dried chestnuts - soak with 1/2 tsp alkaline water with some water for 15 minutes.  Blanch with boiling water for 15 minutes then boil for 15 minutes.  Drain and set aside
50 gm dried prawns - rinsed and drained
12 salted egg yolks, stir fried for a minute - halved
2 tbsp each of oil, chopped garlic and slice shallots [I used 6 shallots]
500-600 gm fatty pork belly - cut into 20-25 big pieces
Marinade for Meat
2 tbsp each of Chinese 5 spice powder, sugar, oyster sauce and dark soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Marinate pork pieces with seasoning for several hours in the fridge.
  2. Heat oil and fry chopped garlic and shallots until aromatic and brown.
  3. Add in marinated pork belly and dried mushrooms.  Stir fry for 5 minutes until all the ingredients are well coated with seasoning.  Add in dried prawns and chestnuts.  Stir to mix well.  Dish up and set aside.
Note: This filling can be prepared a day ahead.
Ingredients - Rice
[makes about 20-23 dumplings]
1 kg glutinous rice, soaked for 4 hours or overnight and drained
2 tbsp each of oil, chopped garlic and sliced shallots [I used 6 shallots]
1 tbsp 5 spice powder, dark soy sauce and salt
1 tbsp light soy sauce1 tsp pepper
  1. Heat up oil, saute chopped garlic and sliced shallots until golden and crispy.
  2. Add in the rice and seasoning.  Off heat.  Stir fry to mix well the seasoning and rice.  Turn on the fire and fry for 3-4 minutes or until the rice is well mixed with the seasoning.
  3. Dish up and leave aside.
Wrapping Dumplings
about 46 pieces of  bamboo leaves [I used 11 cm leaves] - soaked and washed, then wipe dry, set aside
hemp strings enough to tie 20-23 dumplings
  • Using  2 pieces of bamboo leaves to fold into a cone.  Scoop some rice into the cone [I used about 1  tablespoon], place 1 piece pork belly, chestnuts, salted egg yolk and mushroom.  Cover with about 1 - 1 1/2 tbsp rice [depending on the size of chang you wish to make]. 

  • Press the rice firm, cover it with the extended ends of bamboo leaves and form into a pyramid [chang] shape.  Tie and secure it with the hemp string.
  • Finish doing the same for the rest of ingredients.  Trim the edges of the bamboo leaves and excess strings. 
  • Place the changs in a big pot.  Pour water  enough to cover them.  Bring to boil and cook for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until the rice dumplings are cooked.  Add more boiling water should the to water is reduced below the changs.
  • Remove from water and hang dumplings to dry before storing them or serve warm.
    Notes:  Not necessary to bring water to boil before adding dumplings to cook.  Should you have any remaining ingredients without bamboo leaves to wrap - just place all the ingredients [rice and meat] in a can, steam for 40-45 minutes to cook.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dragon Boat Festival 2014 / Duan Wu Jie 2014 / 端午节 2014 [Chinese Rice Dumplings' Festival]



Rice dumplings are eaten by Chinese on the 5th day of the 5th lunar calendar to commemorate the death of statesman-poet Chu Yuan who committed suicide about 2500 years ago.  Chu Yuan was a senior government officer during the Zhou Dynasty before he was framed by an evildoer and exiled by the  King.  His unsuccessful attempts to convince the King of the kingdom's much needed reforms led to his suicide by jumping into the river.  People rowed boats to seek for his body in the river and threw rice-filled bamboos into the river  in the hope that the fishes would eat the rice instead of Chu Yuan's body.
Today, dragon boat racing and the eating of rice dumplings [they are now wrapped in bamboo leaves instead of being stuffed in the bamboo shoots] form the The Dragon Boat Festival, held annually in commemoration of Chu Yuan.
Chinese people from different dialects have their own unique version of rice dumplings, most probably influenced by the differences in background, and hence the taste.
These are the various version of rice dumplings that I have made during this festival.


What You Should Know About
 Rice Dumpling-Making
  • Older rice grains have a springy bite when cooked whilst fresher ones cook to a softer and mushier finish.  Generally, people prefer a more springy bite.
  • When wrapping the dumpling, don't pack it too full or the filling may not be cooked through in the stated time.  For the same reason, don't bind the string too tightly around the dumpling - leave room for it to expand.
  • For perfectly cooked dumplings, always ensure that they are entirely submerged in the water during cooking.  Have boiling water ready to top up the pot should the water level drop enough to reveal the tips of the dumplings.  However, it is best to fill the pot with ample water from the start of cooking to prevent hasty additions of water in the midst of cooking.

Wrapping Chang - Step By Step and Boiling Chang

  • Take 2 pieces of bamboo leaf and align them, one on top of the other.  Holding them with one long side facing you, fold both ends away from you, around and upward, such that the centre of the long side nearest to you becomes the point of a cone, whose back walls are formed by the overlapping ends.

  • Spoon a tablespoon of rice into the cone, then place a chestnut, some pork, a mushroom and a salted egg yolk [if using] on top.
  • Cover the filling with 2 tablespoons of rice.  Make sure the dumpling doesn't feel too full.
  • Fold over the ends of the leaves which are protruding from the back of the cone [the cone's tip is pointing towards the right]....and wrap them round the side.
  • Bind the dumpling with a string by simply looping it round the bak chang twice and securing with a knot.
  • Fill a large pot with enough water to fully immerse the dumplings and bring to a fierce boil over high heat.  Lower the heat to maintain a gentle boil.  Continue cooking for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.  Top up with boiling water if dumplings are not fully immersed in water.  You can cook the dumplings from cold water but must not use cold water for topping water level.
ENJOY ALL THE CHANGS YOU CAN THIS
 DUAN WU JIE FESTIVAL 2014

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Japanese Steamed Cake [Mushi Pan] 蒸しパン

I was attracted to this Japanese steamed cake posted by Agnes [here] then by Zoe [here].  The Mushi Pan looks so lovely and the recipe looks easy and simple.  Agnes and Zoe did mention that we can make these steamed cakes with various flavours such as pandan, matcha, corn, chocolate and with azuki/red-bean flavour.  Best point about this cake is, it can be reheated by steaming before serving - the cake is soft, moist and fluffy.
Mushipan in Japanese means steamed bread but it is more cake-like than bread-like.  
Since each recipe yields only 4 small cakes, I decided to try Agnes's recipe [plain Mushi Pan but modified to coffee flavour] and also Zoe's recipe [basic Mushi Pan and Chocolate Mushi Pan] at the same time.  With the recipes, I managed to make only 12 pieces.

I made 4 coffee flavour, 2 basic, 2 chocolate [forgotten to add chopped chocolate] and 4 marbled Mushi Pan.  For the coffee flavoured Mushi Pan recipe, I will be posting it in another post.
My Mushi Pan didn't crack at all.  Agnes's Mushi Pan cracks beautifully and I felt better when I saw Zoe's didn't crack much.  This means I may not have gone wrong.  Anyway, I will try again with different flavours [see if it can crack] as these Japanese steamed cakes tasted good, soft and moist.



Basic Mushi Pan Ingredients
[makes 4 small cakes]
1 large egg
25 gm castor sugar
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp vegetable oil
75 gm cake flour
1 tsp double action baking powder

  1. Whisk egg and sugar lightly in a mixing bowl, add in milk and oil.  Mix till well combined.
  2. Sieve flour and baking powder into egg mixture and whisk with a hand whisk until batter is smooth [the batter is quite thick].
  3. Spoon batter into cupcake casings until 3/4 full and steam for 15 minutes to cook or until the skewer inserted comes out clean.  I used an electric steamer to steam these cakes.
  4. Turn off the heat and remove cakes to cool.  Serve warm or in room temperature.
Chocolate Mushi Pan Ingredients
[makes 4 small cakes]
1 large egg
25 gm castor sugar
3 tbsp milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
75 gm cake flour
15 gm unsweetened cocoa powder 
1 tsp double action baking powder
30 gm chocolate - roughly chopped [intend to use choc-chips or mint flavoured chocolate but forgotten] - additional ingredients 



  1. Whisk egg and sugar lightly in a mixing bowl, add in milk and oil.  Mix till well combined.
  2. Sieve flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into egg mixture and whisk with a hand whisk until batter is smooth [the batter is quite thick].  Add additional ingredients if using.
  3. Spoon batter into cupcake casings until 3/4 full and steam for 15 minutes to cook or until the skewer inserted comes out clean.  I used an electric steamer to steam these cakes.
  4. Turn off the heat and remove cakes to cool.  Serve warm or in room temperature.


Marbled Mushi Pan [Japanese Steamed Cake]
For the Marbled Mushi Pan, scoop plain and cocoa batter alternately into cupcakes cases, use a skewer to swirl the batter to create the marble effect.




This post is linked to Little Thumbs Up May Event - Milk Theme 
organised by Bake For Happy Kids and My Little Favourite DIY,
Photobucket

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