Not sure how to wrap bak chang? Learn how to make Chinese sticky rice dumplings without all the fuss of wrapping and long cooking time. The bak chang can be cooked in a pressure cooker to save time or cooked in the steamer.
This no-wrap easy pressure cooker zongzi (sticky rice dumplings) is for those of you who have been craving the taste of traditional zongzi but do not want to go through the hassle of wrapping and the long cooking time. Yup! That’s me this year! I made the traditional zongzi last year and the year before that. This year with all the DIY projects, I simply don’t have the time for that!
I talked at length about the story behind the tradition of eating zongzi and the dragon boat festival. It’s one of the celebrations I look forward to every year. I love to eat zongzi, but this year I couldn’t be bothered to do the wrapping and long cooking time. I guess it’s also the fact that I have Instant pot and I want to try the instant pot version 🙂
WHY THE BAK CHANG IS MUCH DARKER IN COLOR?
The zongzi I made here is more of the Indonesian Chinese version, where the sticky rice picks up the color from the dark soy sauce. I know the Chinese version is much lighter in color. You can omit the dark soy sauce if you want to.
HOW TO MAKE NO-WRAP STICKY RICE DUMPLING (BAK CHANG)
1. COOK THE MEAT FILLING
Preheat the wok or skillet. Add 1 Tbsp of cooking oil and stir fry the garlic for about 10 seconds and dried shrimp until fragrant. Add meat and its marinade and continue to stir fry until they change color
Add mushrooms and chestnuts and cook until the meat is cooked through
Add the Chinese sausage in and give it a stir for another minute. Turn off the heat
2. PREPARE THE RICE
No-soaking necessary if you plan to cook in pressure cooker. If you plan to steam on the stove, soak the rice for at least 4 hours. Stir fry garlic until fragrant and then add the rice and seasonings
Add the liquid
Lower the heat to medium and continue to stir fry until glutinous rice absorbs the liquid
3. ASSEMBLE RICE + MEAT FILLING
Line the container you are going to use to cook the rice with bamboo leaves, overlapping to cover the base and the side. If you don’t want to use bamboo leaves you can use parchment paper, or lightly brush the container you use to cook the sticky rice in, with cooking oil all over
Cover the base with 1/2 of the rice, pack it down and smooth with the back of a spoon or spatula
Layer with 1/2 of the meat filling
Top with the rest of the rice
Finish off with the rest of the meat filling
Pressure cook on high for 30 minutes (if you use thicker pan/container, you may need to add another 10-15 minutes)
or steam for 1 hour or until the rice grains are soft and sticky
And there you have it!!! I can easily lift up the rice by just pulling the bamboo leaves 🙂 and then trim it off before serving.
TIPS ON HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY MAKE GOOD TASTING NO WRAP BAK CHANG
1. Marinade the meat
This step is to ensure the meat gets maximum flavor. I recommend to marinate it for at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours
2. Use meat with fat
Zongzi is not one of the food that you want to use lean meat. The fat rendered from the meat will flavor up the zongzi nicely. The pork belly and Chinese sausage in this recipe do exactly that
3. Save the liquid from soaking the mushrooms
The liquid from soaking the dried shiitake mushrooms will add an extra boost of umami flavor to your zongzi
4. Stir fry the ingredients
It’s probably easier to just dump everything in the pot, but stir frying it really elevates the flavor to the next level
5. The pan you use to steam
I highly recommend that you use a container or pan with about 3 inches in depth and conduct heat easily such as stainless steel or aluminum. Avoid using glass or casserole dish as it will take longer for the rice to cook through
WHY I LOVE PRESSURE COOKER TO MAKE THIS NO WRAP BAK CHANG
I love the convenience. There is no soaking of rice necessary and the cooking time is so much shorter compared to the traditional way of boiling it for 2-3 hours or longer!! I only need to pressure cook it for 30 minutes! Are you onboard yet?
CAN I USE BAMBOO STEAMER TO COOK?
Yes, you can line the bamboo steamer with bamboo leaves (or parchment paper if you don’t have any).
My husband was very impressed with the taste. He said it tasted like traditional zongzi, minus the bamboo leaves wraps. Even the kids found this version very yummy!
For baking/ kueh making: I highly encourage to weigh ingredients with a digital kitchen scale instead of using measuring cups as they are not very accurate especially when it comes to recipe that requires precision.GRAMS TO CUPS CONVERSION (UNSIFTED)
For the rice:
- 2 cups glutinous rice / sweet rice / sticky rice - about 400 grams, rinse with water and drain off water
- 2 1/4 cups liquid from soaking mushrooms - about 525 grams
- 6 cloves garlic - finely minced
- 2 Tbsp Cooking oil
- 5 cloves garlic - finely minced
- 25 gr dried shrimp - soaked and drained off water
- 800 gr pork belly or boneless skinless chicken thighs - dice into small pieces
- 5 shitake mushrooms - soak and keep water and slice into 1/2-inch strips
- 2 Chinese sausages - cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 6 salted egg yolks - cut into 12 small pieces, optional- I didn't use them this time
- 1 Tbsp cooking oil
Marinade for meat:
Seasonings for rice:
You will also need:
- 4 -6 bamboo leaves
Things to do the day before-Marinade the meat & soak bamboo leaves (if using):
- Dice the meat into small pieces, about 1/2-inch (about 1 cm) pieces and the pour the marinade ingredients over and marinade for at least 4 hours or overnight
- Soak the bamboo leaves in water. Weigh it down with a heavy bowl or pan so the leaves won't float. Discard the soaking water the next day and rinse them clean and they are ready to be used
Cook the filling:
- Preheat the wok or skillet. Add 1 Tbsp of cooking oil and stir fry the garlic for about 10 seconds and dried shrimp until fragrant. Add meat and its marinade and continue to stir fry until they change color
- Add mushrooms and chestnuts and cook until the meat is cooked through. Add the Chinese sausage in and give it a stir for another minute. Turn off the heat
Prepare the rice:
- Wipe the wok/skillet with a paper towel, don't worry if it's not super clean. Heat the wok/skillet again and add another 1 Tbsp of cooking oil. Add garlic and stir fry until fragrant for about 10 seconds
- Add the glutinous rice and the seasonings. Add the liquid (top up with water to make up to 2 1/4 cup if needed) and lower the heat to medium and continue to stir fry until glutinous rice absorbs the liquid
Layer the rice + meat filling:
- Line the container you are going to use to cook the rice with bamboo leaves, overlapping to cover the base and the side. If you don't want to use bamboo leaves, lightly brush the container you use to cook the sticky rice in, with cooking oil all over
- There is no right and wrong to do this, I layer 1/2 of the rice at the bottom and pack it down with the back of the spoon, then top with another 1/2 of the filling, arrange 1/2 of the salted egg yolk pieces (if using) and continue with the rest of the rice and finish off with the rest of the meat topping and salted egg yolk pieces. Gently pack it down again with the back of the spoon This is great if you are not going to do the upside-down look
- If you want the upside-down look, spread half of the filling and salted egg yolks at the bottom of the container you will be pressure cooking the zongzi in, layer with the rice, then layer with the rest of the filling and salted egg yolks and then top with the rest of the rice. Use the back of the spoon to gently but firmly pressing everything down to pack it
- Pour 2 cups of water into the inner pot of instant pot. Place the trivet in there.
- Cover the lid. Turn the steam release valve to seal. Press pressure cooker, high pressure and set the timer to 30 minutes. Wait 10 minutes before releasing pressure
- Wait 10 minutes for it to cool down and then serve
If you cook zongzi in regular steamer:
- If you do not have a pressure cooker and will be steaming in a regular steamer, make sure you soak the glutinous rice for at least 4 hours or overnight if you have the time. Then drain off water and follow the rest of the instruction and steam for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or longer until the sticky rice is cooked through and soft
Storing and reheating:
- Leftover can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and then reheat in the microwave or steamer. You can store them in freezer for up to 3 months and reheat without thawing in microwave or steamer
You also need to check out this quick method for making salted eggs. I like to use this method because I can use the egg whites for other things and the salted egg yolks for this recipe any many other recipes calling for salted egg yolks.