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!
Easy No-Wrap Sticky Rice Dumplings (Bak Chang / Zongzi)
For the rice:
- 2 cups glutinous rice / sweet rice / sticky rice about 400 grams, rinse with water and drain off water
- 2 ¼ 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:
- 1 Tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp day soy sauce
- ¼ tsp white pepper powder
Seasonings for rice:
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
- ¼ tsp white pepper powder
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.
Hi Marv, where did you buy the container that you use for make bak chang? Also if I want to use rice instead of sticky rice what should I do? Please advice.
Hi Catarina, my mom actually got it for me from Indonesia. There is a similar aluminum container like this that I own now that I really like (I used it to bake sponge cake too) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00004S7YS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=whtocoto-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B00004S7YS&linkId=ba2a817d4fb423f0f2347a3503c7dd56 It can be whatever brand, just showing you the example. It’s excellent for steaming and baking.
If you want to use rice, it will be like cooking regular rice and I would use 1:1 ratio for liquid to rice. So 2 cups rice will be 2 cups water. I hope that makes sense. Let me know if you need more clarification
Thank you for sharing this recipe which my family enjoyed very much! I’ve never made zongzi before but the Instant Pot and not having to wrap make preparations much less daunthing! I have the IP air fryer lid and used the air fryer basket with 5 leaves to cook this dish.
Hi Jenny, the thought of making traditional zongzi with wrap and everything is kinda intimidating I have to admit that. Lots of work too. I’m glad you like this version and it worked out for you 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing your recipe. It was very clear and easy to follow. I just tried the Easy No Wrap version. I steam the rice and it came out soft n just nice. I just find that the meat marinade a tad too salty. I would try to reduce the soy on the rice and meat next round. I also noted the marinade recipe for the No-Wrap and the Wrap version are quite different eg the absence of 5spice powder for the Wrap version.
Hi Tony, thank you for your feedback. You know, my mom usually never put the five-spice powder in bak chang (this is her recipe) and in the no-wrap version (which is kinda my own version LOL) I did add that in because I kinda like the aroma 🙂
I cooked this for 90 minutes in a pressure cooker on high and though the rise was cooked it was not as soft as the boiled version.
Hi Edward, maybe the rice needs an extra liquid. I usually use about 1 1/4 cups for 1 cup of sticky rice with a pressure cooker on high pressure. You can try adding another 1/4 cup and see if that helps to soften it.
Hi! May I ask if you can make a vegetarian variation for this zongzi? Also would it be okay to simply omit the meat? Thanks in advance!
Hi there, of course, you can make a vegetarian zongzi with this same recipe. Simply omit the meat and you can add more mushrooms or also add in things like beancurd or extra firm tofu or black-eyed peas. A friend recently gave me a bak chang with black-eyed peas in it and it’s so tasty 🙂
Hello!! I would like know if you add any water into the rice (like cooking normal rice) or just water in the pot? I am planning to cook this but I don’t have leaves, rice or pressure cooker here. I will used a pot steamer. Thanks in advance!
Hi Michelle, at the “prepare the rice” section in the recipe card, you’ll see “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”. This is the part we add the liquid and then steam. One thing though, if you are making this without a pressure cooker, you need to soak the rice for at least 4 hours or best overnight before cooking, otherwise, the rice will not be soft and you may have to steam for hours. Hope that helps! Let me know if you need clarification
Hi Marvellina, Beautiful recipe. What is traditionally served or recommended to eat with Zongzi?
Hi Mia, traditional savory zongzi like this is usually eaten on its own. They can be eaten as a “snack” or for “tea time”.
How long to reheat frozen zongzi in instant pot? Whenever I’ve tried to reheat the outside steams nicely but the inside is still cold.
I’ve never tried to reheat frozen zongzi in instant pot before (I should now that you mentioned it). I usually just use a regular steamer and steam on high for 10-15 minutes. I’m not sure what setting you use, but you can put the zong zi on the trivet, fill up the inner pot with about 1 cup of water. Close the lid and set on high pressure and set timer to 10 minutes (for small zong zi), for bigger one I would do 15 minutes and release pressure immediately after the timer is done. Hope this helps!
anyway to have the measurements in grams as I might want to make 1/2 of this recipe. thanks!
Hi Jos, I’ve just included grams in the recipe.
I just made this, and the taste is pretty good; i added some peanuts (soaked overnight first). However, the pork belly did not come out like the melt-in-your mouth texture. It seems that the pork would need 90 mins in the Instant Pot on high to do this, but this might make the rice and other ingredients too mushy. Do you have any suggestions for this? Perhaps not cook the pork on the pan, but separately in the Instant Pot for 60 mins first, and then combine with the rest of the ingredients (rice, chinese sausage, mushrooms, etc) for 30 mins? Thanks!
Hi Michael, if you really want the melt-in-the mouth texture, I suggest cooking the pork belly (in whole, not cut) in IP pressure cooked on high for 30-35 minutes and then sliced and combine with the rest to cook again for another 30 minutes. 1 hour total should be tender enough.
Hi Marvellina, isn’t this like Lor Mai Kai? Ellie
Hi Ellie, yes, kind of 🙂