Thursday, 10 June 2010

Making Bak Chang... is Harder than Giving Birth...

I had earlier posted on how I was about to learn to make a traditional Chinese food. So, in this post, I will reveal what I'm actually learning to make... As stated in the post title, I'm making what we called 'Bak Chang' or Chinese pork dumplings (pronounced as 'Park Chunk').
I had to bug my MIL into teaching me as well so that I can learn and inherit the recipe and she can pass down the recipe to me (hubby's KPI for me is to learn one of his mum's famous dishes :P) 

Anyway, my MIL has not been making Bak Changs for more than 6 years, ever since her husband passed away, she had stopped making them... so to see her finally be making this is an absolutely good news and a delight to all of us! My hubby is already drooling and posting up updates in his Facebook profile and even dedicated Bryan Adam's "Heaven" song to his Bak Changs... which he will be devouring after we cooked it... hahahaha... yes, you read that right... a song dedication to HIS Bak Changs... :P

Now, a little bit of info on 'Bak Chang'... according to Wikipedia:
"is a traditional Chinese food, made of glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves. They are cooked by steaming or boiling."

MIL was being very sneaky and quiet! She started making and cooking the ingredients without telling me! Arghhh!! Anyway, I managed to snap some shots of it:
Picture above is glutinous rice being fried by MIL. The glutinous rice had been washed, pre-soaked overnight and drained before she lightly fried it so that it tastes better.
Picture above is pork, cut into small cubes about half to 1 inch sizes, and also slices of mushrooms (pre-soaked until soft and cut into slices about 1 inch long). According to my MIL, she cooked the pork and mushroom together, adding this special spices/herbs (Chinese called it 'Em Heong Fun' or '5 spice powder') add a pinch of salt and sugar and a bit of chicken stock.
This is what we need to make Bak Changs. The glutinous rice, banana stem reed to tie, pork and mushrooms, chestnuts, mung beans and not shown in this photo is the bamboo leaves (which has been washed thoroughly and boiled for few minutes to soften them for wrapping)
Here's another shot of the ingredients needed to make Bak Changs. I was so worried that my MIL will chickened out and not teach me how to wrap Bak Changs that I quickly stuff a few more spoons into each pots so that I'm kinda like hinting 'I want to learn! I want to learn!!'  :P 

Anyway, for this round, MIL told me that she will teach me how to wrap a Bak Chang. Once I mastered the skill of wrapping the Bak Chang, then next time I can learn how to make and cook the ingredients. Sigh... I guess, better than nothing right? 

So, she taught me how to fold the bamboo leaves, stuff the fillings, wrap and tie the Bak Chang using the banana stem reed. I had to practice wrapping without fillings for at least 10 times before she allows me to put in the fillings! Sorry no pictures on the process of doing this, maybe next time OK?  ;D
And here it is, ladies and gentlemen... my first work of art!
My FIRST Bak Chang that I WRAPPED!!! 
I could almost cried... it felt like giving birth all over again!! :P 

Noticed how paranoid I am that the rice might spill out... that I actually cross tied it at every possible angle so that the rice doesn't have any chance to even spill out?! Hahaha... While I was happily and proudly snapping picture of my FIRST wrapped Bak Chang, I looked right to my MIL's direction and I saw this...
Oh wow... She had wrapped 6 Bak Changs already! Garrrrhhhhh....!!! Oh well, can't complain, after all she had years of experience in making Bak Changs and this is my first attempt OK?!!!
The outcome... after boiling for about 3 hours plus..
Here's another batch of the bak changs. Altogether we made 43 Bak Changs! Not bad, not bad!! We will be distributing them to MIL's children and relatives these few days. I'm also going to be giving some to some of my ex-colleagues who used to help me a lot when I was working at my previous company.

So yeah, back to the post title on why am I saying making a Bak Chang is harder than giving birth? Well, for one, I don't have a 15 months old toddler disturbing me every few seconds while I'm trying hard to learn how to make it! You have no idea how difficult it is to entertain and keep a 15 months old toddler busy so that he stops disturbing you every now and then... Also I spent 2 hours wrapping 10 smaller sized Bak Changs (while my MIL made over 30 of them) compared to me going from 4cm to 10cm under 2 hours...

So there you go... my first traditional Chinese food... By the way, it was super delicious!!!  :D



Supermanslady said...

Those look and sound delicious!!! :-) I'm so glad you got learn through her. can't wait to hear more about your "lesson"!

RoseBelle said...

When I used to live with my MIL, I watched her make bak chang only once and boy, was it very laborious! But definitely not harder than giving birth. LOL! I would love to learn how to make these dumplings, it's been on my mind a lot lately.

Annie said...

Oh wow, it looks delicious!!!

pt1225 said...

I already had my Bak Chang this year, coz my mum comes visiting and bring along some Bak Chang for us.. yeah!

Though I know how to make Bak Chang, I only made 2 or 3 times Bak Chang by myself. Lazy, I find it's really tedious, with all that preparing, wrapping and cooking ... :p

Btw, Happy Tuen Ng (Dragon Boat Festival) to you and your family!


cheri said...

for me, part of the bak chang experience is trying to unravel the back chang without tearing up the leaves. making it is a labor of love, with all the cooking and wrapping...

last time i ate one was years ago, with some chinese friends made it for us. i ate it on the bus on the way home, it was so handy :)

I'm a full-time mummy said...

Hi Katie!
My MIL said we're going to make another batch next week... Muahahahah!!!

Hi RoseBelle!
Yeah, making it is very tedious! Thank God I'm only helping out with the wrapping this time! :P

Hi Annie!
Thanks for dropping by, and yes, it was delicious! :)

Hey Pauline!
Thanks for the festivity wish! Same to you & family! :D

Hey Cheri!
I don't have the patience to slowly peel the bamboo leaves.. the aroma of it makes us tear it up ASAP so that we can devour it ASAP! :P


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