Bakcang… Zongzi… Chinese Tamale… Part II

The preparation to make the salty Bakcang is the same with the sweet Bakcang.  The only additional steps would be the preparation for the fillings.  Since my mom’s ancestor came from the Southern part of China (Guang Dong province), her filling consists of pork, mushroom, dried shrimp, and dried chestnut.

In addition to researching online for this blog, I talked to my college friend, Lisa, who is from Taiwan, about the making of and the history of Bakcang.  When I mentioned to her what my mom used for the filling, she commented that her mom did not use dried chestnut.  She added that usually southern Chinese use the chestnut, not the northern Chinese.

So, the same deal went on with this Bakcang. You wash and soak the glutinous rice overnight.

Then, on the same day you make the Bakcang, soak your dried Chinese mushrooms.  The number of the mushroom you use depends on the number of Bakcang you plan on making. If you really like mushroom, then you can add some more.

Isn’t it this mushroom really pretty??

Oh, you also need to heat up a mixture of pork and chicken broth.

This is the dried chestnut.  For my whole life, I only know the name of this thing in Chinese mandarin.  Not until Lisa told me that it was dried chestnut did I know what it really was… ha ha..  You can see that there are still some skin stuck in between the chestnut’s groove. We used the point of a knife to remove the skin completely.  After that, then you soak the chestnut for an hour or so before you start cooking your filing.

These are dried shrimps.  They look small right?  Actually this batch was bigger than what I used to see when I was younger.  This was about a little bit over 1 cm long.

The same deal was done with the dried shrimp, you soaked it in water for an hour or so.

This is my mom’s cook book. Too bad my reading skill in Chinese is really bad. I will have to ask Lisa to translate it for me…

This is how the mushroom looked like after half an hour.  Fat, yummy, mushrooms. 🙂 Mushrooms make me happy.. ha ha…

Don’t forget to drain your rice and make sure you get rid of the excess water.

The mushroom was cut up into pieces.  The chunkier the better for me.  I love mushroom. 🙂

You also need chopped/minced garlic.  The helper was new in the kitchen, that’s why the garlic was in pretty big chunks rather than minced.  Had I not been busy taking pictures, I would have been happy to mince some garlic!

Also need lots of shallots.

Cut up your pork…

Now then, after you get all your ingredients ready, heat up some oil in a wok.

Dump in your garlic, stir fry it until fragrant.

Then throw in the drained, soaked, dried shrimps.

Cook the shrimps until they ares fragrant and set it aside.  See how it shrank?  The outcome was really small.

Then add some more oil in the wok, and stir fry your shallot.

Once your shallot starts browning and is fragrant, throw the cut-up pork in it.

In the mushroom and the shrimp.

And some broth.

These are the sauces involved in making this Bakcang.  The right one is Saos Raja Rasa by KKK, Soy Manufacturer Kenarie, in Surabaya.  The KKK sauce is soy sauce with spices added to it.  I cannot find the company’s website, but I found some info on this forum.
The bottle on the left is rice wine.

Put in 2 tablespoons of the KKK sauce.

Put in 2 tablespoons of the rice wine.

Add in white pepper (not in picture) and broth, and stir it around.  Adjust the taste as necessary.

Cook the mixture until most of the broth is gone and set it aside.

Add more oil in the same wok and stir fry some more garlic.

This is my mom studying her cook book.  She’s like me, I have to re-read the recipe during cooking.  🙂  Like mother, like daughter eh?

Then, after the garlic is fragrant, dump in the glutinous rice and stir it frequently.  You don’t want the rice to get stuck in the wok and get burned.

Add in some broth and stir the rice around.

Cook it until the rice starts getting sticky and then put the rice into a pan.

So now we got both the rice and filling done, we were ready to rock and roll!  My mom started by making the cone shape with the bamboo leaves.

Then she scooped a couple of spoonfuls of rice into the cone, and made an indentation on the rice inside the cone.

She put in a piece of the cut up mushroom… yummy!  I love mushroom… oh, did I tell you that already?

Then a piece of the chestnut.

She added the pork and made sure that some shrimp got in it too.  (Sorry, no picture! She was too fast for me and she wasn’t waiting for me forever.  She got to get this thing going, otherwise she would have been up all night waiting for the Bakcang to cook.)

Then she covered it up with additional rice on top.

And the wrapping began.

And the tying…

And voila! One Bakcang ready!

When all was said and done, then she trimmed off the excess bamboo leaves that jutted out (I mentioned this on my first post about the sweet Bakcang).

See how neat it was?

Voila!! All done!

Now the boiling of the Bakcang begins.  Four hours to go.  (Sounds like the Iron Chef show eh? Ha ha… :D)

Don’t forget to cover it up…

This is the final product, after the bamboo leaves were unwrapped.

You can see the inside of the Bakcang… One bakcang was very filling.  I could only eat one that day.  My hubby ate two though, but he is bigger than me…

So, that’s how we made the salty Bakcang.  I don’t know if I would ever make it myself here.  No one would eat it other than the two of us, and you cannot make just 2 Bakcang, for the amount of time involved here.  So, we will see.  If I ever make it myself here, I will be sure to post it here!  🙂  Enjoy!

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11 Responses to Bakcang… Zongzi… Chinese Tamale… Part II

  1. Lisa Jan says:

    Very detailed. Yummy! Good job, Ann!
    Instead of red nylon string, I’d recommend using a wooven thread. Maybe we can do it next year or a year after on May 5th in Lunar calendar when my kids are bigger so they won’t stir up our ingredients and rice!
    PS. Are you sure to water boil Bakcang for 4 hours?


    • axokuaci says:

      Thanks Lisa!! 🙂 Sure we can do it at your house. Where are we putting the nail down? ha ha… We can have Russell as the photographer so we can wrap it and finish quicker. Well, when I thought about the 4 hours boiling, I thought that was a little excessive. But you know how older parents are, if that was they way they did it 20 years ago, they would do the same now. So I didn’t say anything to my mom. I did see some blogs that said they boil theirs for 2-3 hours. How long did your mom boil hers?


  2. Lisa Jan says:

    I think she did it in 2.5 hours if I’m not mistaken. That was in my kitchen back in 2008. But I was pregnant with Austin, so you can’t trust the memory of a pregnant woman….haha….


  3. Indi says:

    Wow.. it is amazing how you post the detail of bakcang making. Your mom is a truly chef( I wish I could meet her someday). Really cool blog, I enjoy looking at it. Keep on posting new food 🙂


    • axokuaci says:

      Thanks Indi! 🙂 I’ll be sure to keep posting new food that we enjoy and taste good. Maybe one day we all will be in East Java together, and you can meet my mom 🙂


  4. By seeing the saos raja rasa, I’m pretty sure you are from East Java. I only saw that sauce when I still resided in Sidoarjo.


  5. Lilies says:

    An, looking at your photos makes me want to eat it …….and thinking of making it one day….


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