Rice dumplings ready to steam

How to Make Nyonya Bak Chang

One of the many benefits of being an expat living with my local in-laws is that I get exposed to more traditional and cultural dishes than I would ever encounter on my own. I enjoy trying new foods, but it’s hard to try foods when I don’t even know they exist. Thankfully, my mother-in-law and I seem to have similar tastes so she introduces me to all kinds of local foods, I wouldn’t think to try.

You’ll find sticky rice dumplings with some sort of meat filling through out Aisa. In Japan, you’ll see onigiri which is typically wrapped in seaweed sold at convenience stores throughout the country. Vietnam has various-shaped rice dumplings, often wrapped in a banana leaf. Thailand and the Philippines also have something similar. These dumplings are filling, easy to take with you and very tasty.

Blue Pea Flower
Blue Pea or Butterfly Pea flower growing in our garden

Here in Singapore we have the Nyonya bak chang or Nyonya dumpling. It is tetrahedron-shaped, wrapped in large pandan leaves or bamboo leaves filled with sticky rice and a sweet/savory meat filling similar in taste to that in a barbecue pork bun. I’ve come to associate it as a breakfast food although, I don’t know that there is really a specific time to eat it. It is characterized by having both white rice and blue rice, dyed naturally with dried blue pea flowers.

A couple of weeks ago, my mother-in-law was inspired to make her own Nyonya dumplings and to show her grandchildren how to wrap them. It’s a bit tricky but we had fun and they tasted great, so good that I forgot to take a picture!

Check out the video below for our lesson!

Learning to wrap Nyonya bak chang

Try Them

Kim Choo Kueh Chang, 60 Joo Chiat Pl, Singapore 427784

If you want to try your hand at making them, I would check out the recipe at Nyonya Cooking.

Drop me a line if you have a chance to try these delicious dumplings or if you try making them. I’d love to hear what you think!

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    • Julia

      They are so yummy! The blue pea just adds color but doesn’t change the taste at all but if you don’t have it, I think it’s just a Hokkien-style bak chang which I posted at the end of the video because we ate up the ones with the blue pea before I could take a picture. 🙂

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