Dumplings Ever After

There are several types of Dumplings ranging from no filling called Kee Chang which one eats with Sugar or Kaya, Kee Chang with Red Bean Paste filling, Kee Chang with Green Bean Paste filling, Vegetarian, Hokkien, Cantonese and Nonya, Organic with Nuts Dumplings made up the better known dumplings.

There are several types of Dumplings ranging from no filling called Kee Chang (chang means dumplings in Hokkien) which one eats with Sugar or Kaya, Kee Chang with Red Bean Paste filling, Kee Chang with Green Bean Paste filling, Vegetarian, Hokkien, Cantonese and Nonya, Organic with Nuts Dumplings made up the better known dumplings.

Hokkien Chang from Maxwell Road Food Centre.

Hokkien Chang from Maxwell Road Food Centre.

The day before was the actual day (12th June 2013) of Dragon Festival or what we locals called Dumpling Festival. As you know by now, Singapore is multi-cultural so when it comes to food, there will be influences from the many dialect groups from the ethnic Chinese. I’ve also seen some Malay version of the dumplings. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to pre-order some Cantonese dumplings from the restaurant and ended up buying Hokkien Bak Chang off the cuff from Maxwell Road Food Centre where I had dinner with 2 friends after our Korean Language Class. The lady ran out of the ones with salted egg yolks and had only 7 pieces left. Bak Chang or Rice Dumplings are normally tied in a bundle of 10. I took all seven of it at the cost of S$3 a piece (the ones with yolk would be S$3.60), mind you this is from a food centre. I gave one to each of my friends there and then and Pete opened it up immediately so we shared one after dinner.

Pete opened his and shared with us.

Pete opened his and shared with us.

The Nonya Chang is distinctive from the rest of the Bak Chang because it is wrapped in the big version of Pandan Leaves. The dumplings in this photo are wrapped in Bamboo Leaves.

The Nonya Chang is distinctive from the rest of the Bak Chang because it is wrapped in the big version of Pandan Leaves. The dumplings in this photo are wrapped in Bamboo Leaves.

Besides the difference in the wrappers (leaves), Nonya Chang uses finely diced pork marinated in a little 5-spice powder, dark soy, ketumbar powder and white pepper powder. Sugared winter melon strips are cut into cubes and added to the pork mixture so you know these are sweet version of the Bak Chang. If one is lucky, some blue dye from the Blue Pea Flowers (in Malacca, they called it Morning Glory) are sprinkled onto the rice which imparts some floral fragrance without fighting with the Pandan. In fact, they complement each other well.

Photo credit: keropokman.com

Nonya Chang but not wrapped in Pandan Leaves. The distinction is the blue colouring on rice.
Photo credit: Keropokman from keropok.com

Dried version of these flowers act as food dye for the nonya rice dumplings and some other Asian kueh kueh. Photo credit: nasilemaklover.blogspot.com

Dried version of these flowers act as food dye for the nonya rice dumplings and some other Nonya Kueh Kueh.
Some, however, uses blue food clolouring but there’ll be no floral fragrance for sure.
Photo credit: nasilemaklover.blogspot.com

Dried Bunga Telang, Blue Pea Flower or Clitoria Flower. Photo courtesy of: http://nonya-cooking.webs-sg.com/bunga_telang.html

Dried Bunga Telang, Blue Pea Flower or Clitoria Flower. Photo courtesy of: http://nonya-cooking.webs-sg.com/bunga_telang.html

The Hokkien Chang makes use of ingredients like thick slices of Fatty Pork Belly par-cooked with 5-spice powder, pepper (Chinese cooking usually uses white pepper powder and not the black peppercorns unless otherwise stated), light and dark soy and a little sugar. The seasonings are basic and will be repeated throughout par-cooking the rest of the ingredients like reconstituted items like sliced Dried Shitake Mushrooms, Dried Chestnuts, Dried Shrimps (hae bee). Salted Egg Yolks are a luxury (many older folks shun it because of the link to high cholesterol – not verified). The pre-soaked (4-8 hours) glutinous rice which has been drain-dried first are also fried in the seasonings with some sesame oil if one is meticulous.

The Cantonese Chang is very similar to the Hokkien Chang, the difference being the more luxurious filling ingredients used. Items like Dried Oysters, Dried Scallops and sometimes sliced Abalone, Roast Duck, Kung Pao Chicken, are also stuffed into the rice. The chefs are coming up with so many filling varieties I’m afraid I’ve lost touch.

Photo credit: Szechuan Court, Level 3, Fairmont Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Road, Singapore.

Szechuan Court’s Signature Kung Pao Chicken Dumpling.
Photo credit: Szechuan Court, Level 3, Fairmont Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Road, Singapore.

Photo credit: Szechuan Court, Level 3, Fairmont Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Road, Singapore.

Home Special Slow-cooked Beef Cheek Dumpling with Spices ($48/1kg).
Photo credit: Szechuan Court, Level 3, Fairmont Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Road, Singapore.

Photo credit: Szechuan Court, Level 3, Fairmont Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Road, Singapore.

Photo credit: Szechuan Court, Level 3, Fairmont Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Road, Singapore.

These days due to the growing number of health conscious population, brown rice, beans and nuts (fillings) are up for sale too! Personally, I preferred the traditional Bak Chang, although this may prove to be a refreshing change in taste plus they only make this once a year for the festival.

Photo credit: Szechuan Court, Level 3, Fairmont Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Road, Singapore.

Organic Red Brown Rice Vegetarian Dumpling ($38/800g).
Photo credit: Szechuan Court, Level 3, Fairmont Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Road, Singapore.

Kee Chang can be with or without fillings. The word “Kee” comes from the Hokkien dialect meaning “Alkaline”. Therefore, pre-washed glutinous rice were then soaked in some yellow alkaline balls before draining dry and used (no frying or seasoning needed). Those without the bean paste fillings will be eaten with white sugar crystals or with kaya, an egg custard and coconut milk jam. The leftover plain Kee Chang is sometimes diced coarsely and put into a pot of red bean soup dessert cooked with dried tangerine peel, pandan leaves (small screwpines) and sugar for extra chew.

Photo credit: http://famouschris.com/page/194/

Kee Chang.
Photo credit: famouschris.com

After seeing all the beautiful creations, my lunch for the next few days is going to be miserable 😦

The super-sized dumplings were beautiful creations by the chefs from:
Szechuan Court
Level 3,
Fairmont Singapore,
80 Bras Basah Road.
Singapore 189560.
Tel: +65 6431 6156

Business Hours:
Monday – Friday: 12 noon to 2.30pm; 6.30pm to 10.30pm.
Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays: 12 noon to 3pm; 6.30pm to 10.30pm.

Photos credit: Online/Google Images/respective links on photos (those that I didn’t get to taste!)

Happy discovering 🙂

Comments
11 Responses to “Dumplings Ever After”
  1. Sofia says:

    Oh I love these Sam!

  2. Janet Rörschåch says:

    I am blown away. What I don’t know, you are helping open my eyes! Great photos, great teacher. Beautiful food!

  3. We used to called this as bachang in Indonesia, my fave is loaded with scallop, abalone and eggyolk, I’ve try with fermented black garlic and it taste preety good too Sam

  4. renxkyoko says:

    Sam, I’m 1 million sure they are all delicious, but, uhm, they don’t look appetizing …. I love dumplings. We go to a favorite restaurant where only dumplings are served…. I guess we eat them without exposing what’s inside, he he he.

  5. Sheryl says:

    The food looks awesome. I wish we had the dumpling festival here. I’m intrigued by the blue flowers. They dye the food such an unusual color. I’m going to have to look for them at an Asian market.

  6. delicious, lovely shots, and indeed food bonds and like my motto says celebrate life !! cheers

    Jorge

  7. Thai Village says:

    Wonderful post. Thanks 🙂

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