Brown Rice Dumpling Recipe
If you want a healthier option for rice dumpling recipe, give this new innovation of zongzi or better known as ‘bak chang’ a try. Born in my mom’s kitchen, let me present you the latest breakthrough in the world of Zongzi – made from brown rice, lean poultry, mushroom, scallop, lotus seed and nuts of a few kind. Go through the ingredients and you would agree, this is an absolute luxury and one of its kind!!
. Instead of glutinous rice or ‘pulut’, mom swapped it with brown rice in this rice dumpling recipe. Glutinous rice, that is also called sticky rice, sweet rice or pearl rice, is one of the must-have traditional ingredient in zongzi. Despite the name, not many are aware of the good stuff of glutinous rice at which is gluten free and contains an extremely low fat. However, high starch content in glutinous rice slows digestion system in some individuals thus gives the feel of bloated tummy. Sticky rice also offers significantly much lower fiber content and lower nutritive value particularly essential vitamins and minerals compares to brown rice, which explains the reasons mom is ‘promoting’ brown rice zongzi .
So much said about its goodness, it is time to embark into the kitchen adventure. Please take note, making rice dumplings required a lot of effort, thus be prepared to gather stuff a few days prior to the day of the making. The experience however is rewarding and that’s the reason mom makes them every year!!
Materials/Ingredients: (makes about 24-30 brown rice dumplings)
To Pack Rice Dumplings:
60 pieces of Bamboo leaves – soaked & washed thoroughly & wipe clean them
30 strings of Hemp – consolidate 12 strings and make a knot for every dozen
Brown Rice Preparation:
4 cups brown rice – soaked overnight
1/2 cup instant oat (optional – help to bind the grains and shape the rice dumpling)
100 g peanut – boiled till half-cooked
100 g red bean – boiled till half-cooked
6 cloves garlic – chopped finely (prepared in 2 set)
6 shallots – sliced thinly
2 tbsp cooking oil
2-3 tsp salt
2-3 tbsp sweet soy sauce
300 g lean pork or chicken breast – cut into bite sizes
12 medium size Shittake mushroom – soaked and halved
8-10 pieces dried scallop – boiled to cook till soft – break into half or one third
24 dried chestnut – boiled to cook till soft
24 pieces lotus seed – boiled to cook till soft
100 g walnut
1 tbsp Chinese five spice powder - a mixed of cinnamon, cloves, ground funnel seeds, sichuan pepper and star anise
2-3 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tbsp sweet soy sauce (or sugar)
3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1-2 tsp sesame oil
10 pieces screw pine (pandan) leaves – cut into 24 pieces of an inch (optional)
1. Gather bamboo leaves and hemp. Prepare them a few days in advance.
2. Marinade the poultry and Shiitake mushroom with seasoning overnight.
3. Prepare the brown rice.
a) Heat up cooking oil in wok and fry the garlic (set 1) and shallots till aromatic. Scoop out and set aside.
b) Use the same wok, place in brown rice and stir well. Add a bit of water if the wok dries up, then salt and sweet soy sauce. Place peanuts and red bean, stir fry and mix them thoroughly.
c) Scoop out, add 3 cups of water and steam the rice until half cooked.
d) Add 1 cup water to instant oat, mix well and add into the rice. Place in the sautéed garlic and shallots. Stir the rice to mix thoroughly then continue steaming until 3/4 cooked.
4. On another clean wok, heat up 1-2 tsp of cooking oil. Add garlic (set 2) and saute until fragrance. Put in marinated poultry and Shiitakee mushroom. Stir fry until well blend and the meat is cooked. Scoop out and set aside.
With all the ingredients ready, arrange them on your ‘work bench’. Though traditionally most folks like to set up everything on the floor and sit on a stool to wrap these rice dumplings, I’d recommend otherwise as this is a lengthy process thus make sure ergonomic is in placed. (Happy mom makes a happy food, right?). Also get the hemp string ready, hanging on a sturdy hook within reach at where you’re seated.
5. Bring two bamboo leaves, overlap them slightly and fold into a conical shape. If you need better picture on how to do it, search for how-to and watch youtube prior to this.
6. Put about 1 tbsp brown rice into the funnel base. Press to fill up. If you wish for an aromatic dumpling, insert a piece of screw pine (pandan) leave. Add about 1 tbsp of poultry and mushroom filling. Then, put in the luxury filling i.e. walnut, scallop, lotus seed and chestnut. Cover with more rice and compress to shape it. Fold leaves over rice to form a cone and make sure all the corners are well-closed. Tie with hemp and here it goes for the first brown rice dumpling.
7. Repeat till all the ingredients are taken into their ‘new homes’.
8. Steam for about 45 minutes to 1 hour and these zongzi shall be ready to be served. If you are working with three-tier steamer, you may occupy a bundle on each tier.
Unlike the glutinous rice dumpling recipe, the last stage for brown rice dumplings is steaming. If you are looking for other alternatives, fragrance rice, red rice, wild rice or Japanese rice can be used. Working with Japanese or sushi rice is a good option as its sticky nature certainly helps to hold the shape thus you do not have to use oat as binder anymore.
Happy eating and Happy DuanWu Festival!