Vegan Nyonya Bak Chang
A Nyonya in UK, Community, Condiment, Culture, Vegetarian, Vegan

How To Make Zong Zi (Vegetarian Nyonya Bak Chang)

My Zong Zi or bak chang is having a make over! As a quest to eat less meat,  let us learn how to make  Vegetarian Nyonya Bak Chang. It is not Chinese vegetarian  as it contains garlic and ginger which is forbidden. It is vegan in the western world, as far as I know, as there is not meat.

I have not added any mushroom as  I try to retain as much of the original Nyonya half sweet and savoury taste and flavour. I used coconut as well, but it think I can do without it. There is not much difference in the taste.

So here is my invention!!

Do give it a go and let me know how you like the taste. Do post it here or tag me in social media.

Thank you and please share and like if you find this useful.

Until the next recipe, here is the video and the full recipe for your convenience.


Penang Lassie

Zong Zi, Vegetarian Nyonya Bak Chang.

I am trying to eat less meat and here is my’ invention’. No meat, no mushroom as I do not want to change the nyonya taste and flavour.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time4 hours 30 minutes
Soaking time10 hours
Total Time15 hours
Course: celebration, Dinner, lunch
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese, Malaysian, Nyonya, South-east Asian
Keyword: bamboo leaves, chinese food, Dragon Boat Festival, Dumplings, gluten free, glutinous rice, peanuts, vegan dumplings
Servings: 30 pieces or so



  • 1 kg Glutinous rice
  • ½ cup Blue pea flowers dried or fresh, soak in 1 cup water, and macerate to extract juice. Use less if you prefer a lighter colour.
  • 500 ml Thick coconut milk or from can.
  • 2 tsp Salt

Spice paste

  • 2 tbsp White pepper Corns
  • 50 g Coriander powder
  • 100 g Garlic peeled
  • 25 g Dried cukur or lesser galangal, or (40g fresh)
  • 150 g Red onions or shallots


  • 70 g Dried tofu pieces
  • 30 g Dried bean curd sheet
  • 2 tsp Salt or to taste
  • 4 tbsp Sugar or to taste
  • 2 tsp Vegan seasoning
  • 250 g Candied winter melon chopped
  • 200 g Dry roasted peanuts coarsely chopped or pounded
  • 4 tbsp Cooking oil

For wrapping

  • 2-3 Pandan leaves cut into 5 cm lengths
  • 60-70 pc Dried bamboo leaves soak until soft, and wiped dry
  • 3-4 bundles Hemp strings or ordinary strings for tying the dumplings


Preparation starts the night before.

    Prepare the rice

    • Rinse the glutinous rice until the water runs clear.
    • Divide into 2 parts.
    • 1/3 part (300g) is for the blue rice, 2/3 (700g) is for the white rice
    • Cover the 700g rice with water and leave overnight.
    • Soak the blue pea flowers in 1 cup of warm water for a long as you can. Macerate and extract the juice.
    • Soak the 300g of rice in the blue solution. Add more water to the flowers to extract more colour, enough to cover the rice with 2cm of water above it.
    • Leave to soak overnight.

    Prepare the filling

    • Roast the peanuts in the oven 180C for 5 to 8 minutes turning twice. Oe, you can dry fry with a pan. Set aside.
    • Soak the dried tofu pieces and the bean curd skin in warm water.
    • Peel the garlic and onions
    • Soak the cukur in warm water.
    • Cut the pandan leaves into pieces.
    • Prepare the wrap/ bamboo leaves
    • In a container large enough to hold the bamboo leaves, soak the leaves in tepid water. Weigh the leaves down with heavy objects like a mortar and pestle or cans of beans, or other suitable weights.
    • Prepare the strings for wrapping by cutting the strings to about 1 metre lengths.
    • Gather 5 strings together and make a loop in the centre for easy handling. This will be the strings that you would tie the dumplings and each bunch will have 10 dumplings.
    • Make 3 to 4 bunches, as there will be 30+ dumplings
    • Gather all the ingredients for the next day.

    Prep and cook day


      • Drain the 2 types of rice.

      White rice:

      • Add 350 ml of the thick coconut milk to the white rice, 1 ½ tsp salt and set aside.

      Blue rice:

      • Do the same as the white rice using the remainder of the 150 ml coconut milk and ½ tsp salt.

      Prepare the filling

      • Drain the fillings ingredients, and squeeze as much water as possible from the tofu pieces.
      • Shred the tofu sheets
      • Roughly chop the tofu pieces.
      • Put all the spice paste ingredients in a blender of chopper and chop or blend until fine. Add some water if necessary.
      • Heat 4 tbsp of cooking oil in a pan or wok. Add in the spice paste and sauté until fragrant.
      • Add in the tofu pieces and shredded sheets. Stir to combine.
      • Add the sugar, salt and seasoning. Stir.
      • Add in about ½ cup of water and stir to combine, Fry until it is a bit dry about 10- 15 minutes
      • Then stir in the candied winter melon and mix.
      • Dish out and leave to cool and then mix in the peanuts. Set aside

      To wrap the dumplings

      • Take 2 pieces of bamboo leaves and place one on top of the other.
      • Fold to make a cone.
      • Spoon 1 tbsp (heap) of the white rice into the cone.
      • Add 1 tsp of the blue rice. Make an indentation in the centre.
      • Add in 1 tbsp of the filling.
      • Cover with 1 tbsp of the white rice and 1 tsp of the blue.
      • Pack the rice tight with your hand.
      • Place 1 piece of the pandan leaf on top of the rice
      • Fold over the leaves to cover the rice and fold and shape into a pyramid shape.
      • Tie with the string.
      • Repeat until you have 10 dumplings in a bunch.
      • Continue to wrap more dumplings.
      • You might have some fillings left over.

      Boil the dumplings

      • In a pot big enough to hold the dumplings, bring 5 to 7 litres or so of water to the boil
      • Add in a tbsp of salt.
      • Carefully add the dumplings into the pot. Make sure all the dumplings are covered with water. Boil for a total of 305 to 4 hours.
      • After sa,y about and hour has passed, rotate the dumplings. Top up with fresh boiling water if necessary.
      • Repeat one more time after an hour.
      • At the end of the cooking time, remove all the dumplings and hang it to drip dry.
      • The dumplings are now go to enjoy.
      • Best served with a salad for a healthier alternative.



      Best served with a salad for a healthier alternative.
      The dumplings can keep for days, about 2 weeks in the fridge.
      It can be frozen.
      Defrost in microwave before serving.


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