As a kid, I used to watch my grandmother make Ba tsang, so I have some recollection of the ingredients she would put into it (my mom also gave me some suggestions, even though Ba tsang is not her forte). So this is my remake of my Ah-ma's Ba Tsang. I've mentioned before that I totally suck at wrapping the rice in the bamboo leaves - the stuffing wants to come out and I can't tie the bundles together worth crap. But ultimately, I don't care so much about the aesthetics as I do the taste.
Recipe makes 8-9 rice dumplings.
1 1/2 lbs. (4) braised pork bellies, cut into 1/2" slices (here's the recipe http://thegrubfiles.blogspot.com/2010/10/red-cooked-pork-hong-shao-rou.html )*
8 dried shiitake mushrooms
1/4 cup dried shrimp
1 7-oz pkg. fresh bamboo shoots, drained & cut into 1/2" dice
4 tbsp. fried shallots
1 tbsp. 5-spice powder
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cups of the reserved soy braising liquid from the pork belly
4 cups glutinous (sometimes called "sweet") rice
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup of reserved soy braising liquid from the pork belly (hopefully there's enough!)
1 tbsp. fried shallots
1/8 tsp. 5-spice powder
2 tsp. sesame oil
18 dried bamboo leaves
1. Wash & drain glutinous rice in cool water several times until water runs clear. Cover with fresh water and let soak at least 4 hours or overnight.
2. Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in a medium bowl filled with hot tap water for at least 30 minutes. When mushrooms are soft, drain & place on a chopping board. Cut off the stems, and slice the caps. Set aside.
3. Soak dried shrimp in a small bowl with hot tap water. When softened, drain and set aside.
4. Place dried bamboo leaves in the sink or a large container and cover with water. Let soak at least 2 hours or overnight.
5. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp. vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add sliced pork belly, shiitakes, dried shrimp, and bamboo shoots and saute together for a few seconds. Add 4 tbsp. fried shallots, 1 tbsp. 5-spice powder, 2 tsp. sesame oil, and 2 cups of the reserved braising liquid from the pork belly. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer about 20-30 minutes or until all ingredients have soaked in the flavors of the sauce. Turn off heat and set aside.
6. In the meantime, cook rice with 2 1/2 cups of water. When done (and while still hot) stir in 1 cup of the soy braising liquid, 1 tbsp. fried shallots, 1/8 tsp. of 5-spice powder, and 2 tsp. of sesame oil. Set aside.
7. To make the dumplings: Use 2 bamboo leaves per dumpling, slightly overlapping the leaves with the stem ends in opposite directions. Fold the leaves over to form a "cup." Place 1 heaping tablespoon of the rice mix in the "cup" portion of the leaves, top with a couple pieces of pork belly and about a spoonful of the rest of the filling. Top with a couple more tablespoons of rice, then fold the bamboo leaves over to form a sort of triangular bundle. Then tie the whole shebang with some kitchen twine.
I know that none of this makes much sense, so please refer to the below photos for clarification. But if that doesn't help, then you should check out Red Cook's "Secret of the Zongzi" post for a good illustration of the wrapping process: http://www.redcook.net/2009/05/27/zongzi-secrets/ .
Btw, Ba Tsangs freeze well (put them in a Ziploc bag). To reheat, steam over high heat about 30 minutes.