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Glutinuous Rice Dumplings (Zongzi - 粽子)

Friday, 6 June 2008

The Dragon Boat festival (Duanwu jie, 端午节) falls on the 8th of June this year. It's one of the many Chinese traditional festivals and to me, it's zongzi festival. Zongzi (粽子) is Chinese rice dumplings made of glutinuous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves. According to Wikipedia it is traditionally eaten to commemorate the death of a famous Chinese poet - Qu Yuan. My grandmother used to make them and when you see zongzi in the house, you'll know it's dragon boat festival. Nowadays, you can get zongzi anytime of the year and you just keep wondering when exactly is dragon boat festival. I know it's dragon boat festival mainly because other food bloggers are posting recipes of zongzi. I made some a few years ago and will not be making any this year as it involves a lot of work.

Ingredients: 12 medium dumplings For glutinous rice prep:

  • 500g glutinous rice
  • 1 cup braised meat sauce
  • ~1/2 cup shallots – minced
  • 1 tbs dried small shrimps – soaked and minced
  • 1 tbs dark soya sauce
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1 tbs concentrated chicken stock

For bamboo leaves prep:

  • Bamboo leaves
  • Strings (* don’t use bamboo strings, break easily)


For braised meat (滷肉):

  • Add in roasted chesnuts to braised pork belly and refrigerate overnight.
  • Scoop off oil (white surface layer).
  • Reheat and take out mushrooms, pork and chestnuts. Leave aside for later use.

For glutinous rice prep:

  • Soak glutinous rice for at least 4 hrs/ overnight.
  • Sauté shallots and small dried shrimps.
  • Stir in rice when shallots are browned.
  • Add in braised meat sauce, dark soya sauce, oyster sauce, chicken stock and stir until all sauce evaporated.
  • Leave aside for later use.

For bamboo leaves prep:

  • Boil bamboo leaves and strings until bamboo leaves are soft.
  • Wash under running water until clean.
  • Remove hard tips and leave aside for later use.


  • Using 2 leaves, fold them into a cone shape. (Fold the leaves so the two opposite sides parallel to you meet with the V at the top.)
  • Fill 1/3 of the cone with glutinous rice.
  • Add in mushroom, chestnut, an egg yolk and meat.
  • Fill the cone with glutinous rice. Flatten surface.
  • Fold the V-top part down towards cone.
  • Fold the left side ‘wings’ around the filling, then wrap the right side ‘wings’ around to form a pyramid shape.
  • Tie with string.


  • Place dumplings in boiling water and boil for 40-50 mins.

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