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Zongzi recipe- 6 easy steps to make the best rice dumpling

My mother-in-law is a Cantonese zongzi (rice dumpling) skilled.

She was well-known for making the best zongzi in her hometown in Kampar.

Since the Zongzi Pageant (also referred to as Duanwu Pageant, 端午节, Dragon Boat Pageant) falls on the fifth month of the Chinese calendar, I made a decision to make my own rice dumplings, tapping into her expertise and experience of greater than half a century!

Naturally, it’s a big success beneath the steerage of the guru. The superb aroma of the zongzi perfumes the kitchen and provokes a sense of satisfaction that makes my belly rumbles. I simply sat down to take pleasure in this dumpling with a bottomless pot of Pu’er tea.

This publish is predicated on her secret recipe written in a small pocket book with half pale ink, and I’m grateful for her generosity and permission to share on my blog.

The origin

The history of zongzi 粽子is intently associated to a famous poet and patriotic minister Qu Yuan 屈原 of the Kingdom of Chu during the Warring States 戰國 period of China (starting from 481 BC to 403 BC). Qu Yuan served as a minister for the Chu however was ousted for opposing the alliance of a much bigger kingdom referred to as Qin. When the Qin ultimately conquered the capital of Chu, Yingdu, the grief was so intense that he finally committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River 汨羅江 on the 5th of Might.

Moved by the patriotism of Qu Yuan, the native individuals rolling their boats to save him. The act to save Qu Yuan was the origin of the dragon boat races throughout this pageant. After that they had failed to retrieve his physique, they threw packets of sticky rice into the river, hoping the fishes would eat the rice as an alternative of his body.

Chinese language individuals serves zongzi every year on the day when Qu Yuan committed suicide, which happens on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese calendar. Today had slowly advanced to turn into the Duanwu Pageant or Double Fifth Pageant; each means the date and month as mentioned.

Word: This publish might include affiliate hyperlinks. Please learn my disclosure for more information. I’ll receive commissions for purchases made by way of hyperlinks in this publish.

Duanwu- An essential pageant to rejoice

Duanwu Pageant (additionally referred to as Dragon Boat Pageant) has slowly shifted its focus from commemorating Qu Yuan to grow to be a carnival, with dragon boat competition and eating zongzi as the key options.

At this time, eating this rice dumpling remains as an essential custom among the Chinese language. The best way of wrapping and the components in the zongzi additionally assorted significantly in several areas.

In this article, I will present you ways to make the zongzi that’s fashionable among the Cantonese individuals.

Making zongzi is comparatively easy, apart from the time commitment to put together and prepare dinner it.

While plenty of Chinese language cooking methods depend on really feel over empirical perform, I attempt to make it simple with step-by-step directions.

1. Put together the leaves to wrap the rice dumplings

zongzi leves

There are two forms of leaves commonly used to wrap zongzi. It can be either reed leaves or bamboo leaves.

The recent leaves are the best since it’s fragrant and smooth. Nevertheless, it is not often out there even in Asia with a large population of Chinese language. Subsequently, almost everyone who makes zongzi is utilizing dry leaves.

Dried leaves are brittle and onerous and never appropriate to use it to wrap zongzi.

Subsequently, you need to rehydrate the leaves earlier than utilizing them for wrapping.

The simplest method to prepare the leaves for wrapping is to boil them. Boil for 30 minutes after which soak it in the pot in a single day.

You’ll discover that the leaves are absolutely rehydrated, with dark inexperienced shade the subsequent morning.

Listed here are the steps:

  • Wash the leaves. Wash the leaves completely to take away any muds.
  • Use cold water. Place the leaves in a stockpot. Refill the pot with chilly water until it is enough to submerge the leaves.
  • Add some oil. Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil into the water. Vegetable oil helps to forestall the glutinous rice from sticking onto the leaves once you wrap the filling later.
  • Use a heavy bowl. Place a bowl on prime of the leaves to cease them from floating on the water.
  • Boil the leaves. Use high warmth to deliver the water to a boil, then decreased the warmth for an additional half an hour.
  • Soak overnight. Remove the leaves from warmth. Soak the leaves in the water in a single day.
  • Wash the leaves. Take away the leaves from the water the next day. Wash the leaves underneath operating water. Hold the leaves in water until you need to wrap the zongzi. The leaves will turn into brittle once more should you allow them to dry out.
  • Snip off the end. Snip off no less than three centimeters from the finish near to the stem of every leaf. The part can puncture easily throughout wrapping.

2. Put together the filling- a symphony of traditional Asian flavor

The following is an inventory of widespread components I exploit to prepare Cantonese zongzi. You possibly can omit certain components if you wish to, or improve the amount of these you want. There isn’t any fastened rule to comply with.

The pork

pork for rice dumpling

Pork belly is the indispensable elements of creating Cantonese zongzi. The meat must be marinated overnight to give it a deep savoring flavor.

Pork stomach is right for making zongzi as there’s a little oil in other components in the rice dumpling. You should use different cuts of pork however make positive to embrace some fat in it.

Prepare the pork by following these steps:

  • Use pork stomach. Reduce the pork stomach (or any minimize of pork with some fat) into 3cm squares.
  • Marinate. Marinate the pork with mild soy sauce, sugar, Shaoxing wine, floor white pepper, and salt in a single day. Add extra salt to give it a deep savory flavor. It won’t be too salty as part of the salt shall be absorbed by the rice.
  • Ideas: Marinate in a single day and with additional salt.
  • You’ll be able to add some soy sauce to marinate in case you like.

The glutinous rice

zongzi glutinous rice

Glutinous rice 糯米 (also referred to as candy rice) is the main element of the filling. It’s the only sort of rice suitable for making rice dumplings.

Search for an excellent brand of glutinous rice.  I have encountered some unscrupulous vendor adulterate the glutinous rice with different cheaper rice.

  • Rince and soak the rice. Rinse the glutinous rice a couple of occasions beneath operating water till the water is obvious.
  • Soak the glutinous rice in water in a single day (or a minimum of four hours).
  • Add some salt. Drain the water away and blend with mild soy sauce and salt. Put aside for wrapping the zongzi.
  • Stir-fry. Stir-fry with some vegetable oil briefly. (Optionally available)

Mung beans

mung beans for zongzi

There are a number of kinds of beans and nuts for making rice dumpling. Groundnuts, mung beans and black eye peas are among the widespread one. I exploit mung beans in this recipe, comply with my mother-in-law’s suggestion. She made Cantonese zongzi for a few years who is an completed zongzi professional.

  • Rince. Rince the mung beans.
  • Soak. Soak the mung beans for an hour. Then mix with the seasonings.
  • Stir-fry. Stir-fry with some vegetable oil briefly. (Optionally available)

Word that you may discover some mung beans are green and some are yellow as what I exploit. You need to take away the inexperienced outer pores and skin of the mung beans by soaking them in water in a single day. Since it is tedious, most people who make zongzi will purchase the mung beans with the skin already removed, which is yellow.

Mingbean for zongzi
  • Mung beans before removing the pores and skin.  That is appropriate to prepare mung bean soup, however not for rice dumpling.
  • Choose the one with the skin eliminated. It saves you time.

Shiitake mushroom

dry mushroom for zongzi

Shiitake mushroom is a standard ingredient for zongzi. It has the aromatic flavor complement to the pork and salted egg yolks.

  • Soak the mushrooms. Soak the dry shiitake mushrooms in water for two hours or till absolutely rehydrated. You possibly can shorten the soaking time with scorching water.
  • Reduce into strips. Remove the stems. Minimize the mushrooms into thin strips.
  • Put aside for wrapping the zongzi.



Chestnuts are non-compulsory. Nevertheless, I like to embrace in the recipe because it has a robust distinction to the meaty flavor of the pork and the sticky texture of the glutinous rice.

You’ll be able to roast them briefly before using it to wrap the rice dumpling. It’s elective.

  • Soak and clean. Soak the chestnuts in water. Clear the chestnut before use.
  • Toast. Calmly toast them earlier than using it to wrap zongzi

Dried oysters and dried shrimps

dry shrimp

Dried seafood renders a deep savory flavor to the rice dumplings. Attempt to get it at the Asian grocery store which sells dried seafood. Some individuals do not embrace in the dumpling due to the larger value, however I guess you’ll love the distinctive flavor, which is approach aside from the recent one.

  • Soak. Soak each dried seafood for at the very least one hour.
  • Clear. Clean with water completely to remove any sand and impurities.
  • Stir-fry. Stir-fry with some vegetable oil briefly. (Elective)

Salted duck egg yolk

salted egg yolk for zongzi

The preparation of salted duck egg yolks is simple. You’re lucky for those who manage to buy the yolks alone (with out the white). If not, you’ve got to buy the entire salted eggs and work out what to do with the whites.

Salted egg is a well-known delicacy in quite a lot of Asian dishes. The eggs are both boiled in water or steam before consuming. You’ll be able to just eat with steam rice or congee, or as an ingredient in a recipe. Cantonese zongzi typically consists of the salted egg yolk for its distinctive flavor. Since it is salty, the taste continues to be intense after cooking the zongzi for hours.

Cantonese zongzi recipe

three. How to wrap zongzi

Now it comes to the most challenging and exciting part- wrapping the zongzi.

Comply with these steps, and watch the video demonstration embedded on this publish.

  • Use two leaves. Decide two items of leaves, clean aspect up. Place the smaller one slightly to the left and on prime of the giant piece.
  • Type a cone. Layering two leaves together and folding them up at the middle of the depart on prime to type a cone. Use the center finger to make a small fold inward fold. Flip the leaf round to type a cone. (Hint: Watch the video demo.)
  • Refill the cone with the filling. Fill the cone with a tablespoon of glutinous rice at the bottom. Then add the egg yolk, pork stomach, dry oyster, mung beans, and mushroom.
  • Cowl the filling with two tablespoons of glutinous rice.
    Fold and wrap:
  • Hold the cone with one hand to secure its form.
  • Fold down the depart to shut the cone. Press it firmly, so it won’t disintegrate and get a decent seal.
  • Fold the additional leaves to one aspect of the zongzi.
  • Lastly, safe the form of the zongzi with a twine.

Comply with the illustration under or refer to the video for the demonstration

wrap zongzi with two leaves1. Use two leaves
wrap rice dumpling with bamboo leaf2. Type a cone
Add filling into the cone3 Refill the cone with the filling
Fold and wrap the rice dumpling4. Fold and wrap

4. How to tie the zongzi

You might attempt to get the special twine to wrap zongzi from the Asian grocery shop. You should use any kitchen twine, like those trusting the turkey if it isn’t out there.

Should you use the zongzi twine, soak it in a bowl of water for half an hour before utilizing it. The twine will rehydrate and gained’t break simply.

Secure the leaves with the twine is hard. You need some apply to get it good. You’ll be able to watch the demonstration in the video to perceive the whole wrapping course of.

Right here is how to do it:

Hook a bunch of string to an anchor level. Use one hand to hold the zongzi and the other to tie it tightly and a lifeless knot.

Notice that it is necessary to tie them tightly since we would like to prepare dinner them for a couple of hours. As for the knots, almost everybody will reduce the twine when they need to eat. Subsequently, it does not matter whether you possibly can simply open the knot.

5. How to prepare dinner the zongzi

Cooking zongzi is straightforward but prolonged. You’ll be able to schedule it if you end up at house, during which you can do another factor whereas cooking. There aren’t many belongings you want to do after you set the pot on the range. Simply wait and add some water sometimes if mandatory.

Comply with the steps under:

  • Use a inventory pot. Convey a large pot of water to a boil. The amount of water must be enough to submerge all the zongzi.
  • Boil for six hours. Boil over low warmth, i.e., scale back to a bare simmer for about six hours.
  • Add solely boiling water. Examine the water degree from time to time. Keep the degree of water to just sufficient to submerge all the zongzi. Add solely boiling water when essential.
  • Freeze for future enjoyment. Remove them from the water after six hours. You possibly can eat it instantly or freeze them after they cool to room temperature.

6. How to reheat zongzi

Frozen zongzi may be stored up to a number of months.
Whenever you want to eat later, take them out from the freezer and defrost at room temperature for a number of hours.

Steps to reheat the zongzi

Steam to reheat

  • Add about one liter of water right into a wok.
  • Place a steamer rack in the wok, make positive the water degree is under the steamer rack to keep away from the zongzi from getting moist.
  • Place the zongzi in the steamer.

Steam for twenty minutes

  • Deliver the water to a boil. Scale back the heat to steam one other twenty minutes.
  • Change off the range. Don’t remove the lid. Let the latent heat proceed warming up the zongzi for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Unfold the leaves and serve.

rice dumpling with pork

Bonus: How to forestall the leaves from sticking to the filling

The worst thing whereas consuming zongzi is when the rice sticks onto the leaves, and unable to take away the rice dumpling in a single piece. Consequently, you get a multitude of damaged rice dumpling on your plate as an alternative of a ravishing golden pyramid.

Once you unfold the leaves, the rice dumpling might crack, deformed and stick onto the leaves. It’s messy, and positively annoyed.

You will never have this troublesome messy encounter anymore when you master the technique.

Listed here are some ideas:

Add some oil

  • Mixing the glutinous rice with some oil before wrapping can scale back the stickiness to the leaves.
  • Add some oil to the water to prepare dinner the leaves can reduce the rice from sticking to the leaves.
  • Brush a skinny layer of oil on the leaves earlier than wrapping.

Different methods

  • The leaves have to be rehydrated absolutely before wrapping.
  • The graceful aspect of the leaves ought to keep in touch with the filling.
  • Unwrapped the zongzi whereas it’s scorching. The glutinous rice becomes stickier after it cools down.

The recipe

Prep Time 30 minutes

Prepare dinner Time 6 hours

Complete Time 6 hours 30 minutes


For the pork

For the mushrooms

For the glutinous rice

For the mung beans



Prepare the elements

  1. Minimize the pork into 20 pieces. Marinate the pork in a single day or up to three two days in the refrigerator
  2. Soak the mushroom. Combine with the seasonings.
  3. Soak and rehydrate the dry oysters for one hour.
  4. Soak the glutinous rice in a single day or no less than four hours. Mix with the seasonings.
  5. Soak the mung beans for at the least one hour. Mix with the seasonings.
  6. Stir-fry the glutinous rice, mung beans, dry shrimps and dry oysters till aromatic.
  7. Soak the chestnuts. Clear. Flippantly toast the chestnuts.
  8. Minimize the egg yolks into quarters.

Put together the leaves

  1. Place the leaves in a stockpot and refill with chilly water sufficient to submerge the leaves.
  2. Place a bowl on prime of the leaves to forestall them from floating.
  3. Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Convey it to a boil.
  4. Boil at low warmth for half an hour.
  5. Remove and soak the leaves in a single day.
  6. Use the leaves immediately to wrap the zongzi. Soak them in water if you would like to use them later in order that the leaves sill not dry out.

To wrap and tie the zongzi

  1. This step requires some demonstration. Please refer to the word above and watch the video.

To prepare dinner the zongzi

  1. Select a inventory pot with the right measurement to nest all the zongzi.
  2. Deliver the water to a boil.
  3. Place all the zongzi into the pot. Be certain that all the zongzi are submerged in the water.
  4. Add boiling water from time to time.
  5. Add boiling water from time to time if essential. Do not add cold water.
  6. After six hours, remove the zongzi from the pot. Unwrap them immediately or maintain them for future enjoyment. (You possibly can freeze the zongzi up to two weeks.)


When you encounter any audio / visual drawback of viewing this video, you possibly can view it from YouTube by clicking this hyperlink, which can open in a new tab.

Vitamin Info:



Serving Measurement:

20 servings
Quantity Per Serving:Energy: 228 Complete Fat: 7g Saturated Fats: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 55mg Sodium: 862mg Carbohydrates: 25g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 2g Protein: 14g

This knowledge was offered and calculated by Nutritionix on 5/25/2019

You might also want the following gadgets for this recipe:

Advice from my mother in regulation (my mentor)

My mother-in-law is an completed Cantonese zongzi grasp with the experience of more than half a century!

While I’ve included some of the widespread recommendation from her in scripting this submit, there are a selection of ‘trade secrets’ that she revealed to me, which are not often talked about in books and different related food blogs.

Under is an inventory of the secrets and techniques she needs to share with you:

  • Stir-fry the glutinous rice, mung beans, dried shrimps and dried oyster till they flip aromatic. She stated many rice dumpling distributors skip this step, because it includes extra works. Nevertheless, this step will make the difference between the wonderful and the strange rice dumplings.
  • There isn’t a want to use a heavy bowl to forestall rice dumplings from floating in the water whereas cooking, as instructed by some meals bloggers. She stated the rice dumplings would sink as soon as the as soon as they take up enough water. I tried it, and all the dumplings have been floated initially, but all sink to the backside after 5 minutes.
  • Deliver the water to a boil and prepare dinner the rice dumplings in boiling water over medium heat. She stated there isn’t any want to start with chilly water. I adopted her technique which labored flawlessly.
  • Tie the rice dumpling tightly. She stresses that the boiling water won’t seep in easily by way of the leaves of the firmly tied rice dumplings. This technique helps to protect all the flavors of the elements from leaking into the water.

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