Cantonese White Glutinous Rice Dumpling (ZongZi)

Submitted by Lin

Although you may be able to buy Zongzi (Glutinous Rice Dumpling) almost anywhere in Asia, it is never as nice as those we make at home. Glutinous Rice Dumpling, or Zongzi, is a traditional food for a Chinese festival -- Duan Wu Jie -- which falls in around May and June every year. It is basically steamed glutinous rice (or sticky rice in some countries like Thailand and Hong Kong) wrapped in bamboo leaves.

There are many different types of rice dumplings from different Chinese heritage, what I have here is a Cantonese style, savoury, white basic type that my late grandmother used to make. Also check out a sweet dumpling Adzuki Bean Paste Rice Dumpling (Dou Sa Zong).

Ingredients (Outer wrapping):

  • 40 pieces special Zhong leaves (dried bamboo leaves, can be obtained from some Chinese supermarkets), soaked over night, drained
  • A bundle of plant-based string (can be obtained from some Chinese supermarkets),soaked over night
  • 800g glutinous rice, soaked over night and drained

Ingredients (Main Filling):

  • 400g pork, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons groundnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons light soya sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dark soya sauce
  • 1 teaspoon 5-spice powder
  • A pinch of sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of ground white pepper
  • 10g dried prawn

Ingredients (Other Fillings):

  • 200-300g shelled/halved mung bean, soaked over night,
    and drained
  • 10 Chinese mushrooms, soaked and thinly sliced
  • 4 s alted egg yolk, mashed

Preparation:

  1. Marinate the pork in light soya sauce, dark soya sauce, 5-spice powder, sugar, salt, and pepper for about 3 hours.
  2. Heat the groundnut oil in a wok or deep saucepan, and fry the marinated pork together with the marinate.
  3. Pour it into a medium bowl and let it cool down.
  4. Take 2 pieces of Zhong leaves, line one on top of another, fold them from the middle and twist both ends up to form a cone/triangular pouch.
  5. Fill the pouch with 2 tablespoons of glutinous rice, top with 1 tablespoon each of fried pork and mushroom, then about a tablespoon of mung bean, and 1 teaspoon salted egg yolk.
  6. Complete the routine with 2 tablespoons glutinous rice, hold the pouch tight and close the leaves. Tie it with the string to make sure the dumpling is securely wrapped and no spill.
  7. Repeat the steps till all ingredients are used up.
  8. Half fill a large deep pot with water, bring it to a boil. Put the wrapped dumplings into the water, then top up more water to cover all dumplings.
  9. Add a teaspoon of salt into the water and keep boiling it for about 3 to 4 hours.
  10. Drain the cooked dumplings and serve hot.

Versatility Note:

  1. You can add onion and garlic when frying the pork, but I do like the light taste with just the basic fillings.
  2. To make sure no rice would spill out from the leaf wrapping, check all corners so that they are really tight and pointy
  3. Glutinous rice can be quite heavy for those who have indigestion, so make sure you don't over indulge on that, and balance it with Chinese tea or green tea.