Making 粽子zòngzi (Glutinous Rice Dumplings)


There are many different ways that people make zòngzi, with fillings that are either sweet or savory.  I found this recipe from a website called, Eating China (  If you are a fan of sticky rice, this is one recipe you need to tackle, especially in light of the Dragon Boat Festival coming up.  Send any comments our way after you’ve tried the recipe, and let us know what you thought about the whole “making zòngzi experience”.

Makes 20 dumplings

40 large bamboo leaves (2 for each zongzi)
20 long strings (for binding leaves)
1 kg (2.2 Ib) uncooked glutinous rice
2 kg (4.4 Ib) fatty pork, sliced into 3 cm (1″) cubes
10 salted duck’s egg yolk, shelled, cut into halves
40 small dried shittake (black) mushrooms
20 dried chestnuts
10 stalks of scallions, cut up into 1 cm (1/2″) lengths
500 g (18 oz) dried radish diced very finely
100 g (3.5 oz) very small dried shrimp
200 g (7 oz) raw peanuts (shelled, with skins)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice wine
Vegetable oil
5 cloves of garlic, roughly crushed
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 pieces star anise


Preparing ingredients

  1. Soak rice in water for three hours, drain.
  2. Stew pork and chestnuts for 1 hour in soy sauce, rice wine, ground pepper, 1 teaspoon of sugar. and star anise. Set aside pork and chestnuts in bowl.
  3. Boil peanuts until tender (30 minutes to 1 hour).
  4. Soak mushrooms until soft. Clean and cut off stalks. Stir-fry with a little liquid from stew. Set aside in bowl.
  5. Shell and halve duck eggs. Set aside in bowl.
  6. Chop up dried radish finely and stir-fry with some 1/2 teaspoon sugar and garlic.
  7. Stir-fry spring onions until fragrant.
  8. Stir-fry shrimp very quickly.
  9. In a large wok or bowl, add rice, then add spring onions, radish, shrimp, peanuts. Mix together well.

Wrapping zongzi

  1. Rinse bamboo leaves in hot water to tenderise, before washing thoroughly in cold water.
  2. Wet strings to make them more pliable.
  3. Take 2 leaves and overlap them. About 2/3rds of way along the length of the leaves, place one hand underneath, make a cup shape with the leaves.
  4. Add a small amount of rice mixture, then add 1 piece of pork to the centre of the rice. Add more rice on top, compressing slightly.
  5. Now repeat this process, in turn adding 1 each: chestnut, mushroom, half a duck egg, followed by a layer of rice until you have a full rice ball in your hand.
  6. Wrap leaves tightly around the ball of rice.
  7. Dumplings should be pyramid shaped with sharp edges and pointed ends. It takes some practice to make nice looking ones.
  8. Zongzi are tied up just like shoes laces with a double knot which makes them easy to open.
  9. *Steam for 1 hour, unwrap and serve.

Eat zongzi plain or with a sauce of your choice. Wrapped tightly in plastic, zongzi freeze well. To reheat, thaw, and without removing the bamboo leaves, steam (best option), or microwave. Before micro-waving, poke a very small hole in the wrapping and pour in 1/4 of a teaspoon of water to help prevent the zongzi drying out. To test for doneness, plunge a sharp fork into the centre of the zongzi. If the pointy end of the fork is hot, so is your snack.

For a video you could also check out this video from youtube:

  • KrisBelucci

    I really liked this post. Can I copy it to my site? Thank you in advance.

  • 1on1 Mandarin

    yes, you may copy this to your site.