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Teochew Sticky Rice Dumplings (Zong Zi) 潮州粽子
These dumplings are made from sticky or glutinous rice and are often eaten while celebrating Dragon Boat Festival. It’s packed with rich and flavourful ingredients, customized to suit our own liking.
    Servings Prep Time
    34dumplings 2hours
    Cook Time
    Servings Prep Time
    34dumplings 2hours
    Cook Time
    Marinade for pork belly
    Seasonings for shiitake mushrooms
    Seasonings for glutinous rice
    Day 1: (Preparing the ingredients)
    1. First boil the bamboo leaves for about 5 minutes, making sure they are fully submerged until the leaves turn soft. Then leave to cool down on its own.
    2. Rinse the leaves thoroughly with water. Use a clean cloth to wipe the leaves, piece by piece.
    3. Then leave to soak in water overnight. If you are using the leaves the next morning, then only wash and soak the leaves the night before.
    4. Be sure to soak together with the grass strands.
    5. Prepare all the ingredients needed to marinade the cut pork belly.
    6. Marinade the pork belly and keep it covered in the refrigerator overnight. This will make the meat taste more flavourful.
    7. Wash shitake mushrooms to remove dirt and soaked them overnight.
    8. Wash chestnuts, soak for 30 minutes. Then briefly boil the chestnuts.
    9. Then using a toothpick or any sharp object, remove the membrane and dirt from the chestnut. Wash again and keep refrigerated until needed.
    10. Finely chop garlic ( keep in refrigerator) and fry the sliced shallots. Retain the shallot oil to fry the pork and glutinous rice.
    11. Have ready some homemade red bean paste, wrapped into balls. It’s our family’s favourite and a MUST have in our teochew rice dumplings.
    Day 2: (Cooking the ingredients)
    1. Drain well the mushroom after soaking and seasoning with sesame oil and sugar.
    2. Wash, soak and drain the dried shrimp.
    3. Wash glutinous rice several times until the water runs clear. Leave to soak in water for about 1 hour.
    4. Cut salted egg yolks in halves..
    5. Soak chinese sausage for 15 minutes.
    6. Using a pair of scissors, cut to remove the membrane surrounding the sausages.
    7. Then cut the chinese sausages into thick pieces.
    8. Drain the soaked glutinous rice and season with salt, pepper, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, chinese five spice powder and msg.
    9. Using a big wok, first stir fry the dried shrimp with the shallot oil and set aside.
    10. Then stir fry the mushrooms and set aside.
    11. Next stir fry the chestnuts and set aside.
    12. Briefly stir fry also the cut chinese sausage.
    13. Then in the same wok, heat up some more shallot oil and saute chopped garlic till fragrant.
    14. Stir fry the marinated pork belly and add in some chinese cooking wine, to taste.
    15. Transfer to a large plate or tray and sprinkle half of the fried shallot over it.
    16. Lastly using low heat, briefly stir fry the seasoned glutinous rice with some shallot oil.
    17. Transfer the rice to a large tray, sprinkle the other half of the fried shallot and mix well. And we’re ready to wrap!
    (Wrapping the dumplings)
    1. Gather all the ingredients needed before you start to wrap the rice dumplings.
    2. Select 2 bamboo leaves. Overlap them by 80% of the area. Starting at 1/3 lengthwise from one end, bend the leaves to form a cone making sure the smooth side of leaves is on inside of cone.
    3. Create a well in the cone by filling with 1 tbsp of sticky rice.
    4. Then add a layer consisting of one piece each of shitake mushroom, redbean paste, chestnut, pork belly, salted egg yolk and some dried shrimp.
    5. Lastly, cover with another 2 tbsp of glutinous rice. Press it down gently before wrapping up. Each dumpling is about 200g.
    6. To close the opening, fold over the remaining 2/3 of the leaves.
    7. Cover the top completely and press down to partially cover the sides.
    8. Wrap the edge of the leaves to either left or right side of the rice dumpling. And you’re done wrapping it!
    9. Use a grass strand to tie the rice dumpling. Wrap the dumpling with the grass strand twice, each time with an easy knot to ensure no loose ends. And we’re ready to cook them!
    (Cooking the dumplings)
    1. In a large pot of water, add in salt and bring the water to a boil under high heat.
    2. Then slowly place the dumplings into the water, making sure they are fully submerged. Cover the pot with lid and cook slowly over medium heat for about 3 hours, depending on size.
    3. To check if they are cooked through, unwrap one of the dumplings in the pot, check for doneness and taste it.
    4. Once the rice dumplings are cooked through, remove from the pot immediately, hang it up and leave it to air dry for at least 1 hour. And we’re done!
    5. Enjoy the rice dumpling while it’s still hot, preferably with hot chinese tea. Enjoy and Happy Rice Dumpling Festival!
    Recipe Notes

    When buying bamboo leaves, choose those that are light yellow or light green in colour. (Not the bright green colour as they may be chemically treated).

    Only boil, wash and soak bamboo leaves the night before you use them. Otherwise the leaves may dry up. And do soaked more as some may break apart while wrapping. Also do not over boil the bamboo leaves, or the fragrance will be lost.

    Bamboo leaves come in different sizes. Generally, we use only 2 pieces to wrap a dumpling. If leaves are too small, just add 1 additional leaf to wrap.

    Just stir fry the glutinous rice briefly using medium low heat as we just want to add fragrance and not to cook the rice. Otherwise we may end up will half-cooked rice dumplings.

    Do not tie the dumplings too tightly to allow some room for the cooked ingredients in the dumplings to expand.

    Do not use high heat to cook the rice dumplings as this may cause the dumpling leaves to end up cracked and rice will ooze out.

    Always check to ensure the water level is always enough to cover the dumplings when cooking in the pot. Otherwise we will end up with half-cooked dumplings.

    Cooked the dumplings in badges if the pot you are using is not big enough.

    For quick cooking, boil rice dumplings in a pressure cooker with enough water to cover the dumplings for about 40 minutes on pressure. Release pressure before removing lid of pressure cooker.

    Always keep the extra rice dumplings in the FREEZER and reheat them in a steamer when needed.


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