Home » Nyonya Rice Dumplings with Chicken 娘惹鸡肉粽子

Nyonya Rice Dumplings with Chicken 娘惹鸡肉粽子

by Angie Liew

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Nyonya Chicken DumplingsThe Duanwu Festival or better known as Dragon Boat Festival is just around the corner and it’s time for celebration! It is also a season of Zongzi or rice dumpling leaf fragrance. This festival falls on the 5th of May every year in the Chinese lunar calendar. During this time, the Chinese celebrate by making and enjoying homemade or store bought pyramidal shape glutinous rice dumplings wrapped in delightful bamboo leaves.

Nyonya Chicken Dumplings

For this recipe, Nyonya Rice Dumplings with spiced chicken filling, is a peranakan style of rice dumplings. They are less oily as compared to the traditional rice dumplings and are easier to make too. They do not just taste GREAT, they are extremely appealing to the eyes too. They are petite, pretty looking and has the signature blue colour, a result of the natural blue colouring from the butterfly pea flower. Taste wise, they are gooey, sweet as well as savoury and infused with the nice grassy aroma of the bamboo leaves and spiced chicken filling. The fragrance from the pandan leaves and coriander powder really make a big difference too.

So Enjoy and Happy Dumpling Making!





Nyonya Chicken Dumplings

Nyonya Chicken Dumplings

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Nyonya Chicken Dumplings

Recipe by Huang Kitchen, Angie Liew
Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time2 hours
Total Time4 hours

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Servings: 40 dumplings



  • 1 kg glutinous rice, divide into 2 equal portions.
  • 80 pieces bamboo leaves, cleaned and softened.
  • 4 tbsp garlic, minced and fried.
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil, to fry garlic.
  • 30 gram blue pea flowers, boiled in 200ml water.
  • 1 tsp white vinegar, soaked the blue coloured glutinous rice.
  • 6 pieces screw pine leaves, cut into 2 inch pieces.

Seasonings for Glutinous Rice:

  • 1 tbsp salt, each for white & blue colour glutinous rice.
  • 1 tbsp ground white pepper, each for white & blue colour glutinous rice.
  • 1 tbsp fried garlic oil, each for white & blue colour glutinous rice.

Ingredients for Filling:

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil, to fry filling.
  • 100 gram shallots, ground.
  • 50 gram garlic, ground.
  • 500 gram chicken meat, cut into cubes.
  • 100 gram dried chestnuts, softened and cubed.
  • 50 gram dried shiitake mushrooms, softened and cubed.
  • 10 salted egg yolk, cut into small pieces.
  • 250 gram candied winter melon, chop into small pieces.

Seasonings for Filling:

  • 1 tbsp Oyster Sauce
  • 2 tbsp fermented bean paste, also known as taucho.
  • 3 tbsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar, or to taste.


    Prepare dumpling leaves:

    • Boil bamboo leaves.
      Soak bamboo leaves in a pot of boiling water until soft, about 15 minutes.
    • Clean bamboo leaves.
      Using a clean cloth, wipe each leave on both sides.
    • Soak in cold water.
      Then leave to soak in clean cold water together with grass strands until needed.

    Prepare Glutinous Rice:

    • Chop garlic.
      Chop some garlic to use for seasoning the glutinous rice.
    • Saute garlic till golden brown.
      Then heat up oil and fry the chopped garlic till golden brown. Set aside the fried garlic and oil in a bowl.
    • Boil butterfly pea flowers.
      next, place blue pea flowers and water into a pot and bring to a boil. Leave aside for 20 minutes.
    • Remove flowers from blue liquid.
      Using a strainer, remove flowers from the blue colour water and let it cool.
    • Wash glutinous rice.
      Then, wash glutinous rice until water runs clear and drain well. Divide into 2 equal portions.
    • Soak glutinous rice in blue colour water.
      Soak half portion of the glutinous rice in the blue pea water. Add vinegar to enhance the colour and more water to ensure the rice is fully submerged and soak for an hour.
    • Season the blue colour glutinous rice.
      Then, drain well and then season with salt, ground white pepper, fried garlic and oil prepared earlier. Then set aside.
    • Soak glutinous rice.
      Soak the other portion of the white glutinous rice in water for an hour.
    • Season the white glutinous rice.
      Drain well and season with salt, ground white pepper and fried garlic oil. Set aside for use later. And we are ready to prepare the filling!

    Prepare the Filling:

    • Cube chicken meat into cubes.
      First, cut chicken meat into little cubes.
    • Chop mushrooms into small pieces.
      Soak mushrooms and chop into small pieces.
    • Chop candied winter melon.
      Dice candied winter melon into small cubes.
    • Cut salted egg yolk into small pieces.
      Coarsely chop salted egg yolk into small pieces.
    • Cut screw pine leaves.
      Wash, drain well and cut screw pine leaves into 2 inch strips and set aside.
    • Boil dried chestnuts till soft.
      Next, boil chestnuts in a small pot for about 20 minutes or till soft.
    • Drain and discard skin.
      Drain and discard the skin of chestnuts.
    • Chop coarsely the chestnuts.
      Chop coarsely the chestnuts and set aside.
    • Blend shallots and garlic.
      Then blend or chop shallots and garlic. And we're ready to fry the filling!
    • Cook filling.
      First, saute chopped shallots and garlic till fragrant. Add chicken cubes and fry till meat is cooked.
    • Cook filling.
      Add chopped chestnuts and mushrooms. Next stir in coriander powder, fermented beanpaste, oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, salt and ground white pepper.
    • Stir fry till well combined.
      Stir fry to ensure everything is combined well.
    • Set aside to cool.
      Remove from wok and set aside to cool and we're ready to wrap the dumplings.

    Wrap Dumplings:

    • Wrap Nyonya Dumplings.
      First overlap two bamboo leaves and fold into a cone, without leaving an opening at the bottom.
    • Add glutinous rice.
      Scoop 1 tablespoon each of first white glutinous rice and then followed by blue colour glutinous rice.
    • Add in fillings.
      Add in one tablespoon chicken meat filling, a piece of salted egg yolk and a teaspoon of chopped candied winter melon.
    • Topped with rice and pandan leaves.
      Top with another tablespoon of white glutinous rice followed by 1 tablespoon of blue colour glutinous rice and finally a piece of cut screw pine leave.
    • Wrap the dumpling.
      Then fold the longer side of the leaf as a lid to cover the rice. Make sure you press the tip of the dumpling so that the end is pointed.
    • Wrap dumpling.
      Close the sides of the leaves over the dumpling and fold the ends down to seal.
    • Tie the dumplings.
      Wind the grass strand firmly around the dumpling twice and then seat with 2 easy knots.
    • Cut of leaves and grass strand.
      Cut of excess bamboo leaf and grass strands. Continue the process for the rest of the rice dumplings. And we're ready to cook the dumplings.

    Cook Dumplings:

    • Cook nyonya dumplings.
      First, bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add in some knotted screw pines leaves to enhance the fragrance. Boil the dumplings over medium heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the dumplings are cooked through.
    • Cook dumplings.
      Remove the dumplings from pot once done.
    • Hang to air dry.
      Hang to cool and drip dry before serving.
    • Test for doneness once cooked.
      To check if the dumplings are cooked through, always unwrap one dumplings from the pot and taste to make sure the glutinous rice is thoroughly cooked. And we're done!


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It is advisable to wash and soak the dried bamboo leaves one day before wrapping the dumplings. Keep the unused bamboo leaves submerged in water whilst wrapping as the leaves dry up when out of water. Dumplings can't be wrapped too tight or the dumplings will expand as it cooks. However, the dumplings can't be wrapped too loosely or the glutinous rice and filling may spill out of the bamboo leaves. Cooking the dumplings involve boiling the dumplings in a large pot of water or you can use a pressure cooker which can cut down the cooking time. Normal Method: Lower the dumplings into a pot of boiling water. Add screw pines leaves, cover and boil for 2 hours. Remove and hang to air dry before serving. Using Pressure Cooker: Bring water in pressure cooker to a boil (do not cover). Add in screw pine leaves, lower dumplings,cover and cook over high heat till pressurised. Then lower heat and continue to cook for another 20 minutes. Next, turn of heat and leave dumplings in pressure cooker for another 15 minutes. De-pressurise the pot and remove dumplings to air-dry before serving. These dumplings can be refrigerated or frozen until needed. Just steam them (without thawing) for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Keyword: blue pea flower, dragon boat festival, glutinous rice, nyonya, Zongzi Rice Dumplings

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