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Nyonya Rice Dumplings (Zong Zi) 娘惹粽子
Nyonya Rice Dumpling has a distinctive sweet and savoury taste from the diced winter melon and meat in the filling. It is also made famous by the signature blue colour patch of rice from the natural blue colour extracted from blue pea flowers.
    Servings Prep Time
    64dumplings 1 1/2hour
    Cook Time
    Servings Prep Time
    64dumplings 1 1/2hour
    Cook Time
    Preparation (Day 1)
    1. Start by preparing the filling for the rice dumplings. First peel and finely chopped garlic.
    2. Also peel and finely slice shallots.
    3. Dice candied winter melon into tiny pieces.
    4. Wash and soak shiitake mushrooms. Then dice the softened mushrooms into small cubes.
    5. Wash, pat dry and cut pork into very small cubes.
    6. Also wash, pat till very dry and dice pork fats into uniform, small cubes.
    7. Using low to medium heat, heat a wok/pan and add in the fat cubes.
    8. As the pan heats up, the fat cubes will start to fry themselves in the sizzling lard oil. Stir and flip the lard pieces occasionally. Fry till the lard pieces turn golden brown.
    9. Using a strainer, filter to separate the lard pieces and the lard oil. We will need them when we fry the filling.
    10. Chop the lard pieces into smaller pieces. Set aside for later use.
    11. In the same wok/pan, add in pork oil. Retain some pork oil to season the rice later. Add in chopped garlic and shallots, fry until fragrant.
    12. Then add in the diced mushrooms and stir fry till well mixed.
    13. Next add in the pork cubes.
    14. Add in pepper, salt and sugar as well. Stir fry until the pork turns opaque.
    15. Then add in the chopped pork lard. Stir to evenly mixed all ingredients.
    16. Next add in dark soy sauce.
    17. Then add in water and stir well.
    18. When everything is well mixed, stir in the cubed candied winter melon.
    19. Cover and leave to simmer over medium low heat till the flavours are combined and the filling is not too wet, about 10 minutes.
    20. Lastly stir in the coriander powder and mix well. At this point, taste to make sure it is flavourful enough. Otherwise, season to taste.
    21. Turn off heat and dish up into a container. Once cooled, cover and leave in refrigerator until ready to use the next day.
    22. Next wash glutinous rice until water runs clear.
    23. Separate the glutinous rice into 2 portions.
    24. Bring blue pea flower and water to a boil. Then leave to cool and strained.
    25. When cooled, add the blue coloured water into the smaller portion of the rice.
    26. Add more water to ensure the rice is fully submerged. Leave to soak overnight.
    27. Add also enough water to the bigger portion of rice and allow to soak overnight.
    28. Next prepare the bamboo leaves by first boiling them for 5 to 10 minutes. Then let the whole pot of leaves to cool down on its own.
    29. Then gently rinse with water. Using a clean cloth, wipe the leaves piece by piece.
    30. Leave to soak overnight together with the bamboo strings as well.
    Wrap Rice Dumplings (Day 2)
    1. Drain the white glutinous rice that was soaked overnight.
    2. Season with salt, white pepper, msg and lard oil prepared earlier. Mix well.
    3. Next drain the soaked blue coloured glutinous rice.
    4. Season and mix well with salt,msg, white pepper and lard oil prepared earlier.
    5. Coarsely chop the salted egg yolks.
    6. Cut the fresh pandan leaves into 2 inch long.
    7. And we’re ready to wrap the dumplings.
    8. To wrap, first overlap 2 bamboo leaves by about 80% of the area. Then fold from the centre to form a cone.
    9. Form a well in the cone by filling with 1 tsp of blue tinted coloured rice.
    10. Then put 1 tbsp of pork filling and 1 tsp of chopped salted egg yolk to form a layer of filling.
    11. Cover neatly with 1 tbsp of white glutinous rice. Press it down gently.
    12. Next top with a piece of pandan leaf for extra fragrance.
    13. I usually weigh the dumpling before wrapping to ensure they are of the same size. Each dumpling weighs about 80g.
    14. Fold the leaf over to cover the top completely and press down to partially cover the sides.
    15. Wrap the edge of the leaves to either left or right side of the rice dumpling. And we’re ready to tie it up with a bamboo string.
    16. To tie the dumpling, wrap it with the bamboo string twice, each time with an easy knot to ensure no loose ends.
    17. Tie the dumplings in groups of ten and we’re now ready to cook them.
    Cook Rice Dumplings (Day 2)
    1. To cook the dumplings, first bring a pot of salted water to a rapid boil over high heat. (You can add a few knotted bunches of pandan leaves for extra fragrance).
    2. Then slowly place the dumplings into the water, making sure they are fully submerged. Cover and cook slowly over medium heat for about 2 hours, depending on size.
    3. Always make sure they are cooked through by unwrapping one of the dumplings in the pot to check for doneness and to taste it.
    4. Once they are cooked, remove from the pot immediately and hang them to remove excess water and cool to room temperature. And we’re done!
    5. These rice dumplings are best eaten hot. And the greatest accompaniment is a cup of freshly brewed hot chinese tea. Enjoy and Happy Dumpling Festival!
    Recipe Notes

    Season the soaked rice well with oil as this will ensure the rice will not stick to the bamboo leaves upon unwrapping it.

    Be generous with the seasonings for the filling as the rice will balance out the sweetness and saltiness from the filling so the final taste will be just nice.

    Do not tie the dumplings too tightly to allow the glutinous rice to cook well.

    It pressure cooker is used to cook the rice dumplings, then pressure cook for about 30 minutes.

    Always keep the extra dumplings in the FREEZER and reheat in steamer only when needed.

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