Sunday, June 13, 2010

Rice Dumpling (粽子 - 端午节)

Duan Wu Jie is a widely celebrated festival amongst the Chinese。 Qu Yuan was an important minister back in Chu Kingdom in ancient China. He had been known for his loyalty for the emperor of Chu, and loved his country greatly. However, His Majesty had not taken Qu Yuan's advice seriously, and he eventually got himself trapped and captured in a foreign land by his enemies, which then lead to his own death.

Sad and angry at the corrupted, dying Kingdom, Qu Yuan tied himself to a big rock and threw himself into the River of Puo Luo. The people then made rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves and threw them into the river. They believed this would stop the fish from eating Qu Yuan's body. Some would even row down stream in a boat, beating drums and shouting out loud in the hope to scare the fish away (it was believed that it is how the Dragon Boat event is related to the festival.

Since then, the 5th day of the 5th month in the Chinese calendar has been set as Duan Wu Festival to remember the patriotic poet, Qu Yuan.

I like Rice Dumpling, especially when you eat it straight from the bamboo leaf. One could smell the fragrant of the leaf within each bite of the rice dumpling

Dumpling Rice Ingredients (make 18 pcs)

Ingredients A
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
2 tbsp cooking oil
20 gm fine salt
20 gm coarse sugar
1 kg glutinous rice (wash and soak at least 4 hours and drain away the water)
1 tsp Five spice powder
1 tbsp dark soya sauce
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper

Ingredients B

100 gm of dried chestnut (washed and soak overnight)
1 tsp of sugar
Ingredients C
500 gm of pork belly (washed, cut into 18 pcs and marinate overnight with seasonings)
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp dark soya sauce
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tbsp five spice powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp sugar
4 clove of garlic (chopped)

Ingredients D
18 pcs of dried mushrooms (soak to soften, drained and cut into half)
Ingredients E
40 gm dried shrimps (washed, soak to soften and drained)
2 clove of garlic (chopped)
36 pcs bamboo leaves (soaked overnight, washed and use a cloth to dry it).
18 raffia strands or Nylon strings
  1. Soak the mushroom till soft.
  2. Soak the chestnut and remove the skin. Add two tsp of sugar and put to steam for half an hour
  3. Season the pork belly with the pork seasoning overnight (put in the fridge). Heat up the cooking oil, stir-fry the garlic till fragrant and mix well .
  4. Heat up the cooking oil, stir-fry the garlic till fragrant, add in rice and dumpling rice seasoning to season, stir-fry till fragrant. set aside
  5. Soak the dried prawn for 15 mins. Heat up the cooking oil, pour in the dried prawn and stir-fry till fragrant. remove and set aside for use.
  6. Use 2 pcs of bamboo leaves to fold into a cone. Place in 2 tbsp pre-fried glutinous rice. Dig a well in the centre, add in fillings and cover with two tbsp glutinous rice. Wrap us and tie with the strings.
  7. Bring a pot of water to boil, drop in pre-wrapped dumplings, cover and simmer over low flame for 2 hours till well cooked, dish and drained.
Cooking Tips
During the process of simmering/cooking dumplings, when more water is needed, remember to use boiling water only.


  1. Hi Food cafe, thanks for sharing the info on Rice Dumpling (粽子 - 端午节). Know something connected to Chu Yuan without the details. I've linked your post to mine on rice dumplings.