Zongzi | Rice Dumpling (粽子)

The dragon boat festival (端午节)is this Thursday 6/25. Our tradition is to eat Zongzi | Rice Dumpling (粽子).

I’ll try to show how to make Zongzi in this post. But before we start, I have to warn you that this food is very challenging for our patience 😉

Ingredients you need:

  • glutinous rice
  • reed leaves
  • cotton string


  • chicken thighs
  • red beans
  • dates

⏳~24 hours before making:

  • soak the reed leaves in water
  • cut the chicken thighs into small pieces, season with 3tbsp soy sauce, 1tbsp sugar, 1.5 tbsp cooking wine, 1/2 tsp 五香粉,1/2 tsp white pepper, 1 tbsp sesame oil, and put in refrigerator.

⏳~2 hours before making

  • soak 3 cups of glutinous rice in water
  • soak half cup of red beans in water
  • soak about 20 dried shiitake mushrooms or use fresh ones
  • soak about 20 dates in water

⌛Okay, now we are ready to make it!

Split the glutinous rice to two portion:

  • one portion add 2tbsp soy sauce and 1tsp sugar. If you have time, you can also fry it with oil to make it a bit more tasty.
  • one portion add 2tbsp sugar

There are many different ways to make Zongzi. Today, I’ll show two ways my family often use. It’s a bit hard to explain in words. Here are some pictures, and hopefully you can get an idea 😇


  • put two reed leaves together, cut the hard part at the bottom, fold up from the right side (picture 1)
  • put rice at the bottom, add filling (chicken + shittake mudroom, or red beans, or dates), then add rice to cover (picture 2)
  • press the two sides in while fold down the leaves (picture 2)
  • fold down and wrap around (picture 3)
  • wrap with the cotton string and tight (picture 4)

小脚棕 | 小三角棕

  • one reed leaf, fold and roll from the middle, and shape it like the first picture below.
  • other steps are similar as 三角棕
  • the finish looks like the second picture below.

It may feel hard at the beginning. Try a few and you will get the feel. See I made this whole batch in about an hour 🙂

Now it’s time to boil it. Two options:

  • boil in a big pot on the stove: put Zongzi in after water boil, after ~2 minutes, turn down the heat and let’s cook for 2 ~ 3 hours
  • use an instant pot: meat/stew setting, 45 minutes.

😍 After so much hard working, finally can enjoy it now! It tastes so much like home …

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