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Zongzi / Rice dumplings from Northern Taiwan

Updated: Jan 30

Chinese Cuisine

The traditional Chinese savory sticky rice treats with vegetarian meat, peanuts, shiitake mushrooms, salted duck egg yolk, and other ingredients eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival. The Northern-style rice dumpling tastes chewy and heavy.


Prep Time: 1d | Cook Time: >1h | Total Time: 1.5d | Servings: 10



· 22 dried bamboo leaves (2 leaves per zongzi, two ends trimmed)

· 600g uncooked short-grain sticky rice (also called glutinous rice, or "sweet rice")

· 2 tablespoons light soy sauce

· 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

· 2/3 cup raw peanuts

· 600g vegetarian meat (cut into 10 equal pieces)

· 10 chestnuts

· 10 shiitake mushrooms

· 1/2 teaspoon sugar

· 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

· 2 teaspoons sesame oil

· ½ cup water

· 5 salted egg yolks

· 12 cooking strings (125cm/50 inches each)


Prepare Fillings

1. First, soak the leaves overnight. The next day, wash and rinse each leaf front and back, keeping them in a large bowl or tub of water until wrapping time, so they don’t dry out.

2. Soak the sticky rice overnight. The next day, drain thoroughly and steam semi-cooked. Mix the semi-cooked rice with 2 tablespoons light soy sauce and 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a large bowl and set aside.

3. Soak the peanuts overnight. The next day, boil for 5 minutes, drain, and set aside.

4. Soak the chestnuts overnight. The next day, steam and set aside.

5. Heat the sesame oil in a wok over medium heat, stir-fry shiitake mushrooms with 2 teaspoons light soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, white pepper to bring out the flavor, and add in vegetarian meat. Then, cover the wok with the lid, and cook for 5-10 minutes until the liquid is gone. Remove from the wok and let it cool. (The goal of this step is to make the fillings slightly too salty because the rice will absorb the excess salt, giving the zongzi its distinctive savory, umami flavor.)

6. Heat the egg yolks with the oven to set the lowest setting (60C/fan 40C/gas 1 /4 is ideal) for a few minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Set aside.

Wrap the Zongzi

1. Soak the dried bamboo leaves and the cooking strings in water fo