Treats for your inner dragon

China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-23 07:45

Savory rice dumplings

Ingredients (makes 30):

2 kg glutinous rice, washed and soaked

500 g belly pork, cut into chunks

100 g pork fat, cubed

300 g dried chestnuts, soaked

50 g dried prawns, soaked

50 g dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked and sliced

2 whole bulbs garlic, skinned and chopped

2 bundles 10 cm wide bamboo leaves, plus raffia/reeds to tie

15 salted egg yolks (optional), halved

Soy sauce, five-spice powder, salt and pepper to taste


Soak and clean bamboo leaves. Trim off hard stems and tips. Soak the dried raffia so they become pliable. Gather into bunches of 10 strings and tie one end with a large knot.

Marinate belly pork with good quality soy sauce and five-spice powder, salt and pepper.

Divide pork fat cubes into two portions. Marinate half with five-spice powder. Place the other half into a medium-hot pan, and start rendering the fat. When you have about two tablespoons oil, add the chopped garlic and stir fry till garlic turns golden. Drain garlic. Set aside.

In remaining oil, fry the mushrooms till fragrant. Set aside. Add belly pork and fry in oil with a little garlic added. Add more soy sauce. Drain belly pork pieces and set aside.

Keep pan juices. Add more garlic into pan. Add the rice and stir well so that the grains are lightly colored with soy sauce and flavored with garlic. Remove from heat and place the rice in a big pot.

Wrapping the dumplings:

Make a fold halfway in the bamboo leaf, and bring the two halves together so a cone is created.

Hold the leaf by its two edges, add one tablespoon of rice. Add chestnut, mushroom, belly pork, salted egg yolk if using, some dried prawns and a piece of five-spice marinated pork fat. Cover filling with more rice.

Cupping the bamboo leaf and shaping it between thumb and forefinger, use your other hand to fold the leaf over the top, pressing down. This is the base of the pyramid.

Flip the cone over, and wrap the ends of the leaf around and about the rice cone.

Holding the completed cone firmly in one hand, use a raffia string and wrap around the sides, tying it with a "fisherman's knot".

When you have completed bunches of 10, suspend the dumpling with a long handled wooden spoon over a large pot of boiling water for three to four hours. The dumplings must have enough room to move around in the water so don't try to cramp too many in. Remember to top up with boiling water if the level falls low. It must cover dumplings completely. (Larger dumplings need longer cooking time.)

When dumplings are cooked, hang them up to dry off completely before storing them.

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