Homemade Dragon Boat Festival Dumplings (台山粽子)

I know, it’s days after Dragon Boat Festival…. but hey, I’m about 360 days early here teaching y’all how to make dumplings for the coming year! =) One of my favorite memories with my grandma was watching her make dumplings (粽子). Our ancestors came from Kaiping City, one of the Five counties of Guangdong.  It is the ancestral homeland of many overseas Chinese, when many of the men emigrated to the United States and worked as laborers during the Gold Rush. As a result, the region became a melting pot of ideas and trends brought back by overseas Chinese, such as the Diaolou, which are multi-story towers built to protect each family from bandits. You can easily identify the architectural influences between the east and the west from these towers. Since 2007 they’ve been added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and it’s an amazing place to visit! The Dragon Boat Festival commemorates Qu Yuan, a poet who committed suicide into the Miluo River. The local people who admired him made dumplings with sticky rice and would have dragon boat races so to scare off the fishes as well as to eat the sticky rice dumplings instead of feed off his body. That was the origin of these dumplings. Every region has their own special way of filling and wrapping their dumplings. In this article I’ll tell you how dumplings in my hometown is made. Ingredients: 

  • Bamboo Leaves (Washed, boiled and soaked in water 3-5 days prior to wrapping)
  • Glutinous Rice (Washed then add some oil and salt)
  • Pork Loin (Cut into large strips, marinate in salt 1-2 days prior)
  • Peanuts (Soaked in water, boil to remove skin)
  • Salted Egg Yolks, halved
  • Dried Shrimp (Soaked in water 1 day prior, then drain)
  • Other ingredients you may include: Chinese Preserved Sausages, Mushrooms, Pork Fat.

IMG_2318 To wrap: This takes a little bit of practise… and I’ll try to explain it the best I can here. I hope the photos will help reinforce each step. Step 1-4) Place two leaves one on top of the other, twist and fold in the middle so you get a cone. In the cone you’ll put rice and a little of each of your fillings. IMG_2322IMG_2323 IMG_2325IMG_2328 Step 5-6) Finish off with a little bit more rice, just enough to cover most of your fillings. With your left hand, hold the cone firmly and with the right, fold over the leaves so it covers all the fillings. Use your left thumb to ensure the leaves are folded over from the left as well. IMG_2330 IMG_2331 Step 7-9) Turn the dumpling 90 degrees so the bottom edge is standing straight up on your left palm. With the right hand, fold over the ends of the leaves. Secure and tie with strings. IMG_2333 IMG_2334 IMG_2336 IMG_2359 It’s a great family bonding activity! I actually made it with my dad on father’s day! IMG_2363 Boil in a large pot for one and a half hours. Drain and it’s ready to eat! IMG_2374 IMG_2373 You can refrigerate them for up to 5 days, or you can freeze them and they’ll keep for months! Boil until they’re heated through before consuming. Thanks, hope you like the zongzi from our hometown. Please comment! She cooked.


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