Hakka mochi zhongzi 客家粄粽

Ker ja bun zong 客家粄粽

Zhongzi can be written as 子 or 糭子

Today is Duan Wu Festival 端午節 or Dragon Boat Festival. The origin and story behind this festival see Wiki. Zhongzi or leaf wrapped dumplings are a must to be eaten during this festival.

There are few ways to wrap zhongzi. Most people use bamboo leaves, available dried in most countries and fresh is available in some S E Asian countries. Other leaves may be used. Nyonya style zhongzi sometime added pandan leaves mainly to add flavour. Shapes of zhongzi, the most common are triangular shape and a longish pillow shape. I always wrap mine in triangular shape.

These are different zhongzi recipes posted previously. More detailed pictures available for wrapping.

Five spice, peanut and pork zhongzi
Lye zhongzi

Today recipe is a different type of zhongzi made with a rice flour dough than the usual with glutinous rice grains. This is a Hakka delicacy called bun zong 粄粽 or guo zong 粿粽.

The resulting dumplings pastry is similar in texture to mochi. Soft and chewy.

Here is the recipe

500g glutinous rice flour 糯米粉
500g* rice flour 粘米粉
500ml boiling water
1 rounded tsp salt
2 tbsp fried garlic oil/ fried shallot oil/ plain cooking oil
extra room temp./ tap water (about 180 – 200ml)

*For a more chewy pastry texture can reduce amount of rice flour and increase glutinous rice flour to 2 : 3 or even 1 : 3. Test it yourself how chewy you like the pastry. More rice flour will reduce the chewiness. For this recipe I was using 1 : 1.

Mix glutinous rice flour. Pour and measure boiling water into a jug, stir in salt to dissolve. Slowly stir the flour and pour in boiling water. The dough should look lumpy. Cover and leave to cool. When cool enough handle, scrape all the dough lumps and dry flour onto a working board. Add oil and start kneading. Slowly add in the cold water a little at a time till a soft and fairly sticky dough is formed. Scrape the dough off hands and scrape the working area clean. Transfer dough into a bowl. Wipe clean the working board. Brush working area/board with some plain cooking oil. Gently knead till the dough is smooth. Divide the dough into 18 – 19 pieces, each around 85 – 95g.  Roll each lump into a ball. Cover with clean tea towel.

For the filling (prepare filling before making the dough)

500g lean belly pork
1 cup raw peanuts (with or without skin)
50g dried shrimps
preserved raddish/ chai bo
about 30 – 40g dried shitake mushrooms
5 – 6 shallots (about 100g)
3 – 4 cloves garlic
light soy sauce
dark soy sauce
dash of cooking wine
five spice powder
water (can use peanut boiling water)
slackened cornflour/cornstarch (1 tbsp cornflour with 1/2 cup of water)
cooking oil


  • Boil/simmer peanuts for about 30 minutes. Drain and leave to cool. Retain boiling water to cook the meat mixture later. 
  • Peel and slice shallots. Fry with 1/2 cup of oil till golden brown. Pour the lot through a sieve and collect oil in a bowl. Drain well.
  • Soak mushroom till softened and cut into small pieces. Can retain soaking water to cook meat mixture. Cut mushroom into small pieces.
  • Slice/roughly chop the preserved raddish. Rinse and squeeze dry to remove some of the saltiness. 
  • Soak dried shrimps for about 5 minutes. Drain and roughly chopped. 
  • Cut pork into tiny chunks. Marinate with 2 tbsp light soy, 1 tbsp dark soy and 1 tbsp five spice powder. Leave aside for about 30 minutes or 1 hour. 
  • Chop garlic
  • When everything is prepared. Now cook the filling. Fry garlic with a little oil. Then add all the solid ingredients except meat and fried shallot. Stir fry for few minutes till heated through and fragrant. Stir in fried shallot. Season with some dark soy and a bit more five spice powder. Remove and set aside. Heat a little oil, stir fry the meat. Stir till the meat is drying up and meat is lightly caramelised. Add dash of dark soy, dash of cooking wine and 1 cup of water/liquid (peanut cooking water/ mushroom soaking water/ plain water). Simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the remaining precooked ingredients, stir till heated through and sauce is absorbed. Add slackened cornflour, stir till thickened. Remove, cover and leave to cool. 

To prepare the wrapping leaves

Soak about 45 dried bamboo leaves with tap hot water till softened. Then boil in a large pot or wok for about 15 – 20 minutes till pliable. Fold the leaves into half during boiling, weigh down with something heavy. Leave in the water till ready to use. 

To prepare the strings

Tie a bundle a strings (each about 50 – 60cm long). Tie this bundle onto a door knob or kitchen cupboard handle.

Dough, string bundles, filling, oil and soaked leaves.

To wrap dumpling part 1

  • Brush a small area of the working area/ board lightly with cooking oil
  • Take a lump of dough, flatten on the oiled surface to a round disc about 5mm thick.
  • Lift up the disc onto one palm, gently pinch the edge thinner than the centre.
  • The final size of the disc is about the size of palm, about 10cm wide.
  • Add a pile of filling onto the dough, about 2 – 3 heap tbsp. 
  • Wrap dumpling like a baozi. Pleat and gather the pastry edge to form a ball. Smooth rough edges with finger. Brush the surface of the dumpling lightly with oil. If the dumpling break and too thin on any one spot, seal with a small piece of dough, smoothen with finger.
  • Continue wrapping all the dumplings. Cover to prevent from drying.

The next step is to wrap with bamboo leaves

  • Take a pastry wrapped dumpling, gently form it into a bell shape with one end pointy. 
  • Take two pieces of leaves, cut off the hard stem at one end. Rub and dry leaves with clean tea towel.
  • Stack the two leaves together. Twist at one end to form a cup.
  • Put the dumpling into the cup, with pointed end facing down. Gently press the dumpling to mould into the cup. Flatten the top suface.
  • Fold the leaves (see slide show) to wrap dumpling into a triagular dumpling.
  • Tie with string, not too tied. The dumplings will expand during steaming. 
  • When all the dumpling are wrapped with leaves, they are ready for cooking. 
Cooked/steamed dumplings

To cook the dumplings

Steam the dumpling for about 50 min – 1 hour. 

When done. Remove and cover. Leave to cool.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Put remaining in fridge or pack into freezer.

To reheat. steam till heated through. If frozen defrost before steaming. 

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