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Savoury Dumpling(Zhang)

The last time I eat Zhang(dumpling) was at my mom's home in Kuala Lumpur,2 months ago.I watch how my mom wrapped zhang and try one myself but find it's really challenging to wrap a good one without leakage when boiling.I think to wrap zhang really need the skill and experience.But the most important is how good is the zhang infusion taste when we take the first bite,right?.
The Zhang (dumpling)festival is celebrated on the 5th of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar .Yeah.. I was weeks late but it's OK,I make Zhang for fun.Zongzi is the most popular food for Dragon Boat Festival. Zongzi is a special kind of dumpling. It is usually made of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves. Fresh bamboo leaves are the best for the wrapping since the taste and smell of the fresh bamboo leaves is part of zongzi. Unfortunately fresh bamboo leaves are hard to find so I have to find dried bamboo leaves in Chinatown..
The most interesting and fun filled time when I was able to tie the perfect Zhang!At last I learn the art of tying my own dumplings ,it's not perfect but editable! .There are few type of zhang that my mom wrap for the festival but I just whack my own recipe since I can't find some of the ingredients at last minutes.
Nonya Dumplings -A family recipe that has proven to be immensely popular!!!They are fragrant and scrumptious with just the right balance of sweetness and saltiness.
Hokkien Dumplings -Chunks of delicious meat marinated in peppered aromatic sauce with fragrant chestnuts and enclosed in fragrant glutinous rice.
Crystal Dumplings(Kee Zhangs)- These are served with a gula melaka sauce or kaya. A must have during the dumpling festival.
Mine Zhang are done of the above!!Here are my own recipe:

Yield 20 dumplings


30 pcs dried bamboo leaves(boiled for 1 hour)

3 cups glutinous rice(soaked overnight and drained)

5-6 cloves garlic(minced)

1 tsp 5 spice powder

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp dark soy(caramel) sauce

1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp oil


300 gm or 3 pc boneless breast chicken

20 pc dried oyster(soaked overnight)*optional*

15 pc shitake mushroom(soaked and sliced)

5-6 cloves fresh garlic/shallot(minced)

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp caramel soy sauce

1 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp 5 spice powder


Prepared bamboo leaves and plastic string (or hemp) in advance.Boiled the leaves for an hour and clean again with cold water before drained.Set aside.

1:Heat up 2 tbsp oil,saute minced garlic until fragrant,add glutinous rice and all seasoning (A) and stir-fry until well mixed.Taste and dish up,set aside in a big bowl.

2:Heat up 1 tbsp oil,saute with minced garlic until fragrant.Add on boneless breast,shitake mushroom,oyster and all the seasoning,stir fried until mixed well.(don't have to dry up ,just half cook since it's going to boil for hours).dish up and set aside in another big bowl.

Wrapping method:

1:Use 2 pieces of bamboo leaves to fold into a cone shape.Fill in 1/2 tbsp glutinous rice,one piece of chicken,one piece mushroom and one oyster .Top with another 1/2 tbsp glutinous rice to cover the ingredients.

2:Press the rice firm and cover the extended ends of leaves an form into the shape of triangle.Tie and secure with plastic string.(I don't have hemp) .Repeat the wrapping procedure until all the glutinous rice finish.

3:Prepared 4 liter water in boiling pot,pot must big enough to cook all the dumpling.

4:When the water is rolling boil ,add in the whole bunch of dumpling,pour in more water to cover all the dumpling if necessary.Boil the dumpling for 3-4 hours.

5:Removed the dumpling from the pot and hang up to drip dry.Serve it hot or warm.

I like to eat my zhang(dumpling) with chili sauce.How about you?


The dumplings must be immersed in boiling water all the time during cooking.If not some part of the rice is still raw.You can be creative with your own ingredients,don't have to be traditional zhang recipe.You notice I didn't have pork or pork belly in my zhang,the reason I don't have any pork in hand,so I subtitues with boneless chicken.You can add dried shrimp,chestnut,spicy sambal or any meat. I wrapped 20 pieces zhang with above ingredients but 3 pieces of my zhang open during boiling.That mean I still need more practise ,practise and practise!!..Enjoy!!

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Anonymous said...
June 21, 2008 at 9:50 AM

Good job Lesley. Its hard wrapping that chang.. and you did very well for your first time. I daren't even try cos I remember when I was young and helping my mom. I wrapped so badly I daren't try.

Anonymous said...
June 21, 2008 at 11:53 AM

Well done! You did an excellent job considering this was your first time. Nice cone shape you have there and can I have some pleaseeeee!

Anonymous said...
June 22, 2008 at 12:31 AM

thank you:).yes,it's not an east task especially wrapping the bamboo leave...but I tried!!hahaha!!.I'm sure the ready make is much easier but I never buy one from Chinatown make by people from Big Six,more rice than the "lui"..Try few time,maybe you will get better,who know,rite?I'm sure your children will love your homemade zhang!

Thank you*blushing*.I still need to learn from sifu especially the wrapping skill.Luckily the bamboo leaves is cheap here,so I just throw away if it's tore.I gave some to my neighbour today.Catch it,I'm going to throw you some"hop"!hahaha!!

Anonymous said...
June 22, 2008 at 7:04 AM

walio looks so yummy! Sunny's bro make some lotus leaf zhang for us !

Anonymous said...
June 23, 2008 at 2:16 AM

wow! Bravo! You are really brave to venture into it. A lot of work to make a chang. My mom makes only Nonya type and I miss eating her chang for many years already :(

Anonymous said...
June 24, 2008 at 11:21 AM

you did good with wrapping in a cone shape. I couldn't even imagine how to do it. This recipe is too difficult for me the beginner. ;-)

Anonymous said...
June 24, 2008 at 12:34 PM

Love yr dumplings. Missed my sis. savoury dumpling this year. I cannot master the wrapping skills after so many tries.

Anonymous said...
June 28, 2008 at 9:26 PM

Sid ,can you save some Sunny lotus for me?:)

cooking ninja:
Thank you:)) yes I always like to try out new stuffs especially cooking and baking!

Do you really wanna to try making chang?.At first try plain rice to wrap for beginner,so you won't waste if it's not succese.It's fun but alot of hard work.Can you get bamboo leaves in FL?.If not let me me:))

sweet jasmine:
Yes I understand alot of ppls can cook and bake but can't master the skill of wrapping zhang!! I'm only of them too:))

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About the Author:

Hi!! My name is Lesley and I'm a simple SAHM(stay at home mom) who currantly live in Long Island,New York with my daughter Mishu and hubby Eliot .I'm Malaysian who live in US and A for many many moon and I'm also a person who love to eat, cook and bake. If you have any suggestions ,questions or comments please feel free to email me at beachlover1917(at)yahoo(dot)com. To know more about my life or my kitchen you can always hop over to my other 2 blog.