Chicken & Mushroom / Red Bean & Chocolate Zongzi – Recipe

On the festival 端午节 (Duānwǔ Jié, also known as the Dragon Boat Festival), traditionally everyone eats 粽子zòngzi: glutinous rice dumplings with various fillings wrapped in bamboo leaves.

A friend recently visited from the US and brought me a huge bag of dark chocolate chips, and I've been itching to use them for a while now. I decided to mix some in with store-bought red bean paste: it was a massive success. The chocolate melted into the red bean paste in pockets when I cooked the zongzi, and the flavours went together perfectly.

You can buy dried bamboo leaves at some Chinese supermarkets. When you soak them, they go back to being flexible and green. Make sure you soak and rinse them really well though, or they can give the zongzi a sour taste and smell.

Before and after soaking.

I also made a savoury chicken and shitake mushroom filling just to have a bit of variety. Hey, I can't live off dessert you know (alas).

This recipe makes about 14 zongzi. Need a visual? Check out my at-a-glance YouTube recipe tutorial video:

Ready? Let's go.

To Wrap:

1 bundle of bamboo leaves, tough stalks and pointy ends snipped off, soaked overnight in water, then washed and rinsed thoroughly with fresh water


350g glutinous rice, soaked for 30 minutes and drained stirred with:
1tsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Savoury Filling:

2 chicken thigh fillets, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 x 2" piece ginger, minced
1 tsp ground Chinese five spice
1 tbsp dark soya sauce
1 tbsp light soya sauce
1 tbsp shaoxing wine
1/2 tbsp Chinkiang (black rice) vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp kecap manis
4 large spring onions, chopped
75g shitake mushrooms, chopped
2 tbsp sesame oil, for frying

Sweet Filling:

5 tbsp pre-made chunky red bean paste, stirred with:
3 tbsp dark chocolate chips


1. Stir the chopped chicken, five spice, garlic, ginger, soya sauces, shaoxing wine, vinegar and sugar together in a bowl and set aside to marinade for 30 minutes.

2. Heat a wok until smoking hot, add the oil, and stir fry the marinated chicken until seared all over. Add the chopped mushrooms and onions, and cook for about 5 minutes on a high heat, stirring continuously. Take off the heat and leave to cool a little.

3. To make the parcels, take two leaves and place them back to back top to bottom. Fold them to create a cone, put a little rice at the bottom, a little of the sweet or savoury filling in the middle, and top with more rice.

4. Fold the top of the leaves down like a lid, fold the rest of the excess leaves to create the zongzi shape, and tie up with cotton yarn.

5. Place the zongzi in separate large saucepans (one for sweet, one for savoury), top with water and bring to the boil. Cover with lids and boil for about 1.5 hours to cook the rice. Drain and serve hot.

Enjoy, and have fun!


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