Pork Zongzi: Steamed Bamboo Leaf Glutinous Rice

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(Original Post Date:  October 24, 2010)

Zongzi (Chimaki in Japanese) are steamed bamboo leaf packets filled with glutinous rice and various flavorings.  They can be sweet or savory – and the leaves used can also vary.  If you cannot find bamboo leaves, you can use dried banana leaves from the Asian Market instead.

So far, I’ve made Zongzi twice, and the first time, it was a real challenge…  It was kind of awkward trying to fold the leaves together, fill them properly, and tie them.  But after doing a google search for “how to wrap zongzi,” I found a few youtube videos demonstrating the proper technique.


Pork Zongzi:

  • 20 dried bamboo or banana leaves
  • 2 1/2 c. glutinous rice (“sweet rice” or mochigome)
  • 1 lb. pork shoulder (pork “butt”)
  • 1 T. canola oil, divided
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/4 c. soy sauce
  • 4-5 slices ginger
  • 1 green onion stalk
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/2 tsp. szechuan peppercorn
  • 3 T. brown sugar
  • 2/3 c. raw baby shrimp (or chopped shrimp)
  • 10 dried shitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 c. peanuts
  • 1 can quail eggs (optional)

1.  Rinse the bamboo leaves in cold water.  Then soak the leaves for several hours in hot tap water until moist and flexible.  Cook the glutinous rice in a rice cooker, or according to package directions.

2.  Combine the water, soy sauce, ginger, star anise, szechuan peppercorn, and green onion.

3.  Heat 1/2 T. of oil in a medium pot.  Add the pork, and brown on each side.

4.  Add the brown sugar, then add the soy sauce mixture.








5.  Add 1 extra cup of water, the peanuts, and the quail eggs, then simmer (covered) on low for 1 hour.



6.  While the pork is cooking, soak the dried shitake mushrooms in hot tap water for 30 minutes.  Weigh down the top to keep the mushrooms from floating.  When rehydrated, slice into long thin strips.







7.  If you can’t find baby shrimp, use regular shrimp and cut into small pieces.

8.  Once the pork is cooked, remove the pork pieces to a cutting board to cool.  Remove the quail eggs and cooked peanuts, and strain the remaining liquid to remove all the spices.


9.  Cut the cooled pork into small cubes, discarding any pieces of fat.  Return the pork to the strained cooking liquid.

10. Heat the remaining oil in a large wok.  Add the mushrooms and shrimp, stir fry for 2-3 minutes over high heat.

11.  Add the glutinous rice, peanuts, and the pork/broth mixture.

12.  Mix and cook over high heat for 2-3 minutes, until the extra moisture has been absorbed.

13.  To assemble the Zongzi, overlap two leaves, pointy ends towards the center.

14.  Hold the leaves together, and 1/3 the way from the left, gently bend the leaves towards you and form a cone.








15.  Fill the cone half way with the rice mixture, add one or two quail eggs if desired.  Then fill the cone completely with more rice mixture.









16.  Fold the top of the leaf over the filling, and wrap the remaining end around the side.  Using cotton kitchen string, tie the zongzi to secure.

17.  Continue until all of the remaining filling is gone.  It’s a little tricky to form neat perfect pyramids… but it can be done once you get the hang of it.

18.   Set about 3 inches of water to boil in a steamer pot.  Place the zongzi into the steamer basket, and cover with lid.  Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, and continue to steam for 1 1/2 hours until done.

19.  Serve hot.  Wrap leftovers in plastic wrap, and microwave for a few minutes to reheat.


  1. Albert says:

    Do you have a recipe for the sweet coconut filling? I love them and I want to try making some myself but I can’t seem to find a recipe anywhere!

    • Mika Mika says:

      I’m sorry – I’ve never had that version, but it sounds awesome! If I ever get to taste the coconut version, I’ll try to figure it out. :)