Compared to Beijing’s big sticky rice dumpling, Cantonese sticky rice dumpling is smaller in size. It has a very weird but defined shape. It has 4 vertices and is composed of 4 triangular faces, looking like a twisted pillow. There isn’t a name that defines this type of structure, so most people call it a pillow shape. In some regions in Guangdong, such as Zhaoqing, you can see triangular-based pyramid shaped rice dumplings as well.
There are many variations in Cantonese zongzi, mostly classified into two categories – the sweet one and the salty one. The sweet one contains Jianshui Joong (alkaline water sticky rice dumpling) and Dousha Joong(bean paste sticky rice dumpling). They can be made of Lotus seed paste, mung bean paste, red bean paste, chestnut paste, jujube paste, walnut, etc. The salty one that people mostly refer to is Meat Joong, filling with ham, fresh pork belly, salted egg yolk, roast chicken, roast pork, roast duck, chestnuts, mushrooms, shrimp, etc.
The meat joong is the most common glutinous rice dumpling in Guangdong. It is also the most favored one because of its abundant fillings. With glutinous rice being the main ingredient, meat joong is stuffed with plenty of peeled mung beans, some fat pork, scallops, mushrooms, chestnuts and an egg yolk. It is wrapped tightly in layers of reed leaves and bound up in vimineous aquatic weed.
Recipe for Meat Joong
***For 20 dumplings (each about 170 grams）
- 60 pieces bamboo leaves and some kitchen string
- 1 kg glutinous rice
- Seasonings: 1½ Tbsp salt, 2 tsp sugar, 1½ Tbsp oil
- 600 gm peeled mung beans
- Seasonings: 3 tsp salt, 2 tsp sugar, 2 tsp oil
- 350 gm pork belly, no skin
- 8 shiitake mushrooms, soaked and shredded
- Seasonings: ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp sugar
- 10 salted egg yolks (store-bought or homemade), halved
- Cut the pork belly into chunks, about 3cm in size. Mix with marinade and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days. Sauté the mushrooms until aromatic. Mix with the seasonings. Set aside.
- Rinse mung beans and rice separately. Soak mung beans for at least 4 hours or overnight. Drain well and mix with seasonings. Soak rice for at least 1 hour. Drain well and mix with seasonings.
- Soak bamboo leaves one day ahead or overnight until softened. Use a sponge or clean cloth to wipe clean both sides of each bamboo leaf. Carefully place the leaves into a large pot. Pour boiling water to cover all the leaves. Add about 1 tablespoon of oil. Cook over high heat. Bring it to a boil. Remove from the heat. Keep the lid on and let it cool down or until warm. (Remark: By doing this, the bamboo leaves won’t break easily while wrapping.)
- To wrap dumplings, please refer to this tutorial video. Layer two leaves, with the smooth sides up and form a cone. Add the fillings in this order: 1 heaped tablespoon of rice, 1 heaped tablespoon of mung beans, pork belly, mushrooms and salted egg yolk, then followed by 1 heaped tablespoon of mung beans and 1 heaped tablespoon of rice. Add another leaf around the edge of the cone to make the edge wider. Fold the leaf towards the middle, upper remaining part of the leaves towards the back. Use kitchen string to wrap tightly around the dumpling. Repeat this step to finish wrapping the rest of the dumplings.
- Place the dumplings in a large pot. Pour boiling water to cover all the dumplings. Cook over high-medium heat for 3 hours. Drain out the dumplings and let them cool down.
Recipe Credit: Christine Ho