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Recipe: Red Bean and Lotus Dumplings


Ingredients (Makes 8):

500 g glutinous rice, soaked overnight

250 g red beans, soaked overnight

100 g lotus seeds, soaked overnight

16 dried bamboo leaves, soaked in lots of hot water

8 lengths of reeds, or strings (70 cms long)


1. Drain the soaked rice and wash thoroughly, discarding any grit or bits you may find. Empty the rice into a colander or sieve to drain.

2. Wash the soaked red beans and discard any that are floating, and pick out bits of dried pods, sticks and stones.

3. Squeeze each soaked lotus nut slightly and remove the bitter shoot in the middle. Do this, because if you leave one bitter shoot in, it spoils the taste of the whole dumpling.

4. Shake out the bamboo leaves and rinse in water, using a cloth to clean each one on both sides.

5. Assemble the dumplings. Mix the rice and red beans together.

6. Form a cone by folding the bamboo leaf in the middle so that you are holding both ends in one hand. Spoon some rice and red bean mixture into the cavity and add four or five lotus nuts. Add another spoonful of rice and beans.

7. Cradling the cone in one hand, fold over the ends of the leaf to form the base of the cone and flip over. Tap the filling firmly and neatly fold the edges around the cone. Tie with a length of reed or string.

8. When you have completed all the dumplings, tie them up in a bundle and boil for at least three hours, filling up the pot with hot water as you go. Remove the dumplings and leave to dry off before you open them. Otherwise, the filling will disintegrate. Dumplings can be reheated by steaming over high heat.

9. Serve with white sugar or honey to dip in.

Food notes:

If wrestling with bamboo leaves and reeds is beyond you, get some pretty rice bowls and pack in the mixture and lotus nuts. Steam over high heat for two hours, turn out on a plate and serve. It tastes just as good!

Editor: Yang Xin