These red bean zongzi, also known as sticky rice dumplings, are a treat enjoyed during Dragon Boat Festival. They are delicious with a some honey or sugar, and they are great for breakfast, snack, or dessert! In the post above, we included step-by-step-photos with instructions so that you can make it with ease, even if you are a beginner.
Soak the glutinous rice, azuki red beans, and bamboo leaves, each in their own bowls, for at least 6 hours or overnight in the fridge.
After soaking, drain the glutinous rice and give it a couple of rinses to get rid of excess starch. Drain the azuki beans and add it to the glutinous rice. Give it a mix to roughly distribute the beans.
For the bamboo leaves, drain the water and use a clean dish towel or soft sponge to gently wipe down both sides of each leaf. Repeat with all the leaves, then give them a final rinse. Keep the leaves in a large bowl of water until ready to use to prevent them from drying out.
Make the Zongzi (sticky rice dumplings):
Assemble your zongzi wrapping station by preparing 12 pieces of butcher's twine, each about 36 inches long. Drain the bamboo leaves and have the glutinous rice and beans near you. Also prepare a chopstick and a spoon.
Follow the step-by-step photos and instructions in the post above to wrap the zongzi. Make sure to secure the butcher's twine tightly around the wrapped zongzi so that water doesn't enter the rice dumpling while cooking. After securing the rice dumpling, you can cut off the extra stem that sticks out.
Once all the sticky rice dumplings have been assembled and tied, collect them by the leftover butcher's twine. Tightly knot the twines together for easy handling.
Instant Pot method:
Place all the zongzi into the inner pot of the Instant Pot and fill it with enough water to cover all of the rice dumplings or up to the max line. Close the lid on the Instant Pot and secure the vent nozzle to "SEAL".
Select the "pressure cook" option and let the rice dumplings pressure cook on high for 30 minutes.
Once the time is up, let the Instant Pot natural release for about 10 minutes. Then, manually release the remaining steam. It'll be VERY HOT so be careful! Use a chopstick or spoon to help release the steam.
Carefully remove the rice dumplings using the knot created and set aside to let cool.
In a large pot, fill it with enough water to completely cover all of the rice dumplings. Bring the water to a boil.
Gently place rice dumplings into the boiling water and let it come back to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to keep the water at a gently simmer with the lid on. Let the rice dumplings simmer for about 3 hours, or until the rice and the azuki beans are cooked through.
Carefully remove the rice dumplings out of the pot and set them aside to let cool.
Serve the zongzi:
Once the rice dumplings have cooled down a little, untie however many you are eating. Unwrap the zongzi by following the folds. Enjoy the zongzi by dipping in some sugar or drizzled with some honey.
Please refer to the post for step by step zongzi wrapping instructions with photos, tips, and FAQs!
If this is your first time making zongzi, you may need more time to wrap, but as you get a couple practices in, you will become faster at it.
Bamboo leaves - Dry bamboo leaves are much more accessible than fresh leaves. For dry leaves, you must soak them to rehydrate and then clean them before use. If you find fresh bamboo leaves, you can skip the soaking step, but depending on how they are packaged, you may need to clean and rinse them.
Soaking - For all of the ingredients, if only soaking for about 6 hours, you can leave it out. However, if the weather is really warm or if you want to soak the ingredients overnight, please cover and put them in the fridge.
Butcher's twine - If you prefer, you can bundle up the butcher's twine and tie them onto an anchor like your oven door or kitchen sink faucet. This will allow you to create some tension on the twine so that it's easier to make knots.