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Glutinous Rice Dumplings


Warning: if you are on a gluten-free diet do not read on. It may derail you.  Glutinous rice is a special breed of rice that is ten times more sticky than normal rice. The Chinese make a sweet dumpling with it. Traditionally it is eaten on the night of the first full moon after the Chinese New Year. The festival is called Yuan Xiao Jie (First Night Festival).

Imagine you’ve slaved all year and made it back to your family and friends in your hometown during the New Year celebration. Now two weeks later you are ready to go back to work. You have eaten salty, fatty, spicy meals for a couple of weeks. What would really hit the spot now? Glutinous rice dumplings of course.

These babies are little round balls with a sweet center. Usually the centers are made of sesame and dried orange peel with rock sugar. Other variations are red bean paste, peanut paste, walnut paste etc. The balls are boiled until they float and served plain or with Gui flower syrup. If you are extra hungry you can add sweet fermented rice and a poached egg.


There is great symbolisms in Glutinous Rice Dumplings. Their round shapes represent fullness and perfection. Their sweet centers represent happiness and love. A bowl of dumplings represent family sticking together through thick and thin.

You can make the dumplings yourself using glutinous rice powders and red bean paste. But most often we buy the frozen version from Chinese grocery stores. They cook in about seven minutes and make a quick and easy snack.


On the first full moon of the year take some time out of your busy work and life schedule and truly appreciate your family and friends in your life. Look at the beautiful moon and eat the sweet rice dumplings. Savor the fact that all is well and you are happy and loved.

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  1. I was hoping that when I click on the follow button then I could place my order for your dumplings and they would be delivered today for lunch. sound really good Zheng, and I will have to just go and buy some for myself. Just the thought of those yummy dumplings make me hungry again for Chinese culture. Shai shai for all your experience you share with us. Very nice !

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Luc. It always bring me special pride when I share the Chinese culture with my fellow men. It feels like I am having a big meal and everyone is invited. Wouldn’t that be nice?


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