Nyonya Rice Dumpling

Updated: Mar 26

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Duanwu or Dragon Boat or Rice Dumplings Festival is just a few days away. Quite frankly, I am not a fan of rice dumplings. I know it is weird for an Asian to dislike rice. I still prefer pasta, noodles and bread over rice; it is just not my go-to carbs.

Anyway, I actually had this open-faced rice dumpling idea since 2019 (my health was in shambles back in 2019 and I am glad that I am starting to gain control in 2020). Even tho 2020 proves to be quite a challenge thus far. I am still grateful that I am alive and be able to execute this concept of mine. Do not worry, I will also include the traditional method down in the directions below.

In closing, my grandma used to make this nyonya version of rice dumplings by the hundreds. She would give all her neighbors and anyone who passed by during this festive season. I would sit quietly in her kitchen and watched her wrap the dumplings tirelessly. I can feel her joy. So, making this dish is like paying homage to her and every bite is reminiscing nostalgic memories. I really hope you will give this recipe a try.



(Serve 4 / Make 6 Dumplings)

  • Prepared The Night Before:

  • Organic Blue Pea Flowers, 10g

  • Glutinous White Rice, 500g

  • Chicken Stock Room Temperature, 800g

  • Sea Salt, Pinch

  • White Pepper, Pinch

  • Chinese Dried Mushrooms, 40g

  • Dried Scallops, 30g

  • Dried Shrimps, 10g

  • Chicken Thigh Skinless Boneless Finely Diced, 500g

  • Kecap Manis, 1/2 TBSP

  • Light Soy Sauce, 2 TBSP

  • Shao Xing Wine / Hua Tiao Wine, 2 TBSP

  • Dried Mushroom Powder. Pinch

  • Dried Bamboo Leaves, 12

  • Dumplings:

  • Sesame Oil, For Stir-Frying

  • Ginger Finely Minced, 1/2 Inch

  • Scallions Finely Chopped, A Handful + More For Garnishing

  • Sea Salt, Pinch

  • White Pepper, Pinch

  • Shallots Finely Minced, 10

  • Garlic Finely Minced, 6 Cloves

  • Coriander Powder, 3 TBSP

  • Bull Head Brand Chinese BBQ Sauce, 3 TBSP

  • Galangal Finely Grated, 1 TBSP

  • Candied Winter Melon Finely Diced, 150g

  • Pandan Leaves, A Handful



  • Cast Iron Skillet / Pan

  • Electric Double Deck Steamer / Bamboo Steamer 2 Decks



  1. Prepare the night before.

  2. In a large bowl, add blue pea flowers and 800g of warm water.

  3. Set aside to cool and allow the flowers to dye the water with a shade of blue.

  4. Drain and discard the flowers, keeping the wonderful blue colored water.

  5. Wash the glutinous rice under running water and drain.

  6. Keep washing and draining about 5 times.

  7. Add half of the rice into the blue colored water.

  8. Season with salt and pepper.

  9. Stir to combine well and set aside overnight.

  10. Transfer the other half of the rice into another large bowl.

  11. Add in chicken stock, mushrooms, scallops, shrimps, salt and pepper.

  12. Stir to combine well and set aside overnight.

  13. In another bowl, add chicken, kecap manis, soy sauce, wine, salt, pepper and mushroom powder.

  14. Stir to coat the chicken well.

  15. Cover with cling film and marinate in the fridge overnight.

  16. Prepare the dumplings.

  17. The next day, the mushroom and scallops should have hydrated.

  18. Fish them out. Finely dice the mushroom and shred the scallops by simply pulling them apart.

  19. Drain the blue colored rice and discard the water.

  20. Drain the other bowl of rice, keeping the water.

  21. *You will need the water at a later stage.*

  22. In a skillet over medium heat, add sesame oil.

  23. Once the oil is heated up, add in mushrooms.

  24. Saute until the mushrooms start to caramelize.

  25. Drizzle in some of that rice water.

  26. Add in ginger and saute until aromatic.

  27. Add in scallions, season with salt and pepper, saute until well combined.

  28. Remove from heat and set aside.

  29. In the same skillet over medium heat, add sesame oil.

  30. Once the oil is heated up, add in shallots.

  31. Saute until translucent.

  32. Add in garlic and saute until aromatic.

  33. Add in coriander powder and saute until well combined.

  34. Drizzle in some of that rice water to deglaze.

  35. Add in the chicken and all the marinade.

  36. Saute until well combined.

  37. Add in galangal, BBQ sauce and shredded scallops.

  38. Saute until well combined.

  39. Deglaze with some of that rice water.

  40. Season with salt and pepper.

  41. Lastly, add in the wintermelon.

  42. Give it a final saute, remove it from heat and set it aside.

  43. *I am doing an open-faced concept as shown in the photos. You can choose to wrap the rice and fillings up into pyramid-shaped dumplings if desired. I will include the steps for both concepts.*

  44. Open-faced concept:

  45. I am using an electric double-decker steamer. You can use 2 decks of bamboo steamers and steam in a wok over medium heat with water. You will need to do in batches if your bamboo steamers are small.

  46. Wipe the bamboo leaves clean with a kitchen towel.

  47. Lay bamboo leaves on the steamer.

  48. Lay some pandan leaves over the bamboo leaves.

  49. Spoon in the glutinous rice, white and blue separating from one another, over the top.

  50. Tied 2 knots of pandan leaves and place them on top of the rice.

  51. *This is your bottom deck.*

  52. Cover and steam for 40 mins.

  53. Spoon the chicken and mushroom over another deck of the steamer.

  54. Spreading out evenly.

  55. Place this deck over the rice deck.

  56. Steam together for another 30 mins or until the rice is fully cooked.

  57. *I did it this way so that the flavors of the chicken and mushrooms will infuse the rice and vice versa. I cook the rice 1st cos the rice takes longer time to cook.*

  58. Remove from heat and transfer onto a serving plate.

  59. Garnish with scallions and serve immediately.

  60. If you want the same presentation as shown in the photos, place the white rice into a 4-inch pastry ring. Spoon the chicken and mushroom over the rice. Lastly, blue rice. Using the back of a spoon to compact at every layer. Garnish with some scallions.

  61. Wrapped concept:

  62. Clean and wipe the bamboo leaves with a kitchen towel.

  63. Bring a large heavy pot of water to a rolling boil.

  64. Take 2 bamboo leaves, one on top of the other, take the halfway point, fold and form it into a cone shape.

  65. Add a scoop of the white rice into the cone.

  66. Pack it down firmly.

  67. Add 2 spoonfuls of the chicken and mushrooms.

  68. Add a scoop of blue rice on top.

  69. Pack it down firmly.

  70. Fold the leaves down and form a pyramid shape.

  71. Tie the dumplings tightly with hemp strings.

  72. *It takes a few practices until you get it right. Most importantly is to tie the dumplings tightly.*

  73. Repeat the process for the remaining dumplings.

  74. Add the dumplings to the boiling water.

  75. Cover and boil for about 2.5 hours.

  76. At the 2 hours mark, remove one of the dumplings, unwrap and test if it is cooked.

  77. If it is cooked, remove it from heat, place it in a wire cooling rack to drain off excess water and cool down.

  78. If it is not yet cooked, continue cooking for another hour and check again,

  79. When it is cool enuff to handle, unwrap and serve.


Recipe Video:

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