Sweet Date Zong Zi (sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves)

Sticky rice wraps are a traditional Chinese comfort food, especially when they are filled with sweet dates!
  • Prep time soaking time plus 20 mins
  • Cook time 120 mins
Kitchen-friendly Mode
Kitchen-Friendly Mode
  • Recipe Submitted By Maggie Yang


  • Bamboo leaves (available in Asian markets)
  • glutinous rice (start with a pound or two if you only want to make a few wraps to try out)
  • red dates
  • You may use other fillings such as raisins, red bean paste or even savoury fillings such as shredded meat, duck egg yolk and peanuts. Keep in mind that any meat filling must be cooked first!


  • bowls to soak the bamboo leaves, rice and dates (if you have dried dates)
  • spoon
  • kitchen string
  • pot for boiling the wrapped zong zi


  1. Wash and soak the bamboo leaves in water until soft (usually 30 minutes will do). Cut off the hard, pointy end so it's easy to fold afterward.
  2. Wash and soak the glutinous rice for 3–4 hours or overnight.
  3. Wash and soak the dates if you are using dried dates.
  4. Grab 2–3 bamboo leaves at the larger end and fold into a cone shape. Use a spoon to fill it partway with glutinous rice, then add the dates in the middle and more glutinous rice on top. Use your thumb to press the leaf down on one side, then fold the longer side of the leaves over. Wrap the string around the zong zi several times to secure the sides.
    first step of folding filled zong zi bamboo leaf folded over
  5. Place wrapped zong zi into the pot and add enough water to cover. Boil for 1–1 1/2 hours, then simmer for 30–60 minutes.
    wrapped zong zi

Zong Zi were originally eaten around the time of the Dragon Boat Festival, because that was when fresh bamboo leaves were ready. But now you can find dried bamboo leaves, so zong zi are made any time of the year.

Leave a comment. All fields required.


No comments

Want to save recipes for later?
Sign up for a BT account!