Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Nyonya Dumpling (娘惹粽)

I heart Nyonya dumpling a lot, actually more than the Hokkien or the Cantonese variety.

I remembered when young, my granny will organise a family affair for this dumpling wrapping session.  Mom and aunts will gather round to wrap dumplings.  

We will then partner with our neighbour who has a huge pot that is as tall as a 7 years old girl and we will cook our dumplings together in this huge pot over charcoal at the back alley.  Oh don't ask me how they can differentiate the different families' dumplings for all I was interested in, was to eat them.  

I just so love such kampong spirit even though I don't stay in kampong.  Those days, neighbours are a much helpful and friendly lots.  We are free to come and go in each other’s house.  Unlike now, they don't even want to make eye contact with you!  

Anyway back to my Nyonya Dumpling making session.  This is the first time I attempted on my own.  Before my mom hits 65 or so, she actually organised one session for us, telling us that she won't be making dumplings anymore and thus we better learn the art of wrapping a dumpling.  Of course back then, I just couldn’t grasp it.

I was happy when I finally assembled all the ingredients together and getting all ready and excited.  The hardest part of Nonya dumpling is the fillings.  Each ingredient needs to cut into exact tiny size.  After all this is my first and I seriously wanted to impress my daughter.   

Then I realised that the leaves seems to be smaller than what mom usually bought.  I did struggled a fair bit especially Nonya dumpling has fillings and it is not easy to get all things together into a small packaging.

Make an emergency call to mom and luckily she was at home.  Rectified the problem and soon I was on my way again.   Then I have to go out and pick up my daughter.  By the time I came home, the leaves “dried” up again and once again, my struggle begins.  I quickly dunked it into water again to soften it and at long last I completed all the rice.    It was a relieved as I was already getting worried for my back.

I also did the traditional way of cooking this in charcoal.  After 4 hours of boiling (in two batches), I managed to yield 39 dumplings.  Not bad for a beginner.

I won’t say it was a smooth learning process but sometime when we are at a dead end, we just got to manage it.

Thanks to jthorge's kitchen for sharing this recipe.


The fillings was enough for 38 pcs of dumplings buy I yield 39 pcs based on rice usage.  

Tasters felt that the rice is a little too bland so will add in a little more salt the next time.  Also the fillings was not sweet enough.

I need to improve on getting the fillings to be more centred.  

Next time, I will add in 2 tbsp of salt and 2 tbsp of sugar into the boiling water so that the taste will not get lost while cooking.

Yield : 39 pcs

What you need:

Ingredients A:
250g bamboo leaves (soaked overnight, washed)
nylon strings as required
10 pieces pandan leaves (knotted) - for the boiling water

Ingredients B:
2 kg glutinous rice

Ingredients C:
60g corn oil

Ingredients D (chopped):
10 cloves shallot
5 cloves garlic

Ingredients E:
4 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Ingredients A (chopped finely):
10 cloves shallot
5 cloves garlic

Ingredients B:
1 kg minced pork
20 pieces dried mushroom (soaked, diced)
250g candied melon (chopped) (I think I will increase this to 300g)

60g coriander powder (this time I used 50g but will try 60g the next round as I am not sure whether this will intensify the colour of the filling)
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar (add another 1 tbsp next time)
½ tsp dark soya sauce 



Wash and soak glutinous rice for 4 hours. Drain the rice.

Heat up 60g oil, sauté chopped shallot and garlic till fragrant, turn off heat.

Add glutinous rice, salt, pepper, mix well.


Heat up 4 tbsp oil, sauté chopped shallot and garlic till fragrant.

Add minced pork and stir-fry till well mixed.

Add mushroom, candied melon and stir-fry till aromatic.

Add seasoning, mix well and cook until thicken. Taste and dish up. Leave to cool.

Fold 2 bamboo leaves into a cone.

Fill with 2 tbsp glutinous rice, make a hole and fill in filling, top with another 2 tbsp of glutinous rice.

Wrap well, secure with nylon string.

Boil a large pot of water, add in pandan leaves.

Add in dumplings, cover and cook with lower heat for 2 hours till cooked and soft. Remove.

Source: Recipe provided by Auntie Irene Tan, from 我的厨房笔记, as posted on May 22, 2008

Note from mom (accordingly to her on how a Nonya aunt done it):

Steam rice
Need real stuff - coriander root - roast in pan and then grind to powder
Pork - steamed and diced before marination
Melon strip needs to cut bigger
After wrapped, steam rice dumpling again with pandan leaves.


  1. WOW! I'm impressed! Those dumplings are so nicely wrapped. Good job on your first attempt!

  2. I like your items under 'verdict'. A cook never fails to improve his act. I can see why you are such a good cook.

    1. Hahaha more because I am so forgetful.

  3. Hi Edith, Not bad for first attempt. I will be making Dumplings with my mum too this weekend. At the meantime, I will savour yours first.

  4. I just did 2 kg last Sunday but the hokkien version...I only have 4 left in the fridge! I have always wanted to attempt the nyonya version too but have not found a recipe for it. Shall pin this for future use:D THanks for sharing.

    1. I want to attempt Hokkien Version next year! Teach me please.

  5. I wish I can make some this year but when thinking of those boiling session. I think I have to let it goooo.... haha.... Maybe I should borrow a pressure cooker. Save a lot of time. It only took 45 mins to cook the dumplings. lol.

    1. My mom used pressure cooker too. Though I hv one but am afraid to use it. Think next yr I will try it.

  6. i also intend to make some nyonya dumplings but i am just so worry about wrapping the dumpling. I hope my dumpling dont fall into pieces :)

  7. Ooooooo.....I love love love this!!!!

    Can't buy them here, can't wrap & tie my look at what I did!
    Don't laugh!!! What to do? Beggars can;t be choosers... Hehehehehe!!!!

  8. nice food
    thank you for the recipe


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