Sweet Rice Dumplings with Red Beans and Jujubes Wrapped in Bamboo Leaves

Last time I posted sweet rice dumplings with pork and mung beans wrapped in bamboo leaves .  They are savory and tasty.  And I make another batch of sweet ones this time with red beans.

Red bean is one of the most popular dessert ingredients in Asia.  After long simmering time, red beans become soft and smooth.  By adding oil and sugar, we can get creamy and silky red bean paste which is good for all kinds of pastry goods. 

Besides red beans, I also add jujubes and lotus seeds.  These two may sound rare and exotic to American people, but they are widely used and have been very popular in Asian countries too.  The combination of them together with red beans paste is pretty tasty and awesome.

Ingredients for sweet rice dumplings:

3 cups of sweet rice
1 package of split pitted jujubes(10 oz, 283g)
2/3 cup of fresh lotus seeds (sold in refrigerate food section in Asian grocery stores)
red bean paste
large bamboo leaves
water as needed


Ingredients for red bean paste:

1/2 cup small red beans
1/2 to 2/3 cup firmly packed dark brown cane sugar
1/3 to 1/2 cup vegetable oil
water as needed



These are the red beans and split pitted jujubes I buy from Asian grocery stores.  

Preparing red bean paste a day or two ahead of time would be a good idea.

Soak the red beans in water for 3 to 4 hours.  Add to a small pot with water.  Cook over medium low heat until the beans become very soft.

Use a vitamix blender to puree the beans. 

Add the puree to a non-stick skillet.  Cook over medium low heat.  Stir with wooden spoon from time to time.

Add 1/3 of oil and dark brown cane sugar.  Stir until they are absorbed by the red bean paste.  And then add another 1/3.  Repeat the process one more time after that.   

Finally the red bean paste is sweet, silky, and smooth.  It is done when the bean paste can maintain its shape.

Remove from heat.  Allow it to cool to room temperature.

Soak the sweet rice for 2 to 3 hours.  Drain well and fold in washed jujubes and lotus seeds.

The fresh lotus seeds are available in only a few Asian markets.  They are kind of hard to find.  If you can’t find them, you can just leave them out, or substitute with dry lotus seeds rehydrated in water for a couple hours.  The dry ones shall be available in all Asian grocery stores no matter how small the store is.  That is how much we love these tiny louts seeds O(∩_∩)O~

Soak dry bamboo leaves in water until well rehydrated.  Rinse well under running water.  Blanch the bamboo leaves in hot boiling water for a few seconds.  Drain and set aside for later use.

Fold every two bamboo leaves into a cone shape; add a couple tablespoons sweet rice with jujubes and lotus seeds.

Add a tablespoon of red bean paste

Cover with a thin layer of sweet rice mixture

Fold the bamboo leaves on top and wrap it up

Secure with cotton twine

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All done!

I use a Staub 5.75 quarts cast iron dutch oven here.  Fill the pot with water. Cook over high heat until it boils.  Cover with lid and reduce the heat to simmer for about 2 1/2 hours.

Drain well and allow the dumplings to cool down before serving them.

Unwrap the dumplings before consuming.  Sweet rice become sticky and glutinous when cooked.  The whole dumpling taste sweet, tender, silky and delicious! 

BTW, freshly homemade red bean paste is much better than the store-bought version in every way.  Red bean paste is the key ingredient here.  The extra effort to make it from scratch at home totally enhances the flavor, big time! O(∩_∩)O~