Bak Zhang Bun: Sticky Rice Dumplings for Dragon Boat Festival

Yields1 Serving
Yields1 Serving

Across Asia, the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese Lunar New Year heralds the arrival of thumping drums and the comforting aroma of rice dumplings. Yes, it’s time for the annual Dragon Boat Festival (14 June 2021). This year, celebrations aren’t easy with many of us stuck in our homes during the pandemic. So to help, we present this classic Bak Zhang recipe (the bun version) that’s guaranteed to get you into the spirit of the festival.

What is Bak Zhang?

Essentially, Bak Zhang is a meat-based sticky rice dumpling. They are also referred to as Zongzi, a term more familiar among older generation Chinese in Singapore and Malaysia. There are countless variations of Bak Zhangs among all the different Chinese communities — be it from the Cantonese, Teochews or the Hokkiens. 

How long can freshly-made Bak Zhangs be kept? 

If stored in the fridge, they will remain good to consume within the next seven days. Though this dish tastes at its best when served immediately while piping hot. 

Pro-tip: To ensure your cooked food lasts longer, do always sauté your spices and meat filling a little longer than usual to ensure that your ingredients are fully cooked. This leaves less chance for harmful bacteria to grow during its time in the fridge.

This time, we’re changing up the traditional look of the Bak Zhang and making it into a bun instead! No bamboo leaves required. Now let’s get down to business.


 250 g bread flour
 1 tsp yeast
 125 g mik
 25 g Chek Hup brown sugar
 38 g butter
 1 large egg
 green colouringused sparingly
Chicken Filling
 Canola oil to saute
 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
 1 chicken breastcut into cubes
 3 tbsp Chek Hup brown sugar
 60 ml soy sauce
 2 tbsp oyster sauce
 3 tbsp spring onionchopped finely
 1 star anise
 1 cinnamon stick
 3 dried chillies
Glutinous Rice Filling
 60 g azuki beans
 60 g glutinous rice


Making the dough mixture

Using a Kenwood Stand Mixer, add all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl.


Knead the dough for 15 minutes.


Take one third part of the dough and knead it with the green food colouring.


Cover with clean cloth and let it rest for two hours.

Making the filling

Meanwhile, heat your pan and drizzle the oil till light bubbles form.


Add in the ginger garlic paste and cook until browned.


Add the spices and cook until fragrant.


Add in the chicken and the remaining ingredients.


Once chicken is fully cooked, transfer into a bowl.


Add in the spring onion, then set aside.


For the glutinous rice filling, combine both ingredients in a microwave safe bowl.


Add water – just enough to cover the ingredients.


Microwave for one minute. Repeat this step up to three times until the rice and beans are fully cooked.

Setting the Bak Zhang Bun

Divide the uncoloured dough into 55g balls.


Add the filling, starting with the glutinous rice before adding the chicken.


Close each dough ball and leave to rest for a few minutes.


Roll the green dough into a long slab.


Cut and wrap it on the bun.


Bake in an oven at 130 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes.


Decorate using royal icing, if desired.

This recipe uses Hand Mixers

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