Mugwort Dumplings

Recipe 20 minPreparation Time 15 minCooking Time
Mugwort Dumplings

Mugwort Dumplings

20 minPreparation Time 15 min Cooking Time

About this Recipe

Chinese mugwort, or Artemisia argyi, is often used in medicine and food, an aromatic herb for soups, stews, and tea. Native to Asia and Russia, it’s called aicao in Mandarin and gaiyou in Japanese. The Asian varietal is a lot less bitter than other kinds, and it can be ground into a juice and infused into supple rice dumplings stuffed with sweet red bean paste — a traditional temple food, offered to the gods as a token of gratitude.

The Benefits

The leaves of Chinese mugwort have essential amino acids, dietary fiber, and bioactives with anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. In Asian medicine, the herb is used to treat bronchitis, arthritis, and skin ailments. The adzuki or red beans used as a sweet paste in this recipe are rich in folate, which is particularly important for healthy pregnancies; and manganese, which is essential for fat and carbohydrate metabolism, and calcium absorption.

Note: If you can’t find fresh Artemisia argyi, use dried culinary mugwort, available at some Asian markets, herb shops, and online. Sweet rice flour and Thai rice flour are available at select grocery stores, Asian markets, and online.


Serves 4 to 8
  • 4 cups (150 g) fresh or 2 cups (100 g) dried mugwort (Artemisia argyi)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (110 g) short-grain sweet rice flour (such as Mochiko)
  • 1 cup (110 g) Thai rice flour
  • 2/3 cup (190 g) sweet red bean paste


  1. Step 1
    Make the mugwort water: In a large pot of boiling water over medium-high heat, combine the mugwort and salt and blanch for 2 minutes.
  2. Step 2
    Drain, and when the mugwort is cool enough to handle transfer it into a blender and add 2 cups (480 ml) water. Blend on high for 30 seconds until smooth. Strain the mugwort water through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the leftover fiber. Set aside 3/4 cup (180 ml) of the mugwort water.
  3. Step 3
    In a medium bowl, mix the sweet rice flour and rice flour until well combined. Mix in the reserved mugwort water and knead to form a smooth putty-like dough, about 2 minutes.
  4. Step 4
    Shape the dough into a cylinder and divide it into 8 even pieces. They should weigh about 50 g each. Shape each piece into a ball and with the heels of your palm, flatten each ball into a disc, about 3 inches (8 cm) in diameter.
  5. Step 5
    Take the red bean paste and shape it into 8 small balls; each one is a heaping tablespoon (about 20 to 23 grams each).
  6. Step 6
    Take a red bean paste ball and put it in the center of a rice dough disc, pulling the edges of the dough around it and shaping it so it forms another smooth ball. Place each finished dumpling over individual cut pieces of baking paper and lay them in a bamboo steamer.
  7. Step 7
    Bring 2 inches of water to a boil in a large wok (a Dutch oven works too), then perch the steamer on top of the wok with the lid on. Steam over high heat for 15 minutes.
  8. Step 8
    Turn off the heat and remove the bamboo steamer. The dumplings can be enjoyed immediately.

Read Clarissa's column: Mugwort Dreams (and Dumplings)